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Episode 159: Maternity Leave: Preparation, Priorities & Rules I’m Breaking

Episode 159: Maternity Leave: Preparation, Priorities & Rules I’m Breaking

Hello, and welcome to today’s episode of The Born to Rise Podcast. I’m your host, Cait Scudder and today we are going behind the scenes to talk about maternity leave, I am going to be sharing with you how I am preparing what my and our company’s priorities are during this time. And frankly, some of the rules that I am breaking, I think this is such a rich conversation, whether you are already a mom, you desire to become a mom, you’ve wondered how the heck as a personal brand. And as a female entrepreneur, you can take the time off that you desire and deserve to connect with your baby, while also running a super profitable company. So I’m taking you behind the scenes of my seven figure business and showing you how myself and my team are prepping for maternity leave. Let’s go ahead and dive in. Before we do however, I want to remind you that if you have a moment after listening to this episode to head over to iTunes, and leave us a review, you guys, it helps us so much to reach more people with the podcast. If you found this episode valuable. I’d also love for you to share it on your Instagram stories and tag me and let me know your biggest takeaway. Here we go.

The rules I’m breaking as a mother and female entrepreneur during my maternity leave

So one of the things that I really get annoyed about in this space, and frankly, just for women in general is the entire idea of shoulds. Motherhood is a steaming pile of shoulds. For so many of us society, the industry, whatever, there are so many expectations around what and how a mother should parent lead her company, raise her kid breastfeed not breastfeed, blah, blah, blah, blah. But there are so many shoulds as women that we are inundated with all the time, and shoulds around taking time off, or maternity leave, whether you are an employee, whether you are a business owner, but especially if you are a CEO or business owner, there are so many shifts. So I can’t tell you how many conversations that I’ve had with people who are like, oh, you should take three months off, or oh, you know, I didn’t take any maternity leave, you should go straight back, or Oh, whatever the thing is, okay, there are lots of opinions on either side. And I really wanted to bring light to this conversation, because frankly, I find any of the shoulds to be completely toxic, and overbearing.

And just another scoop that we layer onto mothers of this is how you should act. This is how you should behave. And frankly, there is nothing more detrimental and nothing more pressurizing to new moms, especially than this whole idea of shoulds. So I want to take you guys back and talk for a second about my first birth with Ella. So one of the things that I did in my first birth with Ella is and this was, you know, for my first time new mamas just take note of this. In hindsight, I consider this a mistake. I took my due date to be the literal. I don’t know, like, prescription from God, this is when she’s arriving. plan everything around this. Okay. And obviously our due dates are helpful. They’re an accurate ish guestimation, okay, of when our baby may arrive, but they are absolutely not the delivery date. They’re absolutely not a guarantee of when your baby is going to arrive. So one of the things that I did with my last pregnancy is I decided that my maternity leave was going to start to or two and a half, maybe it was even three weeks before my scheduled due date. I was not planning an induction I was not I didn’t have like a Plan C section. So I was using the date that I was provided as the law of that’s when my baby is going to come.

Why I’m holding calls and meetings as my health allows

What I found was that and I planned by the way to take like six ish weeks off. So I and again, I think it was two and a half or maybe it was three weeks before my due date that I started on maternity leave. No client calls. Nothing of the sort No, no, like marketing other than what I like wanted to do, but I really was intentional about giving myself a bunch of whitespace. In retrospect, that experience for me, and let me just pause right here and say everything that I am sharing today is a behind the scenes, walking with me journey of my decisions. This is not prescription of what you should do. This is not the right way to go on maternity leave. This is insights that I have had, from what I have learned what worked for me what really didn’t work for me. And I hope some of it is helpful for you to adopt and incorporate as you are planning for or if you’re ever planning for maternity leave. And again, if you’re here just to kind of like munch the popcorn and be nosy about what we’re doing. That’s fine. I love it. I’m glad you’re here. So those three weeks were so challenging for me. And yes, in retrospect, it probably gave me some good things to look at like I did. I don’t know I binge I think the entire however many seasons of shits Creek, I took a zillion million walks.

