Whether we have any control over our work situation or not, the transition from caring for our babies to going back-to-work can be very challenging, and raise all kinds of feelings within us. We may feel profoundly guilty or anxious about how it will all work.
We may worry about how our priorities have changed, and how this will affect our performance or our ability to be a mom. Or whether we will have the flexibility to care for our babies in the way we want to, whether it’s us doing it or anyone else. Or some of us may feel guilty for feeling excited to get back to work, thinking of it as a break.
The transition of care can raise many conflicting feelings within us. Perhaps we may feel relieved. If we feel anxious or stressed, there are some biological explanations for this: we may feel protective over our babies and feel concerned for what happens when we’re not around and when we don’t have control over the situation.
No matter what the situation is, it’s a transition that could benefit from a lot of self-compassion and forgiveness for whatever you’re feeling.
Here are a few tips that may help:
If you’re able to, try to have open and honest conversations with your employers about how you’re feeling. If you have an HR department, see if they can walk you through all of the ways in which other new parents manage at the company. Resources are there for you to use!
Try to have conversations with other new parents at your workplace or in your community. Many people may be eager to share what worked - and didn’t - for them. While you don’t have to follow the same path, you can get some ideas from what’s already been done.
If you can, remember to be kind to yourself during the transition period. It may feel messy and will most likely not be the best case scenario. If you can, practice some of the compassionate mind exercises to make sure you aren’t adding shame or guilt to the experience, which may contribute to you feeling low.
Try also to keep in mind that your baby is having growing, stimulating, and different experiences. And that the most important part is that he or she is safe and cared for, whether it’s you or anyone else.