Returning to Work with a New Baby – Written by Lisa Nerem

As if growing and delivering a tiny human isn’t hard enough, we are expected to return to work entirely too soon while still trying to figure out how to navigate life with a new, completely dependent person attached to you.

After I had my first baby almost 6 years ago, I was sad when I had to take her to daycare, but I guess I just accepted it. This time around, I really struggled. Was it because I knew this would be my last maternity leave ever? Was it the fact that my baby screamed whenever I wasn’t holding her? Or was it my raging hormones following my c-section? Whatever the reason, returning to life with a new baby as a working mom is beyond challenging.

I went back to a job that I enjoy and work for a company that I love. That made my transition to being a working mom of 2 a little less daunting. But remember those raging hormones? I’m 100% certain that I had the baby blues after my c-section. Was I on the verge of postpartum depression? Maybe!

I just wanted to feel the way I felt before I got pregnant. I wanted some sort of normalcy but my brain was like mush. After getting off of work, I wanted more time with my baby. I wanted to spend time with my 5 year old (who was used to getting all of my attention). I wanted a date night with my husband. I felt like I needed to get out of the house yet I didn’t want to go anywhere. I wanted to clean my house (why did we move into a house double the size of our last home at 36 weeks pregnant?!) but no… time with kids was more important. When I was playing with my kids, I was watching the clock waiting for bedtime so I could pick up the house and get things ready for the next day. In all reality, I just ended up sitting on the couch and falling asleep.

Sleep. What is that?! If all that chaos in my brain wasn’t enough-throw in the fact that my baby girl conveniently stopped sleeping well the week I went back to work. Add in that she is a baby who exclusively breastfeeds… on demand. I was exhausted. I felt crazy and honestly considered therapy.

I once read this quote that I related to so well, “we expect women to work as if they don’t have children and to raise children as if they don’t work.”

We are expected to do so much as new mothers. Adding in a full time job is a lot to ask and quite stressful. I am blessed to not have to do it alone. I have a wonderful husband and an amazing support system in town. Despite having all of that, the guilt of not doing enough sinks in day after day. Let’s not forget about the overwhelming pressure to get our pre-baby bodies back. But that’s a post for a different day!

So here I am 9 months postpartum and things are finally getting easier. Or maybe I’ve just gotten used to my new “normal.” I’m still exhausted but my house is clean (for 5-10 minutes before my kids destroy it or we eat dinner). My girls still demand my attention (anyone else sneak around the house trying to remain unseen just to try and get things done?). My baby still doesn’t sleep through the night and nurses on demand. I’ve moved to the guest bed and done the unimaginable – I co-sleep! My alone time consists of pumping after the kids go to bed, trying not to fall asleep and spill the milk! … Guess this is my new normal!

For all of you new mamas, just breathe and know you aren’t alone. For the mamas like me adding in a second child – dang, it’s a lot harder than I thought, but we’ll be ok! For all of you mamas with multiples…God Bless You!

Shout out to all of you working moms! You’re doing your best even if you feel you are at your worst! Your babies will know they are loved and that is what matters!

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