Those weeks following your maternity leave often pass in what feels like a blur. You’re tired, you’re stressed, you’re missing your baby, or even worse, you’re feeling guilty for not missing your baby. The critical thing to remember here is that you are not alone!
Here are a few common thoughts among women returning from maternity leave that we have either had or heard from our friends and colleagues.
‘None of my clothes fit’
No one tells you that the months after pregnancy will still be hard on your body. You’re not pregnant anymore, so most maternity wear is out of the picture yet your pre-pregnancy clothes now seem like they once upon a time belonged to a skinny Minnie. Your body changes with each pregnancy, but you can get back to healthy, beautiful you in time. Until then, go shopping.
When you are up all night with a crying little bubba, it makes it hard to feel like a super-duper champion at work. The opposite is true when late and gruesome meetings force you to miss your baby’s bedtime twice in a row. Unfortunately, those situations are often the reality for many working mothers. The key is recognizing that it all does get a little easier. Your skills will re-sharpen, and the mental haze will dissipate after a few weeks. As your little one grows, the maternal bond will be more than strong enough to survive some missed bedtimes, and you will be strong enough to reassess your boundaries.
‘Everyone else seems so much more put together than I do (and doesn’t have dried stuff up on their blouse)’
Looks can be deceiving. Scrap that, things are never what they look like on the outside. I bet most women feel this way about themselves. Try to remove the pressure of perfection at this delicate time. Be kind and generous with your body right now. And keep some baby wipes handy for all the mess you find on your person as the day goes on. Try to institute small self-care regimens throughout the day, such as short meditation, or yoga practices.
‘There just aren’t enough hours in the day’
Prepare as much as possible the day & evening before. Preparation is key to feeling like you have your ducks in a row. Make some meals in advance for freezing, consider outsourcing grocery shopping through ordering from a local delivery service. Delegate more to your nanny (if you have one) or to your partner. Despite the early hour, before leaving try to enjoy the one-on-one time with your baby. Cherish a grown-up moment with a fragrant espresso and catch up on the news. Giving yourself that little extra time avoids the morning mania and allows you to set positive intentions for the day.