A woman’s life is a myriad of experiences and none, perhaps, leaves a more lasting impression on her than motherhood. The child-birth event along with all its highs and lows not only has a deep psychological impact on her as a person but also impacts her career in many ways. Using interpretive phenomenological analysis, we have studied the lived experience of women who returned to work in corporate settings after maternity leave. Our study found that not only do they go through an emotional upheaval during this phase, but they also see a marked shift in the way they approach their careers. A woman’s natural instinct to mother her child comes in conflict with another natural (and equally important) desire to succeed in the workplace. Most women in our study experienced a stalling/break in their careers after childbirth and wished they had a mentor to assist them in transitioning back to office life. Besides trying to evaluate if childbirth was perceived as a threat or potential impediment to a high-flying career, we also explored how women were treated in their work environments, and whether their coworkers helped the women to cope during this phase. While the women in our study wanted to achieve success and satisfaction both within their families and careers, they found it most challenging to do so.
Thomas, Anil Jose and Sudhesh, N. T.
"Travails of New Mothers Returning to Work in Corporate India: A Phenomenological Study,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 25:
7, Article 11.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol25/iss7/11