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Trigger warning: This article contains loss of infant life.
"I was a full-time developer in New York working on a trade capture application when I became pregnant with my first child. I gave birth to a baby boy who was very sick with an enlarged heart – they call it hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Every day, we stayed by his side in the hospital, where he was kept in a little glass cubicle. His heart was affecting his lungs and kidneys, and he kept deteriorating.
During my maternity leave, we decided to transfer him to Columbia, New York-Presbyterian. I talked to my manager about the situation and explained why I both wanted and needed to work, even throughout such a difficult time for us. I wanted to keep my career going because I really love what I do.
My manager was very understanding. New York-Presbyterian had a room with computers, and I was able to work remotely from there. The doctors gave my son the very best care and his condition improved, but sadly there was no cure for him. Over the next few months, I worked on my laptop during the day, and at night, I would go see the baby. I was just so grateful that I had that opportunity to be with my son while having the full support of my manager. In the end, we were in the hospital with him for about six and a half months, but he never got a chance to go home. His heart just couldn't take it anymore, and my son passed away."
Going back to work and caring for my children
"After some time, I was able to come back to work where I was given the same opportunities to progress and grow. This happened pre-Covid, in a time when everyone was still working from the office. Although I wasn’t physically there with my colleagues, it felt as if I’d been working alongside them day-to-day. I learned how to juggle and manage my time, and still achieve what I needed to achieve. It was a big learning experience for me.
A few years later, I was relieved to have two healthy children, and work were very supportive. Barclays offer day care in the same office building which is great, as it meant I could keep working while having my children near me. I had already gone through a very traumatizing experience, so I wanted to keep my children close and safe.
Then I had my fourth child. When she was born, she was in the NICU for a week. She has a mitochondrial disorder, which is a progressive disease, and it meant that for the first three months she was hospitalized. With the full support of my managers, I was able to be with her while working full-time from the hospital. She eventually came home, and I could work remotely."
Being a dedicated mom and worker
"Unfortunately, she was hospitalized a second time – and it was very critical. I was working from the hospital supporting a massive project at that time: I wanted to still be dedicated to both my work and family. Again, my manager was very supportive, and I was able to stay with my little girl.
My daughter is three years old now, and she needs to continue her nursing care with all her equipment, 24/7. It's a totally different home for us now. I work from home four or five days a week because my daughter requires round-the-clock care, and it means I can be there for her no matter what.
I recently changed jobs internally, and my new managers are also very understanding, allowing me to be by my daughter’s side while working. I’m very dedicated to my job and want to continue to work. Thanks to Barclays, I'm able to balance everything. That's why I'm still here. Barclays have helped me grow my family, while keeping my job through these critical times."
What it means to be supported
"The support from Barclays meant that I could be there for my critically ill child, and be there with my husband who’s also going through a lot. The support meant that I could see all my children, whether by their bedside in the hospital or at day care.
When I brought my babies into day care, it allowed me to see them during my breaks and then come back to work. That was so important for me because my first son was so ill that it was not always possible to snuggle and be close to him. To be only a few floors away, knowing that they're fast asleep and I’m working with them close by – it means everything to me.
Why did I want to share such a personal story? Because I want to show women that they're not helpless. If you’re experiencing issues, you don’t have to feel stuck. Work hard, build the trust with your manager, and make sure they know your capabilities. I don't wish this upon anybody, but if you ever do go through something like I have, Barclays will be there to support you – I’m a living example of it."
- Tugba Solmaz, VP, Macro Portfolio Lead