Parents tell Moneyish they’re one with the teacher photographed writing a lesson plan before giving birth
A woman’s work is never done.
The Facebook photo of a pregnant Texas teacher finishing her lesson plan while going into labor has taken on a life of its own this week, drawing more than 21,000 reactions and 800 comments and counting.
The candid shot of Jennifer Pope finishing her paperwork for her husband to bring to a substitute was snapped by her friend Andrea McDonald of Rooted in Love Photography.
No, she is not doing her taxes. Those papers would be her lesson plans her husband is about to go drop off with her sub…
“This was Jenn’s fourth baby, and her baby came two weeks early, so she was wrapping up things before finally handing them off to her husband, who is also a teacher,” McDonald told Moneyish. “Knowing working moms, this may be more common than we think.”
It is indeed. A 21-year-old Georgia mom went viral in 2015 for taking her psychology final in the hospital while her contractions were just three-minutes apart. Tommitrise Collins said that she tackled the test “so I wouldn’t have to do it later, and I could enjoy my newborn.”
It’s not so surprising that moms remain on the clock even during the miracle of birth considering how much we’re working from home. A recent survey revealed Americans spend 6.3 hours a day checking email, and that 87% of us are reading work emails outside of business hours. A U.K survey found that one-third of people checked their work emails over Christmas.
And many parents shared their own multitasking birthing stories with Moneyish, which involved firing off last-minute emails and proofreading copy in between contractions.
Some embraced taking care of business the day their babies were born, because their jobs are also a labor of love.
“When you love what you do, it doesn’t matter where or when you work,” said Denise Albert, co-host of The MOMS podcast, who worked while in labor with both of her boys.
She was a “Good Morning America” producer during her first birth, and an executive producer at David Blaine Productions with her second.
“I vividly remember walking around the hospital room emailing [magician] David Blaine for an hour, because the doctor said I wasn’t ready to push yet,” she laughed. “David was like, ‘Denise, I can’t believe you’re working right now!’ But what else am I going to do? Labor can take a long time, and it kept me occupied.”
Mindless busywork like sorting emails can be a welcome distraction from contractions. “I wasn’t working or doing lesson plans when I went into labor, but I was trying to keep myself busy by downloading music and surfing the net,” said Lyss Stern, CEO of Diva Moms, and a mother of three in Manhattan. But she admits that she was back on email the day after an emergency c-section 10 years ago. “I was planning an event in the Hamptons, and I had to spend a week in the hospital recovering, so my sister brought in a laptop,” she said. “I was trying to keep myself busy and not think about the pain.”
Others admit that while they take pride in their, they also felt pressured to prove to employers that motherhood won’t cramp their careers.
Environmental scientist Jessica Buckley, 36, was wrapping up a report on toxic emissions to meet a federal deadline when she went into labor with her first child two years ago.
“I would answer emails in between contractions,” said the Long Island mom, who was in labor for 24 hours. “It was definitely my choice to work. But I do feel that society puts a lot of pressure on working moms to be all things to all people. You feel that you need to keep up this image that having a child will in no way impact your ability to do your job.”
And even those who chose to stay unplugged and save work for after the birth can see where multitasking moms in labor are coming from.
“We were cut off entirely. We shut it down,” said Peter Engel, 54, a Brooklyn copywriter and NYC Dads Group member, who was present for the birth of his daughter five years ago. But he and his wife, a city planner, knew when they were coming into the hospital. And complications during the birth kept work the furthest thing from their minds.
“But I can see how a person would feel a lot better knowing that a lesson plan handoff was done, so she can go into her birth without having it weigh on her,” he said. “As a man, I cannot speak to what birth feels like. But if I had a project hanging over my head, I would be getting it out of the way before surrendering to something really beautiful, like the birth of my child.”
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