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How joining Atwell made me a better employee and a better mom
By: Lauren Longest, Digital Communications Manager
When I made the decision to become a working mother, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I’d heard from friends and colleagues just how hard it can be but knew millions of women have persevered. I’ve always thought “I am strong” and “I can do anything I put my mind to.” But what happens when your mind turns against you? When you realize that no matter how strong you are, you are stuck in a loop of self-doubt and loathing?
Whether it was my upbringing or portrayals in media, or maybe both, I grew up believing that mental health was something that only applied to those who struggled with extremely debilitating issues requiring medical intervention. It wasn’t until I experienced my own struggles with post-partum depression and anxiety that I realized it was something that could just as easily affect my life.
Company culture can affect everything
As I was becoming aware of my relationship with my mental health, I also realized the role that my professional environment had on my life outside of the office. I originally thought it was just work. I could be there for a few hours and then “leave work at work” and come home to be with my family – I know, it’s starting to sound like the plot of “Severance”. However, it just doesn’t work that way. We are people who have passions and struggles that often cross the line between our work and home life.
As I was trying to white-knuckle my way through my post-partum struggles, I started to recognize the subtle ways a company culture can impact my ability to feel healthy. It’s the anxiety you feel inside of a pumping room when you hear coworkers by your desk questioning how long you are taking. It’s the heavy sigh you breathe when you get the email in your inbox that your child is ill and needs to stay home from daycare, followed by the chime of a Teams message asking why you haven’t replied to an email that came in a couple hours ago. It’s also the not-so-subtle passing of a promotion opportunity because I “seemed to really be struggling with being a new mom and the pandemic” without the offer of help or resources.
And I know I’m not the only one. In the quest to find a community online, anyone can come across approximately 867,000 TikTok influencers speaking on the same topics. The more I scrolled, I started to feel like this is just life now, and that we’re all experiencing it. It’s just the best we can all hope for.
Choosing Atwell made a difference in my mental health
While a single company is not the cause of my post-partum mental health struggles – we have a lack of sleep and wild hormones to thank for that – it certainly didn’t make it easy to move through that difficult time in my life. Joining Atwell has lifted a huge weight from my shoulders and given me back that sense of confidence that I had lost. More than the unlimited PTO (which is extremely helpful for those unexpected illness emails!), there is a culture of trust and understanding. The first time my son came down with a stomach bug after joining Atwell, I braced myself for what was usually a stressful time of planning secondary care and fielding scrutinizing questions about my work and productivity. Instead, I was met with genuine concern for my family’s health and the flexibility to do what I needed.
The leadership here understands the importance of prioritizing mental health breaks, having authentic, personal, and sometimes vulnerable conversations about real life, and trusting in employees that have proved their value and integrity. Within just 6 months of joining my team, I was offered that opportunity for promotion and the feeling of recognition and respect that was lacking before. Knowing that I have real support gives me the freedom to meet the unexpected needs of my family but also the desire to go above and beyond for a company that has given me so much.
There was a time when I thought I had lost myself and that I needed to accept this new version of me. But I am so thankful to say that I am getting back to who I once was. Not only becoming a better employee, but a better mom too.