When Motherhood Leads to a Career PivotJun 04, 2019
Have you ever considered a major career pivot?
You couldn't think of a bigger pivot than that one I made from environmental engineer to birth doula about 10 years ago. Surprised to learn that I used to be an engineer? Yeah, I get that a lot.
About 12 years ago I had my 2nd kid and realized that daycare costs would completely neutralize the earnings from my job at the environmental consulting firm I was working in. I liked my job, but not enough to do it for free while glued to a breast pump. I quit and did the SAHM thing, but about 2 years later I realized 2 things pretty much at the same time:
1) I needed something more than parenting to fulfill me; it was time to revisit the whole career thing.
2) I was pregnant. Again.
Crap. The cost and logistics of having 3 kids under age 4 put the kibosh on traditional jobs, plus I needed to face the reality that, while I was a really good engineer, I wasn't in love with it or excited to go back. Whatever I did, it needed to be something I was passionate about, and that worked for life with littles. But what was that?
Meanwhile, being pregnant meant I was thinking a lot about my past birth experiences. After a traumatic first birth I had decided to do #2 differently; I hired a doula, got comprehensive childbirth education and a supportive care provider. Those 2 births were like night and day opposites from each other and it had turned me into a birth junkie...but it took this third pregnancy for me fully realize how much birth and motherhood had become a part of my identity. I spent the rest of my pregnancy workig on my certification, attended my training with a my 6 week old daughter in my lap, and the rest is history.
Recently, I got to talk about starting my practice, and chat about my experience supporting my kids through our move to Spain on the BumpCast podcast recently (here's a link to that interview). It was so fun to take that trip down memory lane, and a big reminder of how many times my life has taken an unexpected turn.
If you are thinking of making a change in your career, my advice is: Don't look before you leap. I could never have guessed where all those little choices led me and any attempt to control where I ended up would have only diverted me from the path that formed itself as I was walking it. If you know you need a change, that's all you need to know. It's ok not to know what you will do instead, or if your new gig is forever or temporary. Make the change now, so you can make room for the next thing to present itself to you.
I realize how scary this can be, and how easy it is for someone to say who is NOT the one taking the leap. But it's just as true as it is scary. Go for it. If you need support or a sounding board, reach out- I help people figure this stuff out every day.