You are about to have your beautiful new baby to bring home in a few weeks and it is time to start thinking about what life will be like after maternity leave. Whether you have three weeks, 12-weeks, or longer if you are a working Mom chances are you will return to work.This can be a scary time if you are to prepare. However, preparation is not heard, it just takes some time and dedication. Here are a few thoughts to get you started.
- Hire a Doula
- Be sure your childcare needs are settled.
- Make a plan for self-care
- Make a plan for back to work.
According to the organization Doula's Of North America (DONA) International site a doula is assigned as:
a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.
The goal is to give the family support before, during, and after childbirth. You can find more information at the DONA website.
Settle your Child Care Needs
Most women know before they leave work to have their children whether or not they will be going back to work. One mistake many Mom's make is to start looking for child care to late in the process. I recommend you have your childcare worked out before the end of your sixth month. After that you will be more tired and uncomfortable. Being able to relax and focus on other things will make the process less stressful. Many struggle with the choice close to work or close to home. I suggest close to work. I suggest this for several reasons: 1. You can see your baby at lunch time or on a long break, 2. If your child gets sick you are close, 3. if here is some sort of unforeseen emergency your are right there. Our quick guide the Process of Selecting a Center can be found here.
Plan for Self-care
You are about to become a mother thinking about how to take care of yourself probably feels counterintuitive. Yet, taking care of yourself becomes even more of a priority. You are now a woman wife, and a mother you need to keep these roles distinct and ensure you are setting a good example for your children. Also, childbirth is painful and exhausting even with numbing medication. Once your child is here you need to rest, and I mean sleep. one tip I often give Mom's is just before you give birth you will feel an excess of energy, (unless you are already exhausted) this energy boost is for childbirth do not waste it on getting the nursery ready or cleaning the house. Conserve this energy for its purpose! You are still going to be very tired but conserving this energy will help your recovery process. Drink lots of water and get on and stay on a healthy diet, especially if you are breastfeeding. While you have relatives in town plan a spa day. You need to treat yourself as a woman not just a Mom right from the start. Make sure you and your significant other also get time away while relatives are in town. You are a couple. Your relationship is the foundation of your family protect it and keep it as precious.
Plan for Back to Work
Make sure you talk to HR about any suggested strategies for getting back in the groove of things. Also ask to see if there are any other women you can talk to about their experiences. Every company, department, and section are different but, it should still give a frame of reference to think about your plan.. Talk to your immediate supervisor about any concerns before you go out on maternity leave and if you can a few days before you return sit down with them and do a catch up/reentry talk. Take notes so you can refer back to your plan when you are about to head back to work. It is natural to have both separation anxiety and stress your first little while back at work. Devise a plan for how you are going to deal with it. What is your go to stress reliever at work? Walking, talking, reading, listening to music, etc. Create a good list and pick a variety of things you can do for five to eight minutes to help you refocus.
I suggest you also talk to your spouse, doula, and other support people about you thoughts of going back to work. Do not keep your anxieties and joys to yourself share them. I hope this helps. Comment below and share your ideas! As always I encourage you to...
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