What to Expect: Emotions Mothers Face Returning to Work After Childbirth

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Becoming a mother is one of the most beautiful life events a woman will experience. Carrying your baby, breastfeeding (if you decide to do that), and just bonding with your baby, are all experiences that are indescribably wonderful. But for some new mothers, this joy is short-lived because they have to return back to work.

In returning back to work, you have all the fundamentals in place. Things like childcare, a breast milk pumping schedule, and coordinating schedules with your spouse/partner… those types of things you’re prepared for but preparing for the emotional changes that will be coming your way might be a little difficult to handle, especially if you’re a first-time mother.

Workforce Re-Entry: It may be Difficult Initially

You obviously don’t want to leave your new baby that you love more than life itself so returning to work will be difficult but there are ways to continue your career after kids. Some mothers will go on maternity leave with their current job and return back to work with no issues of job security. That’s the ideal setup.

On the other hand, some mothers might be starting a clean slate getting back on the job scene. Now, some career fields are a little more difficult than others to find a job but it’s no reason to not get back out there! For example, if you’re a nurse practitioner, you can find a nurse practitioner job through a job board specifically for your practice. If you’re in the world of business, there are networking mixers and groups you can join to get re-established in that field.

So it may be difficult initially but there are resources and tools out there to help you get back out there comfortably and with confidence in your capabilities.

The Emotional Roller Coaster

Emotion: Fear

In the weeks before you start back working, you will experience the emotion of fear. Fear of what you’re going to be returning to or starting, fear of if your job responsibilities have changed, or if you’ll be able to handle the workload, and your biggest concern of how will you make it leaving your baby… it’s completely understandable.

What You Can Do

Instead of being afraid of what might happen (something you won’t even know until you actually start back working), focus on enjoying the time that you have with the baby before you start back working. There’s no time like the present and you want to spend as much of that time with your little one as you can before you start working.

Emotion: Excitement Followed By Guilt

Almost every mother ready to get back to work feels excited at the opportunity to re-enter the workforce but they also feel guilty at the same time because working means that they’ll have to leave their baby. This is also a normal feeling to have but it’s also a feeling you don’t really think about until you’re experiencing the situation.

What You Can Do

You have to think… before you became a mother, you were a working woman, right? Yes. Working was a part of your life and there’s no reason you should feel guilty for wanting to maintain that part of your life.

Returning to the workforce doesn’t make you less of a mom, nor does it make you less invested in your baby. You can look at working as a way that you’re contributing to the establishment of your home. Being able to work and raise a child is definitely something to be proud of and it’s also something for your little one to be proud of as well.

Emotion: Depression

During the first year of having your baby, especially while working, you can experience postpartum depression (PPD). According to the American Psychological Association, 1 in 7 women experience the severe symptoms associated with PPD. Symptoms of PPD include:

  • Fear of being left alone with the baby
  • Sadness and crying for long periods of time
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Fear of being a bad mother
  • Showing no interest in the baby or friends and family; secluded

What You Can Do

If you experience these symptoms for longer than two weeks, you may need to seek help. Recovering from these symptoms are very possible and treatable. There are also support groups you can join for help as well. Just be sure to look at all your options and resources for help.


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So your maternity leave is nearly up, what can you expect when your return to work after having a baby? A rollercoaster of emotions if you're normal!
#maternityleave #returningtowork #childbirth #baby #pregnancy

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