Returning to Work After Pregnancy

Returning to Work After Pregnancy

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I am returning to work after pregnancy, been in a long leave and coming back in a few days. Am I ready? Are my kids ready? It is a big change for all of us in the family. Kids had been used to see me when they wake up and when they come home from school or I bring them to their hobbies. What happens now when I return to work after pregnancy?

When is the right time returning to work after pregnancy? Different countries have different maternity leave length. The different situation also affects the decision on when mothers intend to go back to work. Are we moms prepared enough to return to work?

I am in great privilege country to have stayed more than a year off from work and before the maternity leave I needed to be home for a month-long sick leave. Working in the office and having to sit down long plus an hour driving to work became uncomfortable for me during my last stage of pregnancy. I got early constructions and pelvic pains. Reasons for the doctor to give me a month sick leave before my official maternity leave which is by the way in Finland a month before the expected due date. Can you imagine that?

How long moms can stay at home with kids?

Maternity leave in Finland starts a month before the expected due date until the baby turned three months. Following is the parental leave until the baby reaches about nine months. Then it is possible to continue staying at home for the home care leave until the baby reaches the age of three. I have mentioned these details also if you are pregnant expat in Finland and what you should know. I took about five months of home care leave before returning to work.

How do I feel returning back to work after pregnancy?

It is mixed emotions. It is always something I do not think just a day but I decided and planned. Of course, because who will be taking caring of my kids while I am away? My youngest is my fourth child and it is always the same emotions I have every time I think of returning to work from my eldest to my youngest. Emotionally, I thought I am prepared but it is always hard.

I always feel the same guilt. Am I a bad mom to go back to work? Cant I just stay home until they are old enough to go to school? Maybe it is easier to just stay at home and do not return to work. Isn’t it amazing if parents just stay at home and take care of the children by themselves?

Why now? Why not? Some moms go back to work already when the baby turns three months, others after nine months and my choice is now after about 16 months at home. It is not like going abroad and not seeing them for a year or two. I know many in my country work abroad and their kids are left in our home country. That is very hard and I hope all parents can be with their children.

Who takes care of my younger children?

They are in family daycare if that is the direct english translation of perhepäivähoitaja in local language. They are in the house of the caretaker and they are only four children under their care. Both my sons are in the same house, in the same group.

Being an expat mom, we don´t have the luxury to have the kids grandparents to be nearby to watch after them. My mom is in my home country and my inlaw lives far away. Good thing is that the caretaker in here is professional and has the proper education and experience. Before I had my youngest and I return to work, my other son was in the daycare same time with my other daughter. They have almost four years age gap and so they are in different groups. One group is for under three and the others are three to six years old.

However, during the morning time, they are together and they are just one door or wall away from each other.

How did the start of daycare went?

It never is and never was easy. There is always the separation anxiety between parents and children. Though their daycare is just a few meters away from home, it is different than being home with me. On the other hand, when I was a full time at home mom, when I need to go for alone time or if I had to go with some appointment with my daughter like going to the dentist. There was someone who takes care of them at home for a couple of hours. It was also the same, every time mommy is leaving, there is the crying.

It makes me as a mom feels so heartbroken every time I see them cry but that cry is so precious that they want to show me how much they want me. I am their protector, comfort zone, as a mother is their everything. Having separated from me is a big change.

I always pretend I am strong enough to control my emotions and say to them it is okay. They are in safe hands as well. Which is true, they are. By the way, have you noticed that the crying stops whenever we are gone? They cry more and show that they are against the situation but once they do not see us anymore they are fine. They stop crying. I actually few times checked and proven this as true.

We selected a slow start.

Yes, we did! On the first day, we went into the playground with the group and they played together. The next day, we brought them to the day care and they were only there for two hours. The next days are a little longer, still, every day is different. Sometimes, my three years old is the one who cries, sometimes our youngest.

I have been in this situation before. We put our eldest to home daycare also when she was four and they are together with her younger sister. They are both in the same house and the first weeks as the start was difficult. Eventually, they got used to it and they become very happy every time we are bringing them there. Because they know that they will be taken cared of the same as if they are at our own home. Additionally, they have friends to play with them too.

Always to look forward to going home

Being a mother, returning to work after pregnancy is challenging. I don’t have my own schedule anymore when I would like to stay longer at work. When I was working before becoming a mother, I work really late and I work a lot. Now, I have to pick the kids from daycare and always looking forward to going home and hug them.

I know time at home with kids after work is not resting at all. It is not like, we arrived home and lay on the sofa and watch tv. Moms work 24/7, isn’t it? We have to fulfil our role as a mother after we had been working in the office or wherever we are working nine to five. House might be messy, noisy and really busy but motherhood is something I love and forever be happy.

What I am looking forward to returning back to work though?

I might sound funny to some, but being at home with four kids takes a lot of energy. Having two toddlers the same age makes me do things really quick. Like eating in five minutes, I can eat my meal in that short time. I need to make sure they are not climbing anywhere because they do, they are very fast and all I know they are somewhere up. For a one-year-old, a sofa is the best place, mount Everest for him, he is still learning to balance himself going down from there. They need guidance. Climbing is one thing my girls never did so much.

So I am looking forward to actually enjoy eating my meal, warm and no hurry. Another thing is, my workmates. They are workmates who turned to be friends. But most of all, I want to return to work to continue the work I used to do. Being an expat, not all have the priveledges to have good work, a good working place and a good boss. All of those I have, they had been very flexible and understanding during my pregnancy and they are welcoming to my return. I also have the possibility to have home office for a day so I do not have to leave the kids long hours in daycare.

I know my younger kids are in good hands while I am at work. It is difficult in the first month, for them and for me but eventually, it will be better. This is for them too. Daughters are in school and we, their parents need to work to provide for them and their needs. I know this decision of returning to work after pregnancy is something I am happy about but needs adjustment.

If you are working mom who stay at home now, how soon do you plan returning to work after pregnancy? If you are back to work, was it easy for you?

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