End of Maternity Leave Anxiety


My one year maternity leave is coming to an end and I am headed back to work next week. I am getting anxious and nervous. It’s not because I don’t want to go back. I love my job and I am excited about being able to interact with adults again. I am suffering from separation anxiety and wonder how it’ll affect my relationship with my daughter.

The person I was before I gave birth and the person I am today have two completely different personalities – I have changed. I was very career-focused before heading on maternity leave and said to my boss ‘don’t you worry I’ll be back in just 3 months.’ I had no idea that my journey through motherhood would leave me begging for more time spent with my daughter. I wasn’t very maternal but since giving birth, I have a new-found appreciation for mothers and babies. To say that I’m no longer career driven isn’t quite right, however, I will say that I’m more settled… happy… content.

Unfortunately due to illness, both our parents won’t be able to look after our daughter so Madeleine will be in childcare whilst I’m at work. I would’ve liked for them to look after her for a day but childcare has its perks too (you can read my post about childcare here).

I never thought I’d have such a difficult time heading back to work.  The first day I went in for a casual once off shift, I kept pacing back and forth and my husband ended up kicking me out of the house so I wouldn’t be late. I was breastfeeding at the time and my main concern was whether she’d take the bottle. My concern now is whether or not she’ll eat at childcare and if she’ll understand where I’m headed after I drop her off. My biggest fear is her thinking I’ve just left her and won’t come back and whether this leaves lasting scars on her emotions.

I know it’ll get easier with time. A close friend once said to me: “you’ll always feel guilty if you don’t spend every waking minute with them.” On the other hand time spent away from her makes me appreciate the time I do have with her even more.

My emotions are all over the place at the moment. I’m not quite sure how to handle them. It’s new to me and confuses me. For all the working mums out there, how did you cope with heading back to work after maternity leave?

14 thoughts on “End of Maternity Leave Anxiety

  1. Carol, you’ll get through it, and know that you’ll be back home.. You’re not leaving because you’re out partying but instead because you’re doing your part to provide a great life for your little one xx Hugs!

    1. Thank you Christy! I know right?! The other day I joined a Facebook group and another mother made me feel so bad for putting her in childcare because I’m living the high life a.k.a going to work! Haha, if only we could afford for me to stay at home!

      I’m sure it’ll be fine, I’m just nervous! Thanks for the support and kind words xx 😊

  2. You’re daughter will be fine so long as you’re fine with the chosen daycare. I have two older children who survived daycare and my younger guy who I pulled out of daycare at 2 due to my retirement from the Air Force. A year later I decided he needed more consistent social interactions with children so he’s been attending pre-school. Anyways, my kiddos were loved very much by their care takers. Best of luck!

    1. It’s hard to find the right one. And it took me a while, to have people I didn’t really know, looking after her. I guess it’s just your gut feeling. So far it’s been good, drop offs are hard, as she’s still crying 🙁 but I always try to think about the social interaction that she’d miss out on if it was just her and I at home! Thank you xx

      1. Yes I definately agree! Everyday is so different! Hope your having a fabulous weekend xx

  3. Oh my lovely, it’s so easy for others to judge like the lass on Fb and she is obviously working out her own issues. Children thrive on love and you will both soon adapt to the new routine. It’s an easing for her into pre-school and then school proper. They soon learn to share and it sparks their imaginations to make up games together as they all spend time together. Wrapping you both in love. xXx

    1. Hi Jane! You are so lovely! Yes that Facebook message went viral, with more than a 1000 messages within 1 hour! It wasn’t a very nice thing to say. We are still working it out and she is getting better! I miss her so much, I need to toughen up haha 😅 have a lovely weekend Jane! Xx

  4. I’m going back to work in just over a month and I’m starting to feel super anxious too. Like you, I loved my job (and I’m looking forward to going back) but I am so sad about missing all the intimate moments with my little one. On the other hand, there are some days that I feel like I am going out of my mind with boredom and he gets bored with me too – so I figure that nursery will be the best kind of entertainment for him (or at least I tell myself that to try an assuage the guilt).

    1. Hi there! Thanks for dropping by! Today was my first day back at work. It is nerve racking but because she has been in childcare for about 2 months now, I knew that she was okay. It was more me, I missed her so much today. I kept looking at the time, wondering what she was doing. I do love my job but I love my time with her alot more. It’s about balance I think. Today was a reality check for us and we will be making some life changes so I can work but also have more time to spend with her too (Part time hours)! The nursery has definately been great for her, she is learning so many new things. But she is sick alot! Which is quite common for the first 6 months. It’ll be okay, good luck! Xx ☺

      1. Well done! Good luck for getting the work balance sorted – it’s a great idea if it works out. I’ve heard they get sick. Not looking forward to that 😱 Kate x

  5. This post is so right. I go back to work at the end of September. This was my third child but it never gets easier. I love it when they’re old enough that when you go to pick them up and they spot you and come running over to give you a big squeeze and they have the biggest smile on their face. xxx

    1. It is so nerve racking leaving them! It’s hard and I don’t think it’ll get easier with subsequent babies. But Madeleine settled in very well and now she crawls up to me giggling! It’s the sweetest thing at the end of a tiring day of work! Xx 😊

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