But in retrospect, I really could have been working during that time and not Oh, there’s whitespace I should just fill it with work. But for me, there was a lot of anxiety created, I had a lot of anxiety, it was my first birth. And it put me in a mindset space to only think about when is the birth going to happen? When is elegant arrive? When is this going to happen? And that really didn’t serve me. Interestingly, Ella ended up being two weeks past her due date. So I had a period of time, which was nearly four or five weeks of maternity leave that I took up that I didn’t, that I wasn’t even a mom yet I was still pregnant. So that was very instructive for me and is really informing what we’re doing differently this time around. This time around, I am planning on working holding my client calls. You know, being in Voxer with my clients as my health allows, right? Of course, if you know anything should come up, or my energy levels were to tank I you know, this was the case for me and my last pregnancy, it’s the case now third trimester, I feel great, I feel very energized, I have a lot of energy, lots of creative stuff moving through, it’s all that second chakra sacral energy, right? I am like in the womb space more than ever, and the city. The second chakra is the energy of the womb, it’s the energy of Creation. It’s the energy of sexuality, all of those different pieces, right. And so for me, that’s flowing right now I know for every woman that is different, but I’ve got the energy. So I am planning on working up until my water breaks or I go into labor.

Now, that being said, I feel so comfortable leaning into that because my team and I behind the scenes have been prepping this maternity leave for months now literally months. On March 1. So two months ago, we sent out an email to all of our team, excuse me, all of our clients in our different programs, sharing with them and communicating well in advance. Remember my due date this time is June 18. We sent this out three months in advance three and a half months in advance. Hey, here is what we’re doing for maternity leaves. Here’s what you can expect from us clients inside of our different containers. All received a variation of this email with modifications and specificities around what support is available to them. What future emails they can expect in terms of more detail. For example, this coming week, we’re going to be sending out a schedule to our masterminds with a weekly breakdown of who is coming into guest coach and teaching support I am bringing in the best of the best in across different industries. And best of the best in this industry but across different specialties. So we have experts in human design experts and nervous system regulation experts and Facebook ads we have just such a rich plethora of truly phenomenal women who are coming in to support our masterminds and our clients are going to be getting that schedule again now like a month and a half, early before our before the due date of the next baby.

My personal and professional priorities during my maternity leave

So we are planned we are well in advance we are communicating that to our clients. But one of the things that I so I feel really comfortable and profoundly supported by my team. We have and this is one of our biggest priorities our number one priority during that time as a company obviously my number one priority at the time of being on maternity leave is going to be connecting with my new baby and adjusting to being a family of four and latching and nursing and all of that good stuff right. That’s my personal priority. My company priority is making sure that our clients don’t miss a beat and in fact, like, are expanded during the time that I’m away. So the infrastructure of our programs is already such that our programs provide a ton of additional support inside of, for example, the rise mastermind. We have two incredible support coaches who are there to support and hold the container. They’re with us all of the time, inside of seven sisters, the ladies there have access to my team to be able to submit and ask questions to my team on all the things anytime that they need to it’s like their team and has the support of our team as well. Inside of any in all of our containers, there are multiple tiers of scaffolding and layers of support, before we’re even talking about maternity leave. So when I think about taking time away and stepping out, again, it’s there have been meetings on the calendar we’ve really been prepping and planning for in addition to the scaffolding that already exists, how can we layer in even more support? How can we really make sure that the client experience during the time that I am away, is of the most robust caliber and truly holds our clients, again, hopefully, at an even deeper level, and giving them something new, when I’m not available? And when I’m not there.

