It's working for Julia Gaylord
"[My husband] knows how hard it has been for me emotionally to be away from her and reminds me of what she is gaining in her experience with our Nanny and what I might be gaining in returning to work."
Do things for yourself that you won’t have time to do once the baby comes along! It is not just that I don’t have time now, but the time I do have (when I am not working), I want to spend with Lily. I don’t want to take the time to get my haircut, or get a much needed massage. I want to soak up every second with her.
I officially shared the news when I was about 18 weeks pregnant. I had told a few of my co-workers who I am personally close to, two of which are in supervisory roles for me, a bit earlier (closer to 16 weeks). I asked for a meeting with our Head of School, and told him I was expecting.
Lily was born June 2nd, and as a teacher, that lined up with a few weeks ahead of when I would be off for the summer. I actually started my leave on May 26th because I would lose any leave I did not take before my contract ended at the end of June. So technically, I took 6 weeks of leave, though I was away from work for longer than that. The 6 weeks brought me up to the end of June, and then I was on summer break that I was entitled to regardless of maternity leave. So I was home with Lily for 11 weeks. I returned to work the day before she was 12 weeks old. My back to work plan and reality were closely matched on paper. However, I had significant second thoughts before returning to work. I almost did not return, but ended up doing it when my husband and I realized that financially we did not have much of a choice.
Taking time off before Lily was born was a challenge. I was really torn about leaving work before I absolutely had to. But it allowed me to take care of myself ahead of Lily’s birth, and I am so happy I did that.
I think my husband has been my biggest source of support in returning to work. He is very empathetic to how hard it is emotionally and logistically for me. He knows the hours I spend pumping, and thanks me for what I am doing for our daughter. He also knows how hard it has been for me emotionally to be away from her and reminds me of what she is gaining in her experience with our Nanny and what I might be gaining in returning to work. I have also found tremendous support from my sister. She is also a mother and works part-time. She has been able to help me navigate the emotional waters and has been a sympathetic ear when I get frustrated. Finally, a co-worker who has been returning to work after a baby at the same time as I have has been a huge support. We are experiencing much of the same things at the same time, at the same workplace. She is a second-time mom so has been able to also help me as I figure this all out!
I never expected saying goodbye each morning would be so hard and working on so little sleep would be so much easier!