Going Back to Work After Maternity Leave

I keep having these realisations….

I. am. a. Mom.

***Looking in the mirror, “Yes, I am a Mom.”

When I called the GP to set up an appointment for my son to get his injections at 8 weeks old, the receptionist asked,

“Hi, how may I help you?”
I said, “Uh…Um Hi, I’m good, I have to set up an appointment for my uh baby?”
She said, “I’m sorry, I don’t think I heard you correctly. A baby?”
“Sorry, um I gave birth 8 weeks ago, and he uh has to get injections….”

 

The words, “my son,” just didn’t feel right coming out of my mouth.

 

My first day back at work has been a very similar experience. I feel like nothing has changed over these very short six months. Everything is normal and I am going through the motions…. and then BOOM, it hits me, I have a son.

 

I am exhausted. I feed my son. 9pm. 12am. 2am. 5am. I wake up. 6am. I hussle to the train. I get into work. 7:30am. I tell colleagues I’m happy I’m back at work. I breastpump in the toliet. 12pm. No lunch break.

 

When an unknown colleague walks past me I feel like I have this deep, dark secret about the very essence of who I am now and they have no idea. I am a Mom.

 

But my emotional brain is unable to cope with all of the changes, so I shove these feelings into the deepest part of my soul and lock the steel door shut. And I purposely try to forget. I try to forget that I am a Mom.

 

I pretend to smile. I pretend I am awake. I want to cry. I miss him. I rush out the door. I just make it to the train. Thank god. 4pm. I get off the train.

 

I’m really good at holding all of these feelings inside. I hide behind “I am great!” and “I’m getting used to being tired ha ha!” and “It’s a nice break from being with a baby all day!” Smile. Smile. Smile. I am fighting to be the person I used to be. But it’s not about me anymore, my son is in charge. I need to accept that I have changed. I glance at the photo on my screen saver….
Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 18.22.45
and think…..I. am. a. Mom.

 

In a very fast-paced walk, I pretty much run to the nursery. I’m so excited. I pick my son up and he smiles. 4:30pm. I get an extra hour and a half after work with my son. I try to convince myself that I am lucky because I get this extra time. I breastfeed my son. 5pm.

 

Starting a new job is hard. Starting a new job and only having five hours of broken sleep a night is even harder. Starting a new job and only having five hours of broken sleep a night and leaving a person you just created with your own body is the hardest like carrying three dead bodies up Mt. Everest. I finally admit to myself I miss him so much. I realise how important time is. I want to capture every moment with him and put it in a video bubble and carefully place it on my imaginary bookshelf.

 

I can’t keep my eyes open. Live in the moment Meagan. Be present. My body feels like it’s dragging in the mud. My brain has melted into my ears. I kiss my son on the cheek. My heart and body feel warm. I read him a story. 5pm. I turn on the bath.

 

Smile. Smile. Through the teethy grin, I remember how short our lives feel. Going back to work has made me realise how every moment I have is important. I realise how I must live each day noticing, observing, and appreciating all of it. Especially the moments with my son. Being a Mom has changed me for the better. My work is important, but my life is more important. My thoughts about my life are more important because the only life we have is the one we create in our minds.

 

My son smiles at me while he’s in the bath. My heart flutters. I wrap him in a towel. He is safe and warm and still smiling. I breastfeed him. 7pm. I lay him down and say goodnight. He looks up at me with wide eyes. I shush in his ear and say I love you.

(this is Monday night after my first day of work, after I rocked him to sleep, I held him a lot longer that night)

Hudson asleep
This Mum's Life

59 thoughts on “Going Back to Work After Maternity Leave

  1. This resonated with me a lot. I was the same, saying the words “my son” didn’t feel right for ages….it felt so alien if I’m honest. Now, nearly 3 years on I love saying it, it feels me with pride when I say it. It just took a long time to get my head around it!
    With regards to work after mat leave – that is so hard on so many levels. I found myself in a new job almost 11 months after giving birth and it was awful. However, within 3 months I found myself loving it and now 2 years on I’m so happy I took the jump and did it. It’s been the making of me.
    Something I’ve learnt is that although I fear change, I do soon get used to it and if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other the adjustment period isn’t as bad as it could be. Hope this comment makes sense. I’ve rambled. Great post though x #stayclassy

  2. What a brilliant piece of writing! This is so heartfelt and so many Mums will identify with what you’re saying. It can’t be easy returning to work and trying to find that identity between Mum and working woman. I think you’re doing amazingly! xx #stayclassy

