Good grief! Maternity leave is over?

In the weeks leading up to my return to work, I found myself experiencing a whole spectrum of emotions.

They felt familiar.

I had experienced them before.

I realised I was working my way through the five stages of grief.

It started with DENIAL. I convinced myself that I wasn’t going back. Ever. Even though I’d have to pay back all of my maternity pay.

We’d be able to afford that. Definitely. Yeah right!

*   *   *

Then the rage manifested. Irrational ANGER.
I felt anger towards Nick: How dare he not earn enough for me to be able to stay at home with my baby! (Ridiculous.)
I felt anger towards society: Why should I have to go back to work? The most natural thing is for me to be at home looking after my baby. How dare society split us up!
Anger at work: Why don’t they pay me a years worth of OMP and SMP?
It was Busby and I against a very unjust world!

*   *   *

The BARGAINING stage struck a few weeks before I was due to go back.
I bargained with myself: Hannah, if you let yourself have this time off as annual leave then you’ll feel more ready.
Then I bargained with my manager: Can I take most of September off as annual leave as I’m not ready to come back yet?
I’m still bargaining with myself: Give it the mandatory three months and then you can see where your freelancing career is at.

*   *   *

The DEPRESSION occurred whenever I thought about coming back and leaving Busby.

Tears. Glumness. Moping.

Trying not to ruin the last few months of maternity leave, but continuously being pulled back into the dark sea of sadness.

*   *   *

I’m now in the ACCEPTANCE stage. I’m here. I’ve done my first week. It went well. I feel appreciated, which is something I haven’t felt in a while. And you know what? After three months I can have a look and see where I am with it all, but for the time being this is where I am, and it’s nice to have money in my bank account again… Not that it’s in there for very long!

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  1. 5th October 2013 / 5:48 am

    It can’t be easy but I’m glad the first week went well. Fingers crossed the freelance work really takes off xx

    • 5th October 2013 / 7:37 am

      It wasn’t at all, but the first week did go well and I’m feeling a bit more positive about it all 🙂

      Thank you for the crossed fingers 😉 xx

  2. 5th October 2013 / 7:30 am

    this whole issue is constantly in the back of my mind. Financially we would be better off if I returned to work and Sam stayed home but I just dont want that! I have planned to take a whole year and then use the 5 weeks of holiday I didnt use this year tacked onto the end. Not sure we can afford for that long though. I’m just not thinking about it!
    Hopefully after three months you’ll either feel better about things, or be able to leave! I wouldn’t have to pay back my mat pay if I didn’t go back, which makes it a little easier, poor you!

    • 5th October 2013 / 7:39 am

      It really is one of those horrid worries the whole way through maternity leave. It’s such a shame that we don’t get a real choice on this and that (in some ways) money comes before our children – it really does make me angry!

      Could you go back part time? I definitely think sending Busby to Nursery is one of the best things we’ve done as it’s so wonderful to see her interact with other children etc. xx

  3. 5th October 2013 / 8:38 am

    I’m so glad your first week went so well.

    Despite the circumstances that surround my becoming a SAHP I realise just how fortunate we have been as a family to make this work.

    • 5th October 2013 / 4:15 pm

      Thank you so much lovely 🙂

      Yes you are very fortunate ;P xxx

  4. 5th October 2013 / 10:11 am

    I hate thinking about going back to the classroom. I am doing all I can to think of something else to earn my pennies. I would love nothing more than to stay at home. Am glad you had a good week back at work. Xxx

    • 5th October 2013 / 4:16 pm

      Oh I know that feeling well – it’s tough though, as nothing quite earns as much as a “real” contracted role… xxx

  5. 5th October 2013 / 2:38 pm

    I’m so glad you had a good first week back – it definitely makes it easier!

    • 5th October 2013 / 4:16 pm

      Thanks Carie 🙂 It definitely does xx

  6. 5th October 2013 / 6:09 pm

    Glad your week back to work went well, it must be really tough. I guess my only advice (not that I have a baby but just generally on tough situations) is to always look at the positives, the extra money, the time spent with colleagues and doing something productive in the day, and also the fact that every evening Busby will be there waiting for you when you get in 🙂

    Lyndsay | Fizzy Peaches

    • 5th October 2013 / 10:00 pm

      I am most definitely looking at the positives 🙂 I’m feeling better now that I’ve completed my first week xx

  7. Anonymous
    5th October 2013 / 9:27 pm

    I understand you not wanting to leave your baby, we’ve all been there but until you’ve experienced real grief then you’ll know it is nothing to compare it too…..

    • 5th October 2013 / 9:59 pm

      Dear Anonymous

      I don’t usually publish anonymous comments on my blog as they are, on the whole, spam. However, I felt that your comment deserved an answer.

      Firstly, I have experienced what you would consider “real” grief. My Father died when I was 12 and I battled with depression for almost 10 years. During that period my depression and grief found me in some very dark and dangerous places. It is not something I wish would upon anyone, and I didn’t mean to offend you, as you seem to be in a dark and sensitive place right now.

      Secondly, this post was in no way a comparison to the horrific feelings of grief. It was merely a discovery I stumbled upon, in psychological terms, when I found myself thinking about how I was feeling in regards to my return to work. The 5 stages of grief are widely known, and are frequently used and compared to other things.

      Lastly, I do hope you’re ok as you seem very down and sensitive. I hope this reply finds you well, and that you see this post in a new light and understand that it is in no way a comparison to the darkness of grief. The feeling doesn’t even begin to touch on that.
      Hannah xxx

  8. 5th October 2013 / 10:05 pm

    I went through the exact same when i went back to work after having Holly. I went back when she was 4months and it was hard. Shes 7 months now and its still hard but getting easier.

    L x

    • 5th October 2013 / 10:07 pm

      Oh gosh you went back early! How did you find it? xx

  9. 6th October 2013 / 5:05 pm

    First going back will always be difficult, but hopefully over time you’ll enjoy it a bit more. Glad your first week wasn’t as bad as you thought it might be #PoCoLo

    • 10th October 2013 / 7:16 pm

      First week went well… but second was definitely more difficult! xx

  10. 6th October 2013 / 7:12 pm

    Glad it wasn’t as bad as you thought, going back is always hard x

    • 10th October 2013 / 7:16 pm

      Thanks love xx

  11. 9th October 2013 / 9:14 am

    I am completely freaking out about having to go back to work. It’s not so much leaving the baby as she won’t remember it’s more about leaving my older boys. I’ve loved being able to do the school run, get to know their friends mums, etc. I’m glad your first week back went well. It’s so hard feeling so torn isn’t it. Hugs x

    • 10th October 2013 / 7:17 pm

      Oh love – it’s so tough! I’ve got to say that my second week was actually harder than the first too… When do you go back? Lots of love xxx

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