Only little babies do that…

a blog by Emily\’s mother

Reflections On Returning To Work….

Posted by DINRIL on December 5, 2006

Please can I come to the office with you Mummy? I’ll be good, I promise…..It’s the night before the big day – after 28 weeks of maternity leave , tomorrow I leave Emily in the care of her grandmothers and return to my job.

And as much as I’m looking forward to going back to the office – which I’ll be doing from Wednesday-Friday, spending Mondays and Tuesdays at home with her – the thought of being at work is, after having such a long break, a decidedly odd one.

When I first started my maternity leave, I imagined all the things I’d do with my pre-baby time off – write the next best-selling phenomenon, perhaps, take up a stimulating hobby, watch all the DVDs I hadn’t had time to watch previously, have friends round for afternoon tea on a daily basis, buy a whole new wardrobe of clothes to flatter my post-pregnancy body and impress all my colleagues on my return to the office – you get the idea.

The reality was that on the day I finished work, a scan confirmed my baby was breech and the thought of an elective Caesarean loomed large. Although I was already aware this was a distinct possibility, it completely altered the shape of my maternity leave – I left work on the Friday, by Tuesday I was in the hospital having an ECV to try and turn Emily into a head down position. When it failed, I was informed I’d be having a Caesarean two weeks after that.

Now since Emily’s original due date was June 15, I had envisaged a whole month of enjoying my new-found freedom from the office, ultimately culminating in my sitting on a large cushion, mainlining Green And Black’s chocolate and waiting for my contractions to kick in.

Instead, I had a frantic fortnight in which we had to get the nursery ready, finish redecorating the apartment, do our last bits of shopping and wash every item of clothing we owned (Emily’s included) so I wouldn’t have to worry about laundry for a while once I got home.

And being at home took some getting used to – before I had Emily, I’d worked solidly for 15 years and although part of that had been spent working at home, this was of course a very different experience.

Life with a newborn baby has a way of making you feel oddly detached from the real world – I was aware that there was life going on beyond the walls of my apartment, but somehow it seemed to be going on without me. And after 15 years of non-stop work (barring vacations of course), I had to admit that I missed it. As much as I adored my new daughter, if I could have popped Emily into her carrycot and stowed her under my desk, I’d have seriously considered going back.

But gradually things changed – Emily got bigger, started sleeping longer at night, going to bed earlier and becoming more independent – or as independent as it’s possible to be at that age – and a certain sense of normality returned to life.

Suddenly I had free evenings once again to watch TV, read books, listen to music, write an incisive blog about life with a baby (of course!) – and occasionally, just occasionally – go out. Perhaps more importantly, I built up a rapport with her – I discovered how to make her smile, how to make her giggle, how to settle her to sleep (and when she needed to sleep), how to calm her down if she was fractious (answer: stick her in the pushchair and take her for a walk). And eventually, I realised that I was actually enjoying my new life.

But now it’s time for us both to move on to the next phase – and naturally I’m already panicking. Tonight I’ve been meticulously planning everything for tomorrow – from getting everybody’s clothes ready for the morning, instead of just idly picking through the wardrobe and selecting something to cooking up a batch of baby food that should take care of dinner for the rest of the week.

And of course I know she’ll be well looked after. But I daresay this won’t stop me fretting tomorrow and ringing at least once an hour to check she is OK.

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2 Responses to “Reflections On Returning To Work….”

  1. FourBear said

    I think what you are going through is completely normal. Many of the mothers I know were hesitant to get back to work, but their children were placed in good hands (of the grandmothers, coincidentally). Good luck with your return to work! I’m sure it might be slightly difficult change, but I think you are very much ready for it.

  2. Stephanie2377 said

    Getting ready to go back to work is so stressful! There are so many emotions swirling around… from anxiety to relief to sadness to even happiness. It can be such a surreal transition to go back to the working life you had pre-baby. Sounds like you prepared yourself as best you could. I am glad you have a MIL who will help look after Emily! I hope your first day back goes well.

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