A Train Ride Out of Maternity Leave
And on the 107th day, she had to leave her newborn at home with someone else.
I really didn’t think it would be this hard to return to work, especially since I prayed for almost a year and went to great lengths to find the perfect nanny – someone that would make the transition seamless. But it’s not seamless. Not for me.
I assume Ava Luna has no idea what’s going on. All she knows is that this hilarious, beautiful woman who has been to her house a few times, is now sitting on her couch watching Baby First TV with her while mama runs around the apartment in weird clothes and pulled back hair. It’s a shift from the usual pajamas and frizz mama sports on a daily, and this new person isn’t who she’s used to, but hey, at least she has a clean diaper and a tummy full of milk.
But me? I’m hyper-aware. Of everything.
The soreness of my heart, the pain in my stomach from anxiety taking up way too much space in my body, the sound of Ava’s laugh as her nanny tickles her, the clock ticking away – it’s way of telling me to stop stalling and get out the door...it’s exhausting. It’s exhausting to feel so much, especially at a time when I should be focused on what meetings I have today, and everything I missed during the last four months. But how can I when I’ve spent the last 107 days caring for someone I grew from my body? How can I focus on something I don’t care about anymore?
There are an immeasurable amount of feelings coursing through my body, and when that happens, I (sadly) resort to anger. So here I am. Angry as fuck that no one told me it would be THIS hard to end my maternity leave. Angry as fuck that I spent hours with with social workers, clinicians, and nurses in the labor ward, talking about the effects of postpartum depression, but not one of them told me about the effects of separation anxiety. Angry as fuck that not ONE of the zillion YouTube videos I watched about the postpartum period talked about how this is the worst feeling ever.
(I know I have a postpartum video pending as part of my birth experience video series, but I’ve been dealing with...well...all of this. It’ll be out soon, with a fresh perspective on postpartum mental health.)
I’m writing this on the train on my way to work in an effort to stall the tears that are already in my aching head’s reservoir, so I’m going to wrap this up as I’m a few stops away. But I want to end this with THIS FUCKING SUCKS, but I’m not the first or the last mother to return to work after maternity leave. I’m going to be strong. For me and for every single mom who can’t afford to stay home with their newborns.
We got this. I got this.