  3. I really loved this post. Actually made me quite emotional. I’m going to be doing this in September and I know I’ll be going through the exact same things as you describe. Once you become a mum everything shifts. #stayclassy

  4. What a truly beautiful post! I’m not a Mother yet, but I hope to be one day… It truly is the greatest gift on this earth , yet the most exhausting from what I’ve heard! Well done for going back to work, I don’t know how you do it! Big hugs 🙂 xxx
    Also thank you for inviting me to join! #StayClassy 🙂 #TribalLove

  5. Oh goodness, this made me cry. I had this when I went back after NG. A 2hr commute each way, dealing with w**ky clients all day, missing my daughter, rushing to get the 4.30pm train so I could pick her up at 6pm and breastfeed through the night … then get up at 6am to do it all again. I am going back after NC’s maternity leave next month but I now, luckily, have a job closer to home. Still going to be hard though. You are wonderful for doing it – keep going; I sometimes tell myself we are setting a good example for when they’re older although it is agony sometimes. #stayclassy

  6. This post really moved me when I read it last night and I shared it on twitter because I thought it was so wonderful. When I gave birth to Oldest I was exactly the same, I felt a complete fraud when I was out pushing her in the pram and booking her in for injections. I would have these realisations that “argh, I am a mum!” Motherhood is so exhausting and a constant juggling of balls and going back to work brings all sort of mixed emotions but you will soon find your groove and hopefully things will get a little easier. Big hugs xxx #stayclassy ps did I say how much I loved this post!!

  7. I understand this post so well! I still don’t use the term “my son” sounds so strange!
    I went back to a job I didn’t like then started a new job when my monster was 5 months. Also strugged with the death of my btother and very unsupportive team at work who kept telling me I was grumpy.
    #stayclassy

  8. I totally know what you mean. I went back to work for a while and I felt similar. It’s almost like you’re a different person despite it only being a few months. #stayclassy

  9. I know what you mean about saying “my son” just not sounding right. It’s weird at first eh? I had my first child at 16 and saying I was a mum, or “my daughter” felt so so weird for a good while. Fastforward 18 years and I now have a grandaughter. She’s four months old and I still can’t decide what I want to be called because all the names for grandmother just sound so weird. I guess it’s a bit like changing your name suddenly. I mean I’ve been called Janine all my life and then suddenly I’m mummy, or Granny or whatever. It’s just odd.

    This is a really really well written beautiful post by the way.

    #stayclassy

  10. I found it strange saying “my daughter” too, in fact I still do! It’s almost as if it is hard to come to terms with how my role in life has changed now, and yet at the same time nothing feels different and it is as it was always meant to be – do I even remember how I was before? I can’t quite remember that time!

    Also, the bubble hair picture is adorable!!

    Lucy xx

    #TribalLove

  11. being a mum has changed me for the better too. I appreciate life a lot more, I take things less for granted and I am generally happier -although stressed, but happy #stayclassy

  12. This post is so relatable. I know what you mean about the words “My son” having very little meaning to you. In the mornings it always used to hit me hardest that I was a mum now. I’d go to get the little one out of her cot and think “Oh my god, this is a big responsibility”. And then, just as you begin getting used to it, you have to leave them for work, and it’s the hardest thing in the world to see the worried look on their little faces when you leave them. Still, it all gets easier once you work out some kind of routine. This was an excellent post – loved it! x

    #stayclass

  13. Wonderful post Meagan. Women, we have it harder in the world, especially at work after the wee ones have arrived. I am the working momma in a two mom family and it’s no easy task missing moments I will never get back in order to keep shelter, clothe and feed us all. Enjoy every moment you can, and #stayclassy

  14. I also struggled to say son, or daughter, it just felt so alien to me! I always said my baby and even now I tend to say my little boy or my little girl. Funny isn’t it? I’m a SAHM so I didn’t go back to work but I can imagine how hard it must be, just treasure every moment, I’m sure that you will. #stayclassy

  15. Totally relate to this. I hardly ever mentioned being a Mum at work – I felt like I was living with two separate lives and I had to get my brain to switch over on the drive to and from work. It’s a weird feeling isn’t it. #StayClassy

  16. Oh Meagan this such a lovely piece. It’s really hard to leave them but rest assured it will get better. You need to give yourself time to adapt to your new routine without any added pressure. Give it some time. And yes, you are a Mom. A great Mom x
    #triballove

  17. I still find it weird saying “my son”…I prefer “my little boy” for some reason – I’m not sure why! Looks like #stayclassy is going from strength to strength – well done! Sorry I’m such an intermittent linker! A job for today is “write linky plan” and yours will be Thursdays! xxx

  18. This is such a well-written post and I still feel many of the things you talk about and I’ve been back at work for 18 months. You do learn to adapt and it makes the moments you spend with your child even more precious.