So one of the things and again, this is a rule that I am breaking, and I was speaking about this at the beginning of this conversation, I am so done with the societal shoulds of your maternity leave should look this long, and like oh, there’s so much you know, fucked up Ness in the system and the patriarchy. So, you know, you should be able to have like six months off, but we don’t really leave the space for to ask moms like what how much time do you want to take off? What would be the most supportive for you? I know that one of the things that supported me after having a delivery that went late, a traumatic birth, and you can listen to my birth story episode if you want to, I don’t necessarily recommend it if you are pregnant and wanting to, you know, just only consume really empowering stories. My first birth, like so many women was not what I expected, anticipated or desired. And that’s okay, I’m healthy, Ella’s healthy, we recovered. I’ve done a ton of healing around it, it’s all good. But one of the things that I know really supported me to not get into, you know, the grips and the depths of postpartum depression, even though so much in my first birth did not go according to plan is the fact that I did go back to work after three weeks. And I was so grateful mamas. Whether you are becoming a first time mom, whether you are in the process of becoming a second time mom, I feel like I’m going through a total rebirth again, in in identity shifts, becoming a mom of two, how do I split my love, like that already amplified and exploded beyond my wildest dreams when I had Ella now I have this human who’s part of me living outside my body, it’s a freaking trip, we’re going to double that. We’re gonna go again, how is that even possible? I don’t know yet. I don’t know yet. Because I’m not there yet. But what I know is that there’s a huge transformation coming. And, again, when we go through that process, as mothers have an identity shift for me, it was so helpful. Because everything in my world was recalibrating. In my first birth, it was so helpful to have something of my past identity as a business owner, as a CEO, as a mentor to my clients, as a leader to my team. It really supported me to be able to dip back into work conversations to something that felt familiar, something that felt like it gave me purpose and like it gave me direction at a time when everything was new and overwhelming in motherhood.

How much time I’m planning to take off during this maternity leave

So my decision with this maternity leave, I am planning to take and this is what we communicated to our clients back in March on March 1, between three and six weeks off. And some women hearing that, and I share that publicly. And to be honest with a little bit of like, there might be some judgment. And of course my like, inner 13 year old is like, Oh, I hope you don’t judge me for that. But you know what, it’s fine if you do, but here’s what I want to say about that. I’m planning on taking three to six weeks off, as in like off off. I am slowly going to start following my body’s cues, giving myself space to know that every birth is different. Every postpartum is different. Every baby is different. I am giving myself space to respond to how I am doing but in that three to six week window, I’m going to be off and after that I am allowing myself the spaciousness to come back. Now so many women might feel like oh my gosh, that’s just like, you know, career career career. What about time with your baby? gasp don’t you value your baby be in want to, you know, bond more and data. And I’m like, for me going back to work is opening up my laptop, I can do that in a nursing bra, I can do that without makeup on, I can do that by opening my phone, for me going back to work is opening my phone again, getting back into Voxer, with clients getting back into Facebook groups, opening my phone to connect, and my computer to connect with my clients again, on zoom with all of this scaffolding of support, again, that I’ve already described that we’ve built in. And so yeah, three to six weeks for me feels good. So I want to really invite you to ask yourself, what amount of time really would support you in the ways that you desire and need to be supported. Again, for me, this is my second birth, this is my second baby.

I’m not suggesting that you are not deserving of a six month maternity leave if you want to for your second. And I have, you know, mothers in my life and clients for whom that would probably feel so good. But I know for me, this amount of time feels perfect, it gives me the break that I need to just drop in, it gives me a flexibility window to see how the birth goes, see how my body is healing, see how my baby’s doing, see how the dynamic is and allow that to really unfold, you can probably your Ella crying in the background. Or Nene just came downstairs to change the laundry. And she’s like, always get so sad seeing me. So it gives me the spaciousness that I need. But it also serves me knowing that staying connected, not because I, you know, my clients need me and I need them. There’s no codependency energy there. There’s the desire to stay connected to that part of my identity. And then knowing that that supports me on every level at a time when everything is transitioning. Does that make sense? So I share this with you because I want to rip up the rules that says, you know, you should go back to work straight away, you should not taking maternity leave, you should take six months off and like how fucked is it that the United States isn’t? It is okay. Like, don’t get me wrong, it is absolutely. But I also think we can become very righteous in our anger. And I’m giving myself that flexibility. We’ve communicated this to clients ahead of time. And one of the things that I was just saying with my last maternity leave, even though I had a really rough delivery, a really rough, early postpartum, I got mastitis very, very early, I went back after three weeks. In retrospect, after that birth, I wish I had taken a little bit more time, which is why I’m giving myself this window now. But I also am profoundly grateful that I had my work available to me. And that going back to work was as simple as opening my phone, opening my computer, and starting to drop back into clients and staging.

