Today as I was reading a book to my three year old sitting in my apartment at Barcelona I was amazed to learn that she knows most of the stories and went on to complete my sentences in two of her favorite books. At that moment I reflected on my journey as a career woman and a mother.

After two miscarriages I now have two amazing daughters, who have held my hand and heart for last few years as I struggled and stumbled on my way to become their mother and loved me immensely every day, flattering with their hugs, kisses and smiles.

But the world we live in continues to disappoint me as a mother. Specially an immigrant like me who has no family in US, has no background of working mothers in the family and a husband who has no idea how to support a wife who is not a stay at home mom. I had to carve out my own path at every step and explore ways to manage motherhood, a growing career and my journey to find myself.

I remember as a teen in an Indian middle class marwari family, when I attained puberty it was a scene from one of the Indian daily soaps. I could see people turning their heads three times in astonishment and shock as if I was either going to die or no one before me had done this huge mistake of taking the step to adulthood. In the years to follow I was taught the ways to hide what was happening to my body but never to understand the role all of this was going to play when I become a mother.

Its said it takes a whole village to raise a child, I am still looking for that village. As a married couple when we set on the journey to become parents we had no idea what it meant and how we were going to manage our personal lives and careers when the kids arrive, without the family support required. In the beginning the primary goal was to deliver healthy baby and to help with that journey we did every bit of research, did birthing classes, hypnobirthing sessions, hired a doula and midwives which very surprising very uncommon in US. We were successful at the end for both the kids but now I know that, that was just one step in my journey to motherhood. Every day of my life since then brings in a new challenge as a mother, but their giggles and smiles give me the power to continue to give in my best and pursue my journey to becoming a mother.

When I was pregnant with my first child at the beginning of my second trimester I found out I was going to loose my job in few months and trust me I never thought finding a job would be that difficult. Sadly at that time people were looking at my ever growing belly then my skills, I was asked “Do I plan to continue working after the kid was born?” and I was shocked to hear this question from an engineering leader in NY. But eventually I joined Dow Jones a month before my due date and went on to take full 12 weeks of paid maternity leave.

Anyone who thinks maternity leave is a vacation has no idea what women go through in these months after baby is born. With both the pregnancies coming back to work was emotionally, mentally and physically draining. Sleep deprivation, breastfeeding and pumping, childcare challenges, out of context at work and physical transformation puts you at the lowest level in terms of motivation and energy. I used to feel am I still eligible to do my job? when would people in this meeting figure out that I am a mess?

And this is the point where many women give up, when they dont get the right support from their teams, peers and leaders. I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to create a flexible work schedule with full support from everyone at Dow Jones to help me transition back and be able to raise my kids in the best possible way without making sacrifices.

In the last four years through various pregnancies and raising kids I have been promoted thrice and have traveled across the world for work and never had to pull back to make motherhood an enjoyable experience. During my work trips I would take my kids with me wherever possible and would hire a baby sitter to watch them in office or hotel. I have had both good and bad experiences but at the end have learnt a lot and am much more confident in taking on new challenges. One particular thing that has been the most difficult as a new mother is to continue to breastfeed my daughters during these work trips, after few broken pumps I know exactly which pump would work in which country and where to find a new one 😄.

This week was another major milestone in both personal and professional lives, I moved to Barcelona for a three month assignment. When I arrived at my corporate apartment the taxi driver who dropped me said he was amazed to see that I was traveling alone with two little kids, 5 piece of luggage and a double stroller from NYC all the way to Barcelona. Whosoever thinks I am lucky to have this amazing opportunity is absolutely right and Dow Jones is a place that makes these dreams happen. But its not easy and requires lot of effort that I have to put in to make all of this work at every level from getting approvals, to planning each and every step of the trip, figuring out childcare and managing disruptions. I had to make last minute changes in the schedule due to sick nannies, it’s been a nightmare settling in without a car and help, ask me about trying to fit a double stroller and two kids and two big bags of groceries in a tiny 4x5 old elevator of my apartment. And above all dealing with jet lagged kids at night. But I know at the end it will all be worth it for both me and our team as we are building our new engineering teams here in the beautiful city of Barcelona.

Although difficult I have learnt a lot being a mother which has helped me make a better leader and an individual. I am calm and composed in most difficult of the situations and many a times unflinchingly dealing with both personal and professional problems at the same time. I am more empathetic and supportive to everyone around me as you never know what that person is facing on a day to day basis. I know the years to come by will bring in new set of challenges but with the power bestowed in a Mother I am more than prepared to face them head on.

This Mother’s Day appreciate and thank the women around you, who give a life by giving up their own lives and get on this journey to become a mother and transforms herself into a power house to keep this world running.

Happy Mother’s Day!

VP of Engineering Dow Jones