    Also, it’s still totally weird for me to say ‘my daughter’. It’s like ‘please don’t think this makes me an adult’. #stayclassy

  19. Wow, what an honest and powerful post – beautifully written. It is very moving and you had me reaching for the tissues. I remember when my son was a few months and old realising that this-was- it. I was a Mum, he was ‘my son’ as scary and thrilling/wonderful as it is! #stayclassy

  20. I love this, and totally know what you mean about being a mum…for months I felt like I was walking around with this pram, babysitting for someone. Now it’s my whole life and I couldn’t be without her for a second…this is such a beautiful and honest post, it must be so hard going back to work – I’m dreading it. People always joke about hot lunches and getting to drink a cup of tea in peace, but really you just miss them so much! Thanks for hosting #stayclassy xx

  21. I’m in tears. This is how I feel and I don’t have to go back until March next year. I so don’t want to.

    We are Mums and the single most important thing are our babies.

    A really lovely piece of writing. I’m there with you waiting for the train, not having a lunch, hiding behind the smiles and the flippant comments colleagues make…Although this time around, Mummy all over again I’m not going to brush things aside. I’m going to be strong and say yes I’m here to work but work to live, not live to work. I love my job but I love my family more!!!
    x

  22. 1. You’re so beautiful! And so is your son.
    2. I remember this feeling so well from the first time around. Trying to establish who you are again in the real world and being utterly torn between wanting to work, but feeling unsure of what your comfort zone is. Such a confusing time and you capture the emotions perfectly x

  23. It can’t be easy having to go back to work. I’m so so lucky we can afford for me to stay home and get to spend so much time with my boy, although a break sometimes would be nice!I remember thinking the words ‘my son’ didn’t sound right for ages, he’s always been ‘my little boy’. Hopefully you’ll get used to being a working mummy soon and you will always have lovely cuddles with your little man as soon as you get home. Really honest and real post, I loved it xx #blogginggoodtime

  24. So many lovely moments in this post: I particularly liked the description “My brain has melted into my ears.” What a great way to sum up how having a baby changes you… It is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, leave my baby…
    Do we answer questions how we think people want us to rather than saying how we really feel to spare them or for self preservation? Be kind to yourself ❤️ Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime

  25. I to remember that first time going to the doctors and the fact of saying I’m here for my daughter was very odd but now I love to say this is my daughter as I’m so proud to call her mine !. I’m in that time of maternity leave where I need to start thinking about what I am going to do work wise and I’m really worried about leaving her but I’m sure she will love it !! #stayclassy

  26. I’m going back to work in a week and a half, so I can SO relate to this post. My daughter (yup, still weird to say) has had some settling in sessions at nursery and they have NOT gone well, so I’m dreading having to put her in there 3 days a week (I’m working 4.5 days and my husband is taking her the rest of the time). I’m sure getting back to the ‘old’ me will be good in a way, but damn, I’ll miss her. #stayclassy #triballove

  27. Being a mum is a very weird feeling at first isn’t it! I’m 5 years down the line now and have worked since my daughter was 7 months old. It’s bloody hard at times, stressful, and very emotional. However, it does get easier as they get older and your child won’t hate you for going to work. You’re doing a fab job, all I can say is just try and make the most of the time that you do get to spend with him 🙂 #StayClassy

  28. Such an honest, moving post. My LO is four now, but I still have that same feeling on my way to collect him from nursery after work!! I went back full-time a year ago (I was part-time before) and that was a similiar experience again…you cuddle them a little longer, and spoil them a little more (well I do anyway!) #stayclassy

  29. I really like how you have written this, it is so heartfelt. And I recognise that feeling that being a mother is a secret I now have from my old life. Yesterday I looked at my daughter as we walked through a busy station and I suddenly had that thought again of, “I made that. She is mine forever!” Good luck with work. I hope it keeps going well for you. I really admire you for doing it so soon. Because my work screwed me over I have to find a new job first and I’ve been delaying looking, but I started making some steps this week. #StayClassy