How I’m staging my return

So this is something I did last maternity leave something I’m doing, again, is staging my return. So I’ll be going back in to Voxer with private clients, and I wouldn’t be surprised. I mean, again, giving myself the grace of knowing that every birth is different than to die, I might end up popping back into Voxer. After two weeks, I don’t know maybe I won’t want to touch it for five I’m giving myself the grace giving myself the space communicated all expectations in advance to all of our different clients and all of our different levels. But I wouldn’t be surprised if I want to do that. So coming back to Voxer private clients first and then slowly integrating back into mastermind slowly integrating back into calls. That’s kind of the progression in the later but I know for me having that access back to my work and back to the CEO and business owner part of my identity when motherhood is like the biggest freaking Iosco trip, blue pill or red pill, I can’t remember which one but just like complete reorganization of everything you know, to be true about yourself. That was super helpful for me. So our priority during maternity leave is making sure that our clients have a phenomenal experience. My team has been organized, we are hiring additional support bringing in incredible experts, seven plus figure business owners, industry leaders in their field, true pioneers of their craft to support our clients on all the different levels. We are communicating well in advance giving a heads up and also communicating part of the wildness and the beauty of the birth portal is the unknown.

And frankly, that is a big gift that I think that we are giving our clients in this especially since all of our clients are women. We’re communicating as cleanly, clearly and well in advance as we can. And there is an element of profound mystery in the birth portal and God how many lessons are there for us in entrepreneurship? We don’t know when the babies can arrive baby could arrive Today, and I have a hospital birth, and I were planning a home birth and ended up needing to be in the NICU for eight weeks, like, God forbid, but you know, we just don’t know. And I think that it is such a gift to be intentional planful mindful prep ahead of time. Oh, and that reminds me of one other thing I need to talk about, which is what were prepping on selling, but prepping ahead of time. And also, letting your clients and your audience and community know frankly, this is all a great mystery. And I am not in control here. We can tick all the boxes, dot our I’s cross our T’s get as prepared as possible. But ultimately, this whole thing is about surrender. And so by sharing that process really vulnerably openly in lifetime, well in advance at every stage along the way, to our clients and community. Clients. First and foremost, of course, we are giving them access to what that process is actually like. So I would love to hear if you have any questions for me if you are somebody who is thinking about growing your family, terrified of going on maternity leave, losing money losing income clients leaving, you know, bad client experience, whatever the concern is, I’d love to be able to answer any of that for you.

Yes, it is such it’s the trippiest eyes ceremony it is birth is birth is literally like being on Ayahuasca I’ve done ayahuasca and labor and delivery is totally like that. Actually, I did not we plan for a home birth, I was two weeks past my due date. And when my waters broke in the middle of the night, there was meconium in the water and meconium if you don’t know what that is, it’s like the baby’s poop inside of in utero. And so the waters were like green. And that can be a sign it’s not always a design a sign that the baby is in distress. It’s common for that to happen, or common ish, I should say not common, but it’s it is not unheard of that that happens if the baby goes over there do date, you know, two weeks or so. And it can be a sign that the baby’s in distress, it is dangerous if the baby were to aspirate, or breathe in meconium. Like if they’re there, because it basically means that the waters that they’re swimming around in has like poop in it, it’s contaminated. So that is a contraindication for continuing with the home birth. So when my midwife got to our house, and she, you know, examined like paper towels and my water breaking and checked me and so I was like in labor. We couldn’t keep doing a home birth, we had to transfer to the hospital. So you can hear my whole birth story. I shared an episode on that. Around the time of Ella’s birth, it’s on our podcast. So you can scroll back and hear the full birth story. It was such a journey, such a gift. It’s so many lessons in that that’s its own huge transmission. But it was it was a portal for sure. So the other thing that I want to share that our team is prepping and that we’re doing, and this is so meta and so perfect.

