I am a working mom and these are my confessions.
My first week back at work was rough. Ha! Understatement of the year. It was beyond rough. I didn’t wear any makeup. Not because I didn’t want to,
but because I couldn’t. Not one day went by that I didn’t cry. That I didn’t feel like a piece of myself was missing. That I didn’t feel guilty for leaving my child with strangers in a strange place in the middle of Hollywood.
Adelaide can be a bit of a diva. But over the last 6 months I’ve learned how to “handle” her. Like her mama, she doesn’t like schedules. She wants to eat when she’s hungry, sleep when she’s tired, and be changed the moment her diaper is soiled. Can you blame her? I would want the same thing. Daycare makes that hard. There are so many other kids they have to care for that Adelaide isn’t getting the one on one attention she needs. They have been trying to force a schedule that she doesn’t want, and so she refuses to eat. She doesn’t sleep as long as she does at home either. And it crushes me!
I’m mad at myself for living in a world where I have to work to survive. But I also feel an enormous amount of guilt for loving my job and be excited about what I do.
For now, I guess I just have to live with the guilt, sadness and feeling of loss. I hear it gets easier. At this point in time, I’m not convinced.
I am a working mom, and these are my week one confessions.
I was in the shower the other night, winding down from my day with the baby. This is my one time each day to relax; to meditate and reflect. And yet I found myself having a panic attack.
I am currently on maternity leave from work. I got my 6 weeks of disability at 50% of my salary after Adelaide was born. Since then, I’ve been on unpaid leave because my employer, like most across the nation, does not offer any form of paid maternity leave to bond with your new child. Knowing this, my husband and I saved up money during my pregnancy so that I could take a full 6 months to be with my baby and nurse her exclusively. But only for 6 months. (In a perfect world, I would wait until she was 1)
So, while in the shower the other night, I thought about going back to work on August 3. About leaving my baby girl with strangers at her daycare. About the feelings of abandonment she will feel not having mommy with her all day. And the bonds she will forge with her new caregivers as a result. Even as I sit here typing this, Adelaide feeding on my breast, I feel the tightening in my throat. The pit in my stomach. The tension in my chest. The start of what will become a panic attack if I allow it to progress to that.
You see, I am overwhelmed with emotion at the thought of returning to work. I love my job. I have one of the best jobs in the world. I work with amazing people. And my bosses are my mentors. I both look forward to and dread my first day back. I am shaking at the thought; both the excitement and the guilt.
I still don’t know how I am going to make it through that day. I know I will. Other mom’s have done it. And when their babies were much younger. I just never thought I would have to deal with the guilt and dread of being a working mama.
In light of the controversy surrounding Elisha Beach Wilson’s photo of herself breastfeeding her child while on the toilet, I thought it was time for a breastfeeding post.
Elisha posted a very real photo last week. Any mother who has breastfed a one or two year old has probably been in the same awkward place Elisha was; taking a shit while you’re baby is screaming because she’s hungry. So, what do you do? Whip out the boob, of course! To a breastfeeding mother, it’s a no brainer. To the rest of the world, it’s “controversial.” Really people?
I breastfed my two older children until they were both around two years old. They weened themselves. I plan to do the same with Adelaide. She’ll let me know when she’s ready to stop. Because this isn’t common practice in the U.S., I get a LOT of flack for it. I could care less. I do find it interesting though that California has the highest rate of breastfeeding mothers, yet when I breastfeed my child in public, I get numerous dirty looks and scowls from people of all walks. Most of my mommy friends have opted to either not breatfeed at all, or gave up after 2 or 4 weeks. Which BLOWS MY MIND! It is THE best gift you will ever be able to give her. So why wouldn’t you?
Some moms tell me they just don’t feel comfortable; that it’s weird. It’s only weird because Americans have sexualized the breast so much that we’ve forgotten what it’s true intention is (hint: it’s not being fondled during four play). Even I have fallen prey to this. I found myself at lunch the other day with a cranky kid who refused to eat while the blanket was on. But I had never breastfed in public without a cover. I couldn’t possibly let top boob and side boob out for the world to see! But Adelaide was not havin it, so…I took a deep breath…and let the blanket fall. It was actually pretty liberating. To know I don’t have to be tied to the damn covers whenever I’m out with the baby.
It’s time we really, truly freed the boobies. Let them serve their true purpose. And eff anyone who stands in their way!
Your beautiful baby is 2 months old. They’re sleeping through the night, eating like a champ, and the cutest thing you’ve ever seen. But you’re still sad, anxious and feel so overwhelmed. Your hormones have taken hold of your body, and they don’t intend to let go….
You’re not alone!
The National Institute of Health reports that one in eight women suffers from postpartum depression. So, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I am very fortunate that I only had the baby blues (goes away after about 2 weeks postpartum), and only with my third child. But I have seen friends suffer through it; breaking my heart for them each time. Every one of them felt the same way: alone. But the reality is that postpartum depression is pretty common, so don’t be ashamed to reach out to friends and family (and especially your doctor) if you notice any of the following:
- Feeling sad or hopeless nearly every day.
- Losing interest in or not getting pleasure from most daily activities, and feeling this way nearly every day.
- Sleep too much or not enough. You may also have trouble sleeping, even when your baby is sleeping.
- Feel restless and not be able to sit still, or you may sit quietly and feel that moving takes great effort. Others can easily see this behavior.
- Feel unusually tired or as if you have no energy.
- Feel unworthy or guilty. You may have low self-esteem and worry that people don’t like you.
- Find it hard to focus, remember things, or make decisions. You may feel anxious or worried about things.
You should call your doctor immediately if you are thinking about harming yourself or someone else. There are antidepressants that can be prescribed. Even for nursing moms! If you’re a little more crunchy, like me, there are things you can do in anticipation to help prevent the onset (which can happen anytime in the first postpartum year).
After my third child, I opted to encapsulate my placenta and take daily doses… Sounds much better than saying I ate it. This helps regulate your body hormonally and thus helps out with those pesky blue thoughts. Make sure you’re eating well and getting enough sleep. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help. Meditate and exercise everyday. Get outside. Go for a walk. Talk to people. And laugh! Laughter can cure just about anything.
Most importantly, never forget, you’re not alone!