The Marvellous Manager Mom
We met Iva through a mutual friend last year and immediately were in awe of her strong and inspiring personality. Iva is used to a high paced lifestyle. She works out a lot, has a busy social life and just started a new position as teamleader corporate storytelling with a big publishing company. But there’s one thing she just recently shared with listeners of the AUDE Podcast (hosted by our girl Jules): After giving birth to her daughter, Aino, last January, Iva developed postpartum depression. Here she talks about her experience, what it’s like being a working mom, how she’s doing now and what she's got planned for the future.
“Here’s to strong women; may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.” - this quote equals Iva. She’s got drive, she’s strong, she’s humble and raising a little girl with a heart of gold. Enjoy reading a tougher story of a true Doyenne.
When we first met, we were so inspired by you and thought, wow, this is one tough cookie. After listening to your interview on AUDE and you being so open about your experience with postpartum depression, we feel like you’re an even tougher one and got some balls telling your story to complete strangers and being so vulnerable. For those who haven’t listened to your interview yet or don’t know you, would you share your long story short?
I always wanted kids, but never had the need to become a mother. I thought that all-consuming feeling that you hear about from other women would just hit me, but it didn’t. And then I got pregnant, three months into the relationship with my boyfriend, totally unplanned.
We lost the baby. It was a shock, it all went really fast. I didn’t feel it coming. It didn’t hurt or bleed. And although it wasn’t planned, losing the baby left an emotional void.
I think that pregnancy awakened the need to become a mother in me after all. And I became pregnant, willfully, one year later.
Unfortunately, a couple of months after giving birth to my daughter, I found myself in a dark place rather than flooded with positive emotions. I struggled a lot, but I thought that all of that was normal, which, to a certain extent, it absolutely is. But my sadness and distress did not go away and happy moments left me feeling empty. The most random decisions started overwhelming me, I felt like I was losing control over my whole life. And that’s when I sought help and got diagnosed with postpartum depression.
We think it’s amazing that you are so open about this and thanks for sharing. Hopefully others reading this can benefit or pass it on to someone in need. Thankfully for you, postpartum depression is in the past. How are you feeling now? How’s your little girl?
She’s awesome :) I mean she’s the greatest person I know. Such a little character already. And I really hope she’d also answer this question by saying: I’m awesome! :)
For me the past year was quite a journey. It taught me more than any other year. Especially about knowing what’s good for me and being more mindful. It gave me strength to learn my boundaries, made me more confident, more efficient. My priorities shifted, which feels so good. Being a parent is definitely a superpower! Now go make babies, haha!
Becoming a mom is a huuuge change. Obviously. You said now it all makes sense and that priorities shift (as they should). But at the same time you are a successful woman and you love to work and want to continue to work. There are things like daycare and stuff, but you still have to pick up your kids at a certain time and it’s not always easy. How do you cope with that?
Picking up Aino at 6pm can feel stressful but I also came to realize that it forces me to take a break. That break gives me time to think of other stuff and spend time with my family, so after a couple of hours I can think about work again and have a clear mind. That’s my way of dealing with it. In short: taking conscious breaks.
I learned that nothing will happen if I don’t check my emails for a couple of hours. Mothers often feel torn between wanting to succeed at work but missing out on being home with their family. Those two things are not opposites, both desires are valid and can go together. It’s about owning them and being present when you’re at work, and when you’re with your fam. No guilt. No shame. Only superpowers, remember?
It’s a hard lesson to learn but I am getting the hang of it.
The gender pay gap is a huge topic in Switzerland at the moment. Just because women don’t talk about money as much as men it doesn’t mean they don’t understand finances as well as their male counterparts. Yet it still feels like women are more uncomfortable around this topic. Why do you think that is?
Ugh, story of my life. Women don’t do one thing that a lot of men do really well: they don’t brag about their success, they don’t go high five-ing each other and giving each other claps on the back. It somehow feels wrong. We’d rather keep things to ourselves and think our hard work will be noticed. But talking about your success is as important as doing the good work, and it should become normal for women to do so, too. Unfortunately, if we do, we’re quickly perceived as arrogant. Or too ambitious. And talking about money or our worth quickly feels wrong, too. The result: We see others make progress and end up doubting ourselves. We must stop being too shy to be seen and heard. What’s there to lose? Also, one thing I would love to see more often is people praising each other - in front of their leaders, too. That is such a powerful tool, especially for the ones who struggle being seen or heard.
These topics are huge for us and they sadly probably still will be when your daughter hits the working field. Does that worry you at times? We’re sure you’re going to raise her to be a great negotiator. 🙌🏽
I really hope you’re right. Of course, it worries me. I would love to keep her from all the struggles I had to go through, and there are many that I think would not have been there if it weren’t for my big mouth. But I will still teach her to use her voice and never argue that certain things are not ok “for girls”. Fuck that. I really hope that she will see a world where gender bias doesn’t exist and gender doesn’t count as a factor for anything. And I will do my utmost to shape that world for her a little bit. (Ok, corny, but very true.)
What’s a mistake you see get made all the time, even by very smart people? What have you learned from that to handle it the right way?
Not listening to their gut. I don’t know if I have learned it yet, but my gut feeling warns me every time something isn’t right for me. And I tend to ignore it too often because of what I believe others think is right. We’re emotional beings and especially in the work environment you are told that feelings are out of place. I absolutely disagree. You can’t call it a people business and exclude emotions. They are our compass. Being emotional does not equal being unprofessional.
You just started a new job amidst this whole Covid-19 situation. That must have been surreal, especially since you're a teamhead. Can you tell us a little bit about this experience? How is Covid-19 affecting your daily business?
Yeah, it's an extraordinary situation for sure. I met the team via google hangout for the first time last week and have been chatting and talking on the phone with them since. It's the same for everyone at the moment I believe, except that it is easier if you know each others modus operandi and are somewhat "rehearsed" already as a team. However, exceptional situations require exceptional measures. You can feel the solidarity everywhere these days, and especially within a team of people with kids it's beautiful to see how understanding everyone is of the fact that one may not be available at all times. I feel like this is a great lesson for us and I really hope we can keep this vibe with each other.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Being a good mom. Having made great memories with many more to come. Having learned how to sail. Hopefully looking like J.Lo. There’s always champagne somewhere. 🍾
Zodiac Sign: Taurus
Currently listening to: A private 90’s R’n’B playlist
How to unwind after a long day at work: With a glass of wine in a nice bar with good company
Favorite restaurant in Zurich: Gamper, Kokoro and KIN
Can't live without: My daughter Aino and my pillow Hansli
My perfect day would look like this: Summer days by the water, with the fam during the day, with friends at night, great food and music included
Most used emojis: ❤️🙈🙌
Most overrated word: Content
The most rewarding thing about being a mom: It sets your priorities straight and gives you superpowers
The hardest thing about being a mom: Having to be a grown up more often
Finish this sentence "Women should be: less giving a shit.“