Monday, September 05, 2016

The end of Maternity Leave

This weekend marked the official end of my Maternity Leave. I tried to prepare myself as best I could before returning to work, but I think no matter how much you try to prepare yourself it's still an incredibly difficult thing to be away from your child for any amount of time. 
Returning to work after being on Maternity Leave blog
It's really hard to go to work when you have a cute little face like this looking up at you!


Whilst I was working on my return to work with my workplace I became incredibly anxious. The end of my Maternity Leave seemed to come around really quickly and I found myself wishing that I didn't have to go back to work. I worried about child care and missing important firsts among other things. Even though she's cared for by her Dad when I'm working I still worry about silly things that I know her Dad would be able to deal with. It's not that I don't trust him because he's a fantastic Dad, but we both have different parenting styles and I'm so routine focused where as he's more of a wing it attitude. 

The first day back at work was the hardest. Since I work 12 hour shifts I was worrying about how I'd cope being away from Aoife for over 12 hours. Our family were saying you'll be so busy that your mind would be occupied, but it didn't matter how busy I was I would still worry constantly. I think I made it harder for myself returning straight into 12 hour shifts. For 9 months I'd only spent a handful of times away from Aoife, which were for a couple of hours each. I'd never spent an extended period of time away from her. 

I did get emotional at times, especially when people were asking about how my daughter was, but on my third shift I felt it was easier to talk about her without getting overly upset. I also felt really really guilty. I felt like I'd abandoned my daughter and that was the feeling that was hardest to deal with. I really doubted my decision to go back to work because as her Mum I should be there 24/7 and I wasn't. I kept thinking in my head that I was a bad mum because I wasn't at home looking after her. However, I think it's made me feel more appreciative of the time I get to spend with my daughter too.

Don't get me wrong though, in some respects I'm glad to have returned to work. I feel good to be earning money again so I can contribute more to the household. I get to go into adult mode and have adult conversations instead of spending hours at home speaking baby which can make you go a little crazy at times. I also feel good that Aoife is spending more time with her Dad and making their bond stronger. I love how her face lights up when he comes home from work and the looks and smiles she gives him when she's spending time with him.

I still need to get used to the new routine I'm in. I literally miss everything when I'm at work as my partner does her breakfast as I'm leaving for work, and she's usually already asleep and in bed when I return from work. Plus, getting up this morning after doing three 12 hour shifts in a row was very difficult as I still felt very tired physically, but I'm also glad to be back spending time with my daughter and returning to our usual routine. 

Have you returned to work or are returning to work soon after having a baby? I'd love to hear how you feel or coped with such a big transition!

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