Ooooh. I remember rooms like this - and how differently I saw them once I was pregnant. BTB (Before The Babes), I didn't even think about it. Just strolled in, took my place, and cracked on. The more pregnant I got, though, the more the sight of a room like this gave me *that* feeling. I mean, I LOVE a chat. And I LOVED my (BTB) job in marketing agencies. Sparky characters. Interesting briefs. It's a great industry to work in. But facing a meeting room like that for upwards of an hour. Well. That pretty much took the pregnancy biscuit. I developed a Meeting Seating Strategy, that went something like this;
I would pee before I left for the meeting.
I would pee when I arrived at the meeting.
I would pee just before the meeting started.
I would position myself near the door in preparation for the inevitable need to pop out for a pee
I would forecast where the would be much discussion, and where there was likely to be less so that when I *did* pop out for a pee, I would miss as little as possible.
There was much gentlemanly making way for me. But I knew my pee-related absences meant I missed things, and worse, that it drew attention to my pregnancy. I hated the idea that being pregnant changed the way I was seen as work. Frankly, it made me vulnerable in a way I did not care for. By the time I left for my first maternity leave I had;
involuntarily farted in front of a colleague, thanks to a baby foot to the intestines;
peed my way through more meetings than I cared to remember;
had to bow out of boozy work do's, because I was, well, I was boringly sober;
started to carry a CUSHION with me to make all those interminable meetings more comfortable. A CUSHION, FFS.
What was I turning into? I *HAD* been an ambitious, independent, fairly feisty party girl. I was getting seriously worried that pregnancy & impending motherhood was shaking my game. And you know what, it was. What I didn't know then, was that I would need to learn a whole new set of highly valuable skills. I no longer needed to make my own work, be on the front foot, keep my eyes on the (prize) goal. Oh no. The new skills I added to my repertoire were quite the opposite. Alertness & responsiveness to the needs of another body. Being still. Taking time. Listening to my body. Tuning in. Instinct. It took some time to learn them. It took even longer to value them as highly as I valued my career skills. But valuable they are. Frankly, we don't value these skills - nor mothers in general - highly enough in work. There's a whole set of skills learnt in mothering that make mothers some of the best employees. But that's another post.