Going Back to Work after Maternity Leave

Going Back to Work after Maternity Leave

I keep having these realisations…. I. am. a. Mom. ***Looking in the mirror, “Yes, I am a Mom.” When I called the GP to set up an appointment for my son to get his injections at 8 weeks old, the receptionist asked,

“Hi, how may I help you?”
I said, “Uh…Um Hi, I’m good, I have to set up an appointment for my uh baby?”
She said, “I’m sorry, I don’t think I heard you correctly. A baby?”
“Sorry, um I gave birth 8 weeks ago, and he uh has to get injections….”
The words, “my son,” just didn’t feel right coming out of my mouth.
My first day back at work has been a very similar experience. I feel like nothing has changed over these very short six months. Everything is normal and I am going through the motions…. and then BOOM, it hits me, I have a son.
I am exhausted. I feed my son. 9pm. 12am. 2am. 5am. I wake up. 6am. I hussle to the train. I get into work. 7:30am. I tell colleagues I’m happy I’m back at work. I breastpump in the toliet. 12pm. No lunch break.
When an unknown colleague walks past me I feel like I have this deep, dark secret about the very essence of who I am now and they have no idea. I am a Mom.
But my emotional brain is unable to cope with all of the changes, so I shove these feelings into the deepest part of my soul and lock the steel door shut. And I purposely try to forget. I try to forget that I am a Mom.
I pretend to smile. I pretend I am awake. I want to cry. I miss him. I rush out the door. I just make it to the train. Thank god. 4pm. I get off the train.

I’m really good at holding all of these feelings inside. I hide behind “I am great!” and “I’m getting used to being tired ha ha!” and “It’s a nice break from being with a baby all day!” Smile. Smile. Smile. I am fighting to be the person I used to be. But it’s not about me anymore, my son is in charge. I need to accept that I have changed. I glance at the photo on my screen saver….

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 18.22.45
and think…..I. am. a. Mom.
In a very fast-paced walk, I pretty much run to the nursery. I’m so excited. I pick my son up and he smiles. 4:30pm. I get an extra hour and a half after work with my son. I try to convince myself that I am lucky because I get this extra time. I breastfeed my son. 5pm.
Starting a new job is hard. Starting a new job and only having five hours of broken sleep a night is even harder. Starting a new job and only having five hours of broken sleep a night and leaving a person you just created with your own body is the hardest like carrying three dead bodies up Mt. Everest. I finally admit to myself I miss him so much. I realise how important time is. I want to capture every moment with him and put it in a video bubble and carefully place it on my imaginary bookshelf.
I can’t keep my eyes open. Live in the moment Meagan. Be present. My body feels like it’s dragging in the mud. My brain has melted into my ears. I kiss my son on the cheek. My heart and body feel warm. I read him a story. 5pm. I turn on the bath.
Smile. Smile. Through the teethy grin, I remember how short our lives feel. Going back to work has made me realise how every moment I have is important. I realise how I must live each day noticing, observing, and appreciating all of it. Especially the moments with my son. Being a Mom has changed me for the better. My work is important, but my life is more important. My thoughts about my life are more important because the only life we have is the one we create in our minds.
My son smiles at me while he’s in the bath. My heart flutters. I wrap him in a towel. He is safe and warm and still smiling. I breastfeed him. 7pm. I lay him down and say goodnight. He looks up at me with wide eyes. I shush in his ear and say I love you.

(this is Monday night after my first day of work, after I rocked him to sleep, I held him a lot longer that night)

Hudson asleep

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