After 10 gloriously stressful, happy, sleepless weeks of maternity leave, I reluctantly returned to work on Monday.
I had plans to wake up early and get in a 30 minute workout. That didn’t happen. I had a cuddlebug on my chest so I took an extra 30 minutes to cuddle and snooze.
At 5:30 a.m. I finally rolled out of bed and moved to the rocker to nurse him. A few tears rolled down my face as I watched him eat. I put him down in his crib to snooze for a few minutes while I proceeded to get ready for work. Showering, dressing and doing my hair went by with ease. But, when I started to get him ready for daycare I lost it.
“OMG! My baby is going to be spending the next 10 hours in the arms of a stranger. I can’t do this. What if he refuses to take the bottle? What will we do? OMG,” I thought as I dressed him and put him in his carseat.
I managed to drop him off with the sitter and walked out the door without crying. I left quickly so I wouldn’t lose it. Well, I LOST IT in the car on the ride to work. It was so much harder than I thought.
Once I got to work, everyone and their brother welcomed me back and asked me about the little man. I was fine as long as they didn’t ask how I was doing. I could mask my sadness with a smile by talking about how wonderful it was to be a mommy.
But, alone in the room with my breast pump I began to think about him and began to get sad again. What in the world was I doing? Leaving my baby? How could I do this?
Alas, I made it to 5 p.m. and I hit the door running to get my little man. I was certain that I would get to the sitter only to find him howling with his face cringed and tears forming in his little eyes. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find him sleeping peacefully on her lap. She was sucessfully coerced him into taking a bottle. He ate dutifuly and took nearly 12 ounces on his first full day. I was in total shock. Not that she kept him safe and happy (she has kept children for years and they all LOVE her), but that my baby would actually take a bottle. I was so happy. I could now go back to work and not have to spend most of my day worrying if the phone would ring with her on the line telling me he was miserable.
Today I sit nearly two weeks into my back to work routine and see that the boy has adjusted seamlessly. He loves the sitter and is happy and peaceful when I pick him up each day. I am still struggling to get back to the daily grind successfully. My life as I knew it before has forever changed. I thought my postpartum emotions were under control, but as soon as I started back to this new reality it all went to hell. I still find myself a bawling mess that is easily overwhelmed by emotions. I wish this wasn’t normal.