So one of the programs we’re releasing this year, and many of you have reached out because you’ve seen it in the way I’ve been talking about leap here is called Baby Got Back end. I am so proud of this program, I am so proud of my team. So team CSI, I could not do what I do without the support of my incredible team. And we are putting together as a collective, an incredible program called Baby Got Back end, which is all about setting up the back end of your business, the systems, the tech, the organization, the structure, the team, the infrastructure, that communication systems, the project management systems, all of the different layers of back end support, that make a company run that allow a company to grow and expand. We are releasing a program on that and that is a collaborative effort and program designed from the cumulative creation of trainings that my team has put together over the last several years. There’s new modules and material for every single week. And it’s a comprehensive download of all of the different back end systems needed to grow and scale and sustain a business so many of our clients at every level by the way, like brand new to business like how do you set up a you know, like Active Campaign or whatever to highest level in business and refining processes, refining, team communication, refining, expectation, setting all of that ask us about this. I’m so excited to release this and it could not be more meta and more perfect that we’re my team is going to launch this at a time when I am not available or online. And I’m just going to be in boob land and nursing my new baby because the back end having a really robust back end is how I am able to take this maternity leave. And there’s no more perfect way that we could let you guys in behind the scenes than teaching you exactly. All of the operational stuff. So I have a lot of programs that we’ve energetics, mindset, leadership, all of that I believe is so foundational for you, as a business owner to master and to be in true, like quantum possession of your highest skill set in. And I’m telling you, it’s not that alone to grow and sustain a seven figure multi seven figure business, you need to have a back end that is so sorted. Exactly that it does not require. If my business only ran on my lifeforce, I would be fucking exhausted.

If my business only ran on my willpower, I would be burnt the eff out, Baby Got Back in is going to teach and show exactly how you can set your business up no matter what level of business that you’re at, even if you’re at the earliest stages, how to set your foundations, your back end up with so much solidity so that you are supported in whatever you want to do. And however you want to grow as a business owner, so keep your eyes peeled for that. Because it’s going to be launching in June. And it is again such an incredible offer. And something that you can bring your team to as well. So that’s one of the cool things, there’s ton of like practical trainings, SOPs for your team to plug into. And like very tactical action step checklist. This is what you want to tick off. So a profound investment for you and your team. So that is what we are doing you guys. That’s how we’re preparing for maternity leave. That’s how I’m preparing myself. We’re giving ourselves spaciousness and flexibility. We’re communicating very upfront, we’re investing heavily in client experience, and making sure our clients are profoundly held at every stage along the journey. And we are just gearing up to know that this expansion means more for us all I know that the lessons of birth if you’ve been following my content for any amount of time now you know that the transmissions around contraction expansion, embracing contraction as a key part of the path to expansion.

It’s such an alive theme. It’s alive for so many of my clients right now, frankly, it’s an inevitability when we talk about business growth, and it is something that I know going through this next portal of birth, the surrender of it, the expansion of it, the contractions of it, the intensity of it is going to bring so many gems pearls of wisdom that will eventually come back in the form of content and storytelling, but I’m giving myself full permission to just go into the yumminess of it for myself and for my family. So thank you for listening. I hope that hearing how long I’m taking for maternity leave the open endedness not needing to be perfect and precise, but honest and clear and communicative and maintain those open channels of communication. I hope that some of these rules that I am breaking and doing differently, give you a lot of permission around how you want to think about your birth, how you want to think about your maternity leave, if and when you desire to take one and some of the important questions to consider as you make this epic huge transition into motherhood. Thank you so much for listening. If you are listening on the podcast, please let me know in your Instagram Stories what your biggest takeaway is from this episode. Thank you guys for tuning in. And I will see you all again soon.

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Hey, I'm Cait!

Boss mama, wife, and 7-figure CEO empowering women to build profitable, purpose-driven businesses that change the world.


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