As my due date on baby number 2 approaches my employer seems more and more interested in my postpartum plans. Most of the women I work with seem to transition from mom to employee quite seamless, but it never really went that way for me. Having a working mom myself, I never really thought that I would be a stay at home mom. For some reason I had always thought that my identity would be wound together more with my work and less with my children. And then my daughter Jane came into the world, and simultaneously everything I thought I knew about motherhood changed.
When the time came for me to return from maternity leave, I did what I could to make the transition as easy as possible; I made sure Jane would take a bottle, I found some trustworthy, and loving caretakers, and I packed my pump. Everything was going to be fine, (and if I kept repeating that to myself it would happen, right?!). It didn’t. I cried my whole first day, I had to keep running to the bathroom to get it together and to release some painful breast tension, and I hated every minute of it.
I’m not going to pretend like it never got any better, it obviously did or I wouldn’t still be working almost 3 years later. The thing that didn’t get any better is the guilt that I feel every time I leave Jane. I want to be with her. I want to be a stay at home mom.