  30. Oh Meagan this made me cry. What a beautiful and heartfelt post. I think I did the same thing when making our first appointment at the doctor’s – ‘me and my baby have to come for a 6 week check…’. I am starting work again soon too although I am very fortunate that I will be working part time and it can be flexible around my husband and son. It’s still making me feel a little sad though, like the end of the tiny baby era? I don’t know…anyway thank you for sharing this with us, it’s gorgeous. Thanks for hosting #StayClassy

  31. Ah Meagan this is gorgeous, I can’t believe how tired you must be at the moment with the emotions as well as the physical part of waking up, getting up, going to work. Thank you for sharing this, I’m sure it’s something that so many people will really relate to. I certainly can relate to the time whooshing past, each moment feels special…well when they are not feeling all sorts of other less pleasant things! Beautiful pictures too #triballove

  32. I remember going back to work when I was still breastfeeding and I could feel my milk filling my breasts as the day went on! I missed my babies so much when I was back in work and this was like a physical reminder as well. It is such a tiring time when you are trying to be two things at the same time and you describe it so well. Thank you for sharing 🙂 #stayclassy

  33. Oh My Goodness – I can really relate to this. My son is one now and I still feel weird saying ‘my son’, Beautifully written, and how gorgeous is that bath pic!
    Laura 🙂

  34. It really is so hard. The whole thing. Accepting your new role, never getting sleep, loving someone that much, and trying to balance everything and hold on to who you were before you became a mom. Thanks for sharing! #stayclassy

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  36. I think this is my favourite post of yours, made me cry a bit! I remember this feeling so well and it is so hard. Post maternity leave is a constant fucking battle between wanting to be with them, be yourself, wanting to work and having to work because you need the money.
    You must be exhausted. You are doing really well.
    And know this, it will get easier, it will get better. Also your baby is incredibly gorgeous! #stayclassy obvs

  37. It definitely gets some getting used to-being a mom. It took be a little while as well, and that doctor’s phone call…well, it sounds like you recorded mine!
    I remember sitting in the hospital as we were packing him up, getting ready to leave. I kept trying the words on my tongue “my son. my son.” They were so foreign at the time, and now they easily roll our of my mouth.
    I’ve been lucky enough to stay home, so I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to leave your sweet little boy in the morning. Beautiful photo of you both though! <3 #StayClassy

  38. This actually brought me to tears. I think because I am starting a new job on Monday and my baby boy is only 5 months old. I am bricking it. Thank you so much for sharing, you are awesome. #stayclassy

  39. This is really beautiful. I completely understand about the shock re being a mum. My son is three and it still feels weird sometimes when I say “my son” lol!

    I personally love working part time and one of the reasons is because it makes me really value my time with my son x

    Thanks for sharing x #stayclassy

  40. Totally can relate to this.

    Mother still walks around and is shaken to the core by the unbelievable wonderful knowledge that she is a mother. She works too; the first two weeks back were hard and days like this when my aunty tells her I have been saying ‘mumumumumum’ all morning breaks her heart a little (but mostly, she loves the balance of being Mother and going out the door to work). Love your photos x #bigpinklink

  41. Lovely, honest post. I have gone back twice now and it didn’t get any easier the second time! Adjusting to who you are once you are a mum is definitely tough – and something people don’t really talk about/prepare you for. #bigpinklink

  42. This will be me in 4 weeks times – back at work full time, and still breastfeeding. I have no idea how I’m going to be, not many people at my work have children so can’t sympathise/understand how emotional I’ll be. But it has to be done, and I know I’ll get through. I will definitely be the same as you and hold my son for a little longer on my first night after work #bloggerclubuk

  43. Oh gosh, it must be tough going back to work so soon after having your little one. I went back to work at 10 months and that felt really short so I cant imagine what 6 months feels like. The breastfeeding and the broken sleep must make it all the harder, I really feel for you. I hope that it starts to get easier for you soon, its never easy making the transition back to work after maternity leave. x Emily #coolmumclun

  44. Oh what a beautiful post. It really made me emotional for you. That screen saver photo is just gorgeous and the picture of you together tells a million stories. You look exhausted but so so happy to be back together. I hope it gets easier and the smiles come more easily. Thanks for linking. #bigpinklink

  45. I love love love your honesty. Going back to work is the biggest mix bag of emotions I cannot even begin to think about it now I have had baby no2. Days at home are tough and you think work would be a nice break, then days at work and you want to be at home. Enjoy those cuddles and rocking him to sleep, soon they will be snatched kisses and hand holds and mines only three! #coolmumclub xx

  46. I wonder if that’s why so many people refer to their babies as “the bairn” or whatever because it feels so weird at first.
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK 🙂
    Debbie

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