Here’s What It’s Really like to Return to Work after Maternity Leave


Here’s What It’s Really like to Return to Work after Maternity Leave September 21, 2017

To have a baby and enjoying motherhood is probably the most rewarding experience in a woman’s life. Your professional or personal achievements take a backseat because now your identity seems to be coupled with the existence of your little one. And once the little one is not so little anymore, you start contemplating about going back to work. Though this doesn’t sound like a big deal, it is a major change of phase that one needs time to adapt to. Here’s a journey from harmonious motherhood to getting back to a chaotic professional world.

Basking in the Maternity Madness

Basking in the Maternity Madness

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The first few months you seem to be basking in ‘maternity madness,’ that is so blissful. You can’t take your eyes off the little cherubic angel by your side. All you think about is how tiny it is, ever so dependent on you, so fragile and so vulnerable. You lose count of how the days pass by, and how your baby grows little by little each day.

But nothing lasts forever, and you too realize that after a few months of sleepless nights and crazy days, your maternity leave is over and your workplace beckons.

Back to Work

Back to Work

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When you have spent the past months completely in a daze, with your baby being your focal point, going back to work can be a bit of a numbing experience. First of all, you got to prepare yourself mentally—to follow the routine, to work around the targets, attending meetings, handling clients and so on.

Secondly, you are also full of stress, guilt, and apprehension over your child’s well-being in your absence. Will she be alright? What if she doesn’t eat? What if she cries? Your separation anxiety seems greater than your child’s.

And then, going back to office seems like a new start all over again. You stand in front of the mirror, looking zapped. What do you wear? How do you make an impact? The heels, skirts and fitting clothes appear from a bygone age because nothing fits you or comforts you anymore. Your bust is ready to burst; your waist still carries that extra room and your hips look all pumped up. After all, last few months you had the tent like sweatshirts and tracks to cover yourself with!

At Work

At Work

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Just as you step out of the house, you run back. You might have forgotten to pick up your pump and the cool bag, or maybe you can’t find your work specs, or maybe you just wanted to plant a quick peck on your baby’s cheeks before you could see her until a few more hours.

Going to the office after so long does seem a bit refreshing- catching up with colleagues, having little conversations, sitting in front of your laptop -all provide you with a pleasant diversion.

But all the pleasantness comes to a standstill once your breasts start to gorge. You can feel the pain of the hard lumps and the drops trickling by. You start feeling overwhelmed with the urge of nursing your child. Only if you could rush back home, and resume your feeding sessions like before, holding the baby so close to you, inhaling the smell of her soft skin, gently caressing her tiny toes and her little hands playing with your hair.

But you only have your pump to relieve your pain and tissues to wipe your tears. All the little things that your baby does—cooing, cute toothless smiles, little babblings, you miss them so terribly. It’s a task to concentrate on work with the images and thoughts of your baby continuously flashing in your mind. You stare at the watch and wait for hours to end so that you can rush back to your baby and pick her up in your arms.

All For A Cause

All For A Cause

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It can seem like trudging moments, but you got to pick yourself up. Sometimes it can even feel cruel, but it is a choice you have made for yourself and your baby, and you know what’s best for both of you. And it is not that you stop worrying once they cross infancy. You are always worrying about them—when they are toddlers, when they are in school, when they have gone for higher studies, or they have gone for jobs. At each stage, your worries and concerns will be different, always playing at the back of your mind, but they will be there for sure.

It is also true that your biggest identity and priority could be you being a mother, but you are also something else. You may have a professional life, ambitions, and goals and by no means, you should put a stop to that. You must always be there for your baby, but there are other duties to be fulfilled too. When your baby ventures out of the home to embark on an independent journey of her own, your job, hobbies, friends, and spouse will be your anchors. So, invest time for your own growth, and it is not separate from the growth of your baby. When you are successful in your own sphere, however small or big it might be, you rub that confidence and self-reliance to your baby and this is the best gift a mother could give to her child.

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Profile photo of Shamita Chatterjee
Profile photo of Shamita Chatterjee

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Here’s What It’s Really like to Return to Work after Maternity Leave

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