Getting Back To Work After Birth
Childbirth is exciting but it is also hard on a mother’s body and takes time to recover from. You have major sleep deprivation that you have to function on, major changes in your household dynamics, internal struggles over your new life, along with serious concerns ranging from the care of your baby to re-entering the workforce following a long absence.
As shared by Modernmom below; most OBGYNs recommend a new mother wait at least six weeks before returning to regular activity, including returning to work. There are several things to consider when deciding to return to work after the birth of a baby, including a mother’s recovery after childbirth, how well established the breastfeeding relationship is and whether the mother wants more time to bond with her new baby. Financial concerns are always an issue if a workplace does not provide paid maternity leave.
How Long Does It Take to Recover after Childbirth?
The first few days after childbirth can be painful for a new mother, especially if she has had an episiotomy or any tearing. Exhaustion, from sleep deprivation and restoring energy that was lost during labour and delivery, is common during the first few weeks after childbirth. Overdoing it after giving birth can cause excessive bleeding or infection in a new mother and in some cases put her back in the hospital. It is very important to follow doctors’ recommendations and use the first few weeks after childbirth to recover and bond with your new baby. Most doctors approve new mothers to return to normal activity after six weeks.
Returning to Work Too Early
Returning to work too early after childbirth can cause extreme exhaustion in a new mother as well as increase the risk for postpartum depression. New mothers need time to bond with their new babies. Returning to work too early can cause problems with immediate bonding and establishing a breastfeeding relationship. Many women who return to work quickly choose to formula feed their babies because the breastfeeding relationship was never firmly established.
When Should a New Mom Return to Work?
Most obstetricians recommend a new mom wait at least six weeks after giving birth to return to work, but many advise waiting 12 weeks. Most postpartum bleeding will have ended six weeks after delivery, and tearing or stitches should have healed by that point. Many new moms find it much easier to return to work after their bodies have healed from childbirth since using the restroom without a peri bottle before that point can be painful.
Options for Returning to Work
Many employers will allow a new mother to return to work part-time for the first few months as she makes the adjustment to life as a working mother. This can allow a new mother to work fewer hours during the first few months of her baby’s life when she is likely getting very little sleep. Some employers may allow a part-time work-at-home option for mothers with a newborn at home. If this is not a standard policy in your workplace, do not be afraid to ask if it would be a possibility.
Affording Maternity Leave
Financial concerns play a large role in determining when a new mother returns to work after childbirth. Many expectant mothers worry about how they are going to afford to take a maternity leave. Some employees offer paid maternity leave but they are harder and harder to find. Women who have been with their companies for a long time may have built up vacation and sick days that they can use during their maternity leaves. The Family and Medical Leave guarantees a woman at least 12 weeks of unpaid leave without risk of losing her job.
The following are some tips from working-mother:
1. Your worldview (including how you see both life and work) has forever changed. It is going to take you some time to get used to it.
2. You will be amazed by just how efficient you are now after you return to work. When you are at work, you will be busting it just so you can get home to see your child. When you are home, you will be cherishing every moment (well, most of them) that you are able to spend with your baby. Your priorities will start taking shape, and you will be shaped by them.
3. It may be tempting to try "doing it all" - at the same time. Losing that extra baby weight, absolutely killing it at your job, making delicious homemade meals each night, keeping your house spotless. However, it is impossible to achieve absolute perfection in every aspect of your life, and especially when you have a newborn. So don't put so much pressure on yourself and have such unrealistic expectations. The life of a mother is a marathon, and you are just getting started.
4. Are you concerned that your baby is going to miss you when you are at work? She will be fine. Babies don't have a sense of time developed yet, so, therefore, they won't realize you have been gone from home for ten hours. They also aren't forming any memories. So really the only person who will notice you are gone is you.
5. You start to care about certain things that in the past you wouldn't have considered. Like coffee being an essential human need, instead of something that is nice to enjoy. Or having to absolutely leave work no later than 4:00 p.m. to get to daycare in time to pick up your child. There will need to be a major overhaul done to your priorities.
6. It takes much more planning (and at times, a lot more worrying) to travel for work. Although your breastfeeding routine might be impacted, being gone for a couple of days on a business trip won't harm the bond you and your little one have. You will still be the number one mom when you return.
7. Consider a new Job in a new location. This could make things a lot easier and allow you to live a more flexible life and cut the commute down. Get a CV ready suggest and get looking for something new and more suited.
8. Life is difficult for everybody, including working moms. When life invariably throws hurdles at you, like a baby having digestive issues, getting into a car accident, or your spouse getting a promotion at work (which involves spending more time at work), you will get through these challenges. As Kristi Blust from Working Mom Against Guilt says, "In life and in parenthood, there are no guarantees for either fortune or fairness. You just have to put your brave face on, and keep going."
9. Guilt. Most likely you will be feeling guilty at least a few times as you go back to work as a mom. However, the bottom is, you don't have to feel guilty for going back to work. Why? Because it is helping to support your family, providing you with your own identity, giving you space and time away from your children, doing what is best for your family and you, and providing your kids with a positive role model.
10. Develop a support system for your family and you and then nurture it. A village really is needed to raise children, and the more trustworthy help you have to rely on, the better off both your baby and you will be.
11. Daycare doesn't need to be a dirty word. There are many thoughtless individuals who say things such as, "why have a baby if you are going to have somebody else raising him? It isn't a sin to put your child in daycare so that you can return to work. So get rid of the despair and shame you are feeling.
12. Give yourself snuggle time after getting home from work. The laundry and dishes can wait (or get help for these household chores). You deserve time to hold your baby, enjoy her giggles and sweet baby scent, and to simply be a mother. Sometimes, having one hour with your baby at the end of a very long day can remind you how all of your tears, worries, patience and hard work are definitely worth it.
13. Have some patience with yourself - both at work and at home. It will take you some time to get adjusted to your new life, and you can't expect that you will be able to nail everything right away. Always remember motherhood is not just a process, it is a life-long occupation.