On a beautiful September morning, I put on my professional face and ran out the door without saying goodbye to my baby. It was 12 weeks and one day since I had given birth to him and also the date I had to return to work or forfeit my job. I cried for hours the night before and was determined to make it through the morning tear-free. But the second I walked into my office, they rolled down my face.
Returning to work was the most difficult part of my entire childbirth experience. Scarier than when my amniotic fluid became dangerously low, worse than the sleepless nights rocking a crying baby, and more challenging than breastfeeding. But the funny thing is, staying home was never part of my plan. I didn't even like babies and figured going back to the office would be a relief after three months at home with one. Maybe that is why my sadness that September day felt so intense – I was shocked I was even feeling it.
Your feelings about returning to work may surprise you
Like me, you may be sad to be away from home, worried you're missing milestones or other important moments. One of my coworkers surprised herself in another way when she cut her planned 6-month maternity leave short and gleefully returned to her job. As with many emotions related to parenting, it's hard to know how you will feel about it until you experience it.
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