“The what-if’s and the should-have’s will eat your brain”– John O’Callaghan
Returning to work after having a baby is hard and poses so many questions. Will my baby know me? Will he feel abandoned? Will I feel guilty? Will I be able to leave him? Am I going to feel empty- handed or hearted without him? Am I making a mistake? This time is so precious and he is my last baby. Will I recover from this decision?
I will be going back in about a month and even the thought of returning is overwhelming and fills me with fear. I was able to stay home for the most perfect year with Emily and I was able to be the mom I wanted to be. I was there for all the firsts in the first year. I bonded with her as I breastfed exclusively and talked with my baby girl as if she was my only friend. We laughed and played and our mornings weren’t rushed and full of frustration. I was crafty and creative. I took so many photos. My daughter was happy and I thrived on that joy. I had time to exercise and meal prep; we ate better. As a working mom, I am scrambling to just get something on the table.
However, money was tight and I couldn’t always keep busy. During a deployment, I definitely want to stay busy! I already miss my coworkers and I love the work that I do. I also want to be able to shop! I enjoy some good retail therapy and I don’t like feeling guilty for spending money I didn’t earn myself.
I keep telling myself that I am going back, but will it be that easy? Will I be able to walk out the door and trust that the strangers at the daycare center will be able to meet his needs? He is my last baby. How will I cope? Will I spend the first weeks back sobbing in the lactation room? Will I envy every mother who is staying home with her babies?
I am struggling to answer these questions and I know that many of them stem from anxiety. Anxiety that is steadily increasing with each passing day. And I know I need to remain mindful. I want to be present with my son during the precious time that we have left. If I am reading a story or singing him a song, I will do only that. I will try to stop my mind from wandering. Of course, this is easier said than done. As moms, we can only hope we are making the best decisions for our families.