The Emotional See-Saw Of A New Back-To-Work Mother

 Author : Thejaswini B

Well, hi there. I’m Thejaswini. I am a Test Engineer working for Last Mile, and more relevant to the topic, I am a new back to work mother. In fact, I am a new mother on the whole, our son Vihaan, having just turned one year old last week. After the six month maternity leave plus some extra time off given by Last Mile, I have been back at work for exactly 4 months. The scars of returning to work after maternity leave are pretty fresh for me and I’m still struggling with the transition.

When it was time to go back to work, I gave very little thought to it. My baby had loving grandparents to take care of him, there were no worries on that front, so how could returning to work be that hard? But obviously, I had no idea !

Everyone had warned me that it was the first few days which were going to be difficult, so I came back prepared for that. Those first few days were actually exciting – what with the sudden adrenalin rush of getting back to the technical work which I loved! It was nice to get up and get dressed and go somewhere where I could hold conversations with other adults about things not centered around baby food.

But every once in a while, the magic of the change would start wearing off and not even the cup of tea from Chai Point would have enough attraction 😊  From a high of going back to feeling of “pre-baby-Thejaswini”, I would go into a low of being “leaving-my-baby-Thejaswini”. Being at home during the eight month long maternity break, I knew that being a stay- at-home-mother was not for me, it wasn’t enough. I needed the sense of self-worth I get from my profession. The dual pulls of motherhood and career did a daily tug of war in my mind.

Returning to work after maternity leave is a difficult and emotional challenge. And how your company and colleagues support you during this period plays a very important role in whether a returning mother tides over the emotional and physical upheaval and manages to balance motherhood and career or not.

It is critical to have a caregiver for your baby you can trust, and in my case, I have the best – the grandparents ! It is equally crucial to have a work environment which allows you to settle back in gently, which balances the organisation’s need to have you back at work up and running, with your need to be able to take a few deep breaths during the day grappling with many new emotions and inner challenges.

At Last Mile, my colleagues helped me a lot during this emotional period. When my baby fell sick for the first time,  like many new mothers, I was panic stricken. Not only was I allowed to take guilt-free time off, my manager actually shared tips about parenting J.

It is a huge plus when colleagues and managers remember that being a new parent is something a very large percentage of them have gone through or will go through. This understanding helps the new parent as well as the organisation – and what is good for one, is definitely good for the other !