When Work is Baby and Baby is Work
Gina Nebesar has a pretty awesome job. She is the Chief Product & Marketing Officer and co-founder at Ovuline, a health technology company helping people navigate their fertility, pregnancy, and parenting journeys. Ovuline's mobile apps, Ovia Fertility and Ovia Pregnancy, have helped millions of women and families lead healthier lives and have beautiful babies.
Though she did some kick-ass stuff prior to making babies professionally (like making vending machines and satellites at places like Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems and Automatic Apparel while a student at Harvard Business School), she feels she now has the dream job of helping millions of people realize their dreams of parenthood and make better health decisions every day.
Now a mama herself (follow along her pregnancy journey here!) she shares her motherhood journey with us and how she juggles playing many roles that includes running Ovia and being a devoted mom to her adorable daughter.
Name: Gina Nebesar
Title: Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Ovia
Mother to: Hazel, 8-months-old and a lover of eating
Tell us a little bit about your decision to go back to work after baby!
I always planned on going back to work after pregnancy. As the co-founder and Chief of Product at Ovuline, I have a dream job of helping people lead healthier lives and have beautiful healthy babies.
My maternity leave was about three months. I felt it the appropriate time for me, but it’s different for everyone! I felt very supported by my colleagues—one colleague even joined a new moms group to ask other women how she could best support my return back to work!
How did your style change?
This was something I wasn’t expecting. Every clothing choice I made revolved around breastfeeding. I bought so many nursing tanks and clothes that made breastfeeding more accessible yet fashionable. I felt amazing in Mitera. The dress is absolutely gorgeous and made wearing workwear less intimidating to me as a new mom. I plan to wear it again whether or not I’m breastfeeding!
Gina pictured above in our Charlotte Dress
How did you prepare to go back to work?
I prepared to go back to work before I even left. I set expectations for what I’d be available for and what I wouldn’t, and outlined the tasks others would need to cover while I was out. And when I returned, I set expectations for my new schedule (2x pumping, and leaving by 5). I’m lucky because I have a very talented and supportive team and employer.
Lucky indeed! What were some of the challenges you did face?
One challenge was leaving at 5 o’clock. I’m able to go online after Hazel goes to sleep to get my work done, but as a leader at my company, it’s difficult for me to leave a hard-working team at five. I would love to stay at support them, but they know I’m available via Slack if they need me.
I thought breastfeeding and pumping was a challenge, but I’m glad I did it. Hazel ate a lot, and frequently, so some days it felt as if all I did was breastfeed! Pumping got easier when I got an efficient pump (Medela pump in style).
The biggest challenge is not always relying on nights and weekends to do work when I’m too busy with meetings during the day. I used to use weekends as a crutch when the work overflowed, but now I want to make sure Hazel is getting my full attention, so I try to keep the laptop closed around her.
Work/Life Balance: Does it exist?
I love my job so I don’t mind bringing work home with me. Since I do work away from home all day, I try not to work when I’m home during the hours Hazel is awake. I leave work, spend some great time with Hazel, then if needed, I get back online to work when she falls asleep. As a working mom, there’s no breaks or down time. I feel like I’m always moving, and I try to enjoy the chaos and business. Every time I’m stressed, I imagine how one day I’ll be 50 and Hazel will be all grown up, and I’ll reflect on these days as the best in my life.
Who/how/where have you looked for and found support?
My husband and my family are incredible support systems. Although my mother doesn’t live nearby, she offers me so much important emotional support, even when she doesn’t know she’s doing it! Sometimes just Facetiming with her and Hazel does wonders in making me feel less overwhelmed. And of course my husband (and his family, too!) is wonderful. Despite having a demanding career, he is always eager to share in all of parenting responsibilities. Seeing how much he loves Hazel and how much she loves him is a consistent and daily reminder of how lucky I am.
Truthfully, I don't really have much time for myself. But that’s perfectly okay for now.