I have been back at work for a year now after my Maternity Leave. Part of me can’t really fathom that it’s been a year, or even the fact that I was actually pregnant over 2 years ago. Time has just flown by.
To start with, working was tough. I had just got into a little routine with Bubs and I was enjoying my time with her, at last. Not that I hadn’t enjoyed the whole ten months, but things were just getting that little bit easier.
It was hard leaving her with other people, even if they were family. I felt jealous, and worried that I would not have any influence over her life. Crazy I know. Having a Wednesday off has meant that I still get some time with her, and for that I have been really grateful.
Bubs started nursery in September, and that was hard. I couldn’t help but feel guilty and awful leaving her crying with strangers. My mind racing with all sorts of thoughts. But she has really enjoyed going, and seems to be really thriving from the interaction, and all the activities she can do there. She is really growing up, and I can see that she doesn’t need me so much. However I am the first person she calls for in the morning, and during the night. I know we have a bond now, a bond that doesn’t matter whether I am with her 24 hours a day or not. Her smile when she picks me up from work just tells me everything I need to know about that.
So, actual work. It’s been very hard to get myself back into a working frame of mind. I didn’t care much about what I was doing initially, my heart wasn’t in it, I was going through the motions. That is not like me – I am passionate about my role, and my profession, and have also strived to achieve more and do better. But going back I just felt like the enthusiasm was sucked right out of me.
One thing I felt was that going back to work – nothing had changed. Nothing. I was expecting to go back and there have been some changes, but there wasn’t anything at all. I felt like I had woken up from a dream, and that having a baby hadn’t even happened at all.
I think it started to change about 6 months or so ago. Life became normal, work wasn’t a novelty, we had a morning routine, childcare was sorted and things did seem easier.
I had to finish my degree, which was very difficult to start again after having the break, but when I had finished it, I really felt energised and good about myself 0- it had made me think about my job and how much I am interested in the field I work in.
Another thing which really has helped, was that I have been able to go on secondment within the same place of work, but in a different team. Having this change has really helped me to get back in the zone, and feel like I am using my brain again.
It’s been an emotional year, a rollercoaster of a year in many respects. I feel more myself than I have done since having Bubs, and I feel more confident in who I am, and what I can do. In the end, I think I am glad I went back to work. I have loved having a day off each week with Bubs, and this has given me some special one to one time with her that I have craved. I have also liked the fact I can come to work and be ‘me’, not just a ‘mum’, if that makes sense.
Life has just started to feel like normal again.