THE BLOG

An Open Letter to My Friend Returning From Maternity Leave

Tomorrow is the big day. You will go back to work, and have to leave your baby. You are lucky in that you will get to leave her in the arms of a loved one, and not a stranger. It will still be so incredibly hard, though.
04/12/2016 10:27am ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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Dear Friend,

Tomorrow will be one of the hardest days for you. The last three months have completely changed your life. In that time you have brought life into the world and navigated the rocky terrain of caring for a tiny person who is completely dependent on you.

If I had to guess, I would say that you've experienced a few new things while on your maternity leave. The first moment you laid eyes on your newborn, and it felt like you couldn't possibly contain your heart from bursting out of its chest. The first time you watched her sleep, breathing in-and-out, amazed that you helped create this beautiful little person. When you made eye contact with her, and you could just feel that incredible bond that the two of you shared. The first time she made those sweet little baby coos that just melted your heart. I'm sure it was a sound you felt like you could listen to forever.

Along with all these great moments of becoming a mother come the not-so-pleasant moments. The sleepless nights, the 2 a.m. feedings, and the complete and sheer exhaustion that welcomes you into parenthood. The days when she was sick and you realized one of the worst parts of being a parent was not being able to make your child feel better.

Tomorrow is the big day. You will go back to work, and have to leave your baby. You are lucky in that you will get to leave her in the arms of a loved one, and not a stranger. It will still be so incredibly hard, though.

It's a strange feeling to spend nine months growing a human being, spending a few months with them 24/7, and then having to leave them for nine hours a day. Honestly, it's a pretty gut-wrenching feeling, but a reality that so many of us have to face.

You see, motherhood is filled with so many emotions. And tomorrow you will realize that the biggest one of them all is guilt. You may feel like you are making the wrong decision in leaving your baby. That you are somehow neglecting her and not doing your motherly duties by staying home. You might feel overwhelmed with the idea of having to work a full-time job and take care of a newborn.

You will feel like there aren't enough hours in a day or days in a week to possibly get everything done. You might be stressed that your baby isn't getting enough quality time with you, and she will somehow not bond with you the way that she should. You might feel like a rubber band that can't be stretched any more, and like you're ready to break.

I just want to tell you, friend, that all of these things, they are OK to feel. Most importantly, I want you to know that you are not alone. Whether you feel all of these things, or just some, I need you to remember that you are an amazing mama. Don't compare yourself to what other families are doing, or the other moms who are able to stay at home. As mothers, we have a tendency to spend so much time comparing our choices to others', when we should just be enjoying the moments we have and the memories we are making with our own children.

So tomorrow morning will be here quicker than you'd like, and you will wake up feeling sad. And that's OK. You might cry on your way to work, on your lunch break, or in the bathroom --- and that's OK too.

Whatever you do, just remember, you are doing the very best that you can for that little one. She is loved, she is cared for, and she is your number one. No matter what you do in life, if you keep those three things in mind, I promise you, it will be enough.

You are an amazing, loving, wonderful mother. If you can remember one thing every morning when you get up, remember this: You, my friend, you are enough.

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