Having to Go Back to Work

Before I had my daughter, I knew I would be going back to work after she was born. After all, the bills still have to be paid and I have a $50,000+ degree just sort of sitting around doing nothing. I figured I’d spend my maternity leave looking for new jobs – something full-time with benefits, maybe something related to my degree if I could – and I could quit my part-time job and feel like a real adult.

Then, I gave birth and I bonded with this little person that I created.

I fought against the possibility of a C-section, I fought hard to breastfeed even when it was extremely painful and uncomfortable, and I fought a lot of the advice I was given by other parents when I didn’t necessarily agree with it. I have fought every step of the way to make things work for us and I’m now fighting against the prospect of needing to go back to work. What if I can’t produce enough milk to set aside for her while I’m there? What if my milk dries up completely? What if she starts to prefer someone else over me? What if she forgets me altogether? What if she starts crawling or talking or walking and I miss it because I’m at work? What if something bad happens while I’m not here? What if she needs me?

I knew months ago that this day would come, but back then, I didn’t realize how attached I was going to feel at the end of my maternity leave and now all I want to do is stay here and be a mom. If you had told me six months ago that I’d want to be a stay-at-home parent, I would have laughed at you. It was never in the cards for me back then. Not only did I need my job to help pay the bills, but I would have never dreamed I’d enjoy sitting at home, taking care of a little one every hour of everyday for the rest of my life. That wasn’t me. I respected women who did it, but I never thought it would be an option for me.

And then this beautiful, perfect little person entered my life and all I want to do is be with her all the time. I want to be here when she needs me. I want to be here for all of her “firsts.” I don’t care about my degree or finding a great-paying job anymore. I haven’t since we brought her home. Motherhood is my calling; too bad the rest of the world doesn’t seem to agree. Bills still have to be paid, food still has to be put on the table, and if I don’t go back to work, we don’t make enough money on one income to make ends meet. I’m still learning to accept the fact that I have to leave my daughter in the hands of a friend while I’m away, a friend that I trust implicitly with the well-being of my daughter, but worries are still there. No one can take care of my baby the way I can, and I would say just about every mother feels this way, and I’m still figuring out how to deal with how I’m feeling.

In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the rest of the day with my baby girl because tomorrow, after more than two months, I’ll be back at work where I left off, with just a little more on my mind. Wish me luck.

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