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The Inspiration behind The Returnity Project

Our Co-Founder, Lauren Brandt

Hi everyone! My name is Lauren Brandt; I'm a new mom living in Michigan with my husband Ben and daughter, Olivia. I work in Advertising Sales and am a Michigan State Spartan (Go Green!) I'm a lover of the Beach Boys, and my family always comes first.

My family knows that there are 3 dates in my life so far that have significantly impacted me as a person.

The first is June 4, 2016 which was my wedding day with Ben. Young, happy, in love and excited to start our lives together!

The second is February 22, 2017 which is the day Olivia was born and my life changed forever. I thought I knew what happiness and love was, but I truly didn't until I held Olivia for the first time. I had never felt such an overwhelming sense of love and knew right then and there that becoming a mother was my purpose in life.

The third date (less significant vs. the other 2 but still important) was July 19, 2017. This was the day I returned back to work from maternity leave.

I remember this date so vividly because it was a date part of me was excited for, and the other part of me dreaded. I had spent a little over 4 months being with this tiny newborn 24/7; feeding her, taking care of her, holding/cuddling her, and just enjoying every single moment with her. I couldn't fathom the thought of leaving her in the care of anyone else, and also felt a huge amount of guilt. Guilt for leaving her, guilt for being gone at work and leaving my team for so long, and guilt that I was excited to get part of myself back by being a working mom at a job I love.

Everyone kept telling me to enjoy the last few weeks of my maternity leave and to not think about work, but I couldn't get this date out of my head. I was lucky enough to have an amazing support system behind me; my husband, our families who lived close, and some wonderful friends who were going through this same phase of life. I also had a friend named Lindsay in California, who was a colleague that I had met at a team event while we were both pregnant. Even though we were over 2,000 miles from each other, we talked regularly and were each other's support system as we navigated our returnity.

Once we were both back, we realized that there were other women that didn't have the support system that we had. Some women who were alone in their journey and navigating this path. And some women who didn't even have paid time off for maternity leave. We wanted to help new moms as they navigated their return to work, and wanted them to know they weren't alone.

This inspired us to create The Returnity Project; a community focused on showcasing the real stories from women who've returned to work from maternity leave. Their highs, lows, fears, successes, and lessons learned along the way.

Thank you to those that have supported us so far. We're excited to launch this project and you can follow us along on our journey on Instagram @thereturnityproject.

XOXO, Lauren

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