Back to work and guilt (Its not what you think…)

Today was my first day back at work.  I took 4 months maternity leave as well as 2 weeks of annual leave before Faith was due.  So all in all I have been away from work for about 17/18 weeks.

The first day was ok, a bit long for someone not used to sitting behind a desk all day.  I came back to a small crisis but that is being handled and I have stayed out of the details of it and am just helping where I can.

Tomorrow is a half day for me (Mondays and Wednesdays and Fridays by default as we finish at 2pm anyway) so that makes it a bit easier to be motivated.

Onto the guilt…

I dont feel guilty about leaving Faith to go back to work.  I know I have to work and I know if I dont do something during the day I will go nuts.  Im glad that I work 3 half days, it definitely makes going back to work easier.

In order to explain my guilt I have to give you a little back story.  As you may or may not know I suffered from PND after having Aaron.  When my 4 months maternity leave was over I could not wait to get back to work.  It wasnt that I didnt love my baby, I did.  It was more about getting away from a place that I was not in control of and going to a place that I was in control of, a place I felt was ‘safe’ I suppose.

*Please note that its only now, almost 3 years later that I can articulate these feelings, at the time I just felt a fantastic sense of relief at being at work and not at home*

My guilt back then wasnt that I was leaving baby at home, it was about the fact that I didnt feel guilty for leaving him.  The fact that I felt I was running away from him to go to work.

This time I am not running away, yes I miss Faith but I know she is happy and well looked after and that its not full day every day.  This time there is no guilt that I am not feeling quilty.

This time the guilt comes from the fact that I am petrified that the difference in how I have handled going back to work after Aaron and after Faith will effect my relationship with them in the future, especially with Aaron.

I know that it wasnt my fault, I know that even though I was depressed it wasnt for lack of love for my son.  But the cold hard truth is that it took me a long time to bond with Aaron, a long time for me to not want to run away to work.  I just hope that as he grows older and more aware he doesn’t feel like I love him less than his sister.  I hope he understands, even if its never said, that it wasnt really him I was running away from.  That it was my own demons.

I hope that even though it wasnt ‘me’ that one day I can forgive myself.

9 Replies to “Back to work and guilt (Its not what you think…)”

  1. I didn’t even have PND but I practically skipped back to work after the twins were born 🙂

    I couldn’t wait to engage with big people again.

    You weren’t reading back then but I wrote lots about how I am not a fan of the newborn stage!

    Congrats on making it through the first couple of months, Gina. And don’t feel guilty for loving work = it makes you a better, happier mom.

  2. I can totally relate to what you say about being happy to go back to work after Aaron was born because that was exactly how I felt after I had my Toddler. I honestly believed that we needed space from one another in order to maintain our relationship. It took a while for us to bond and a lot of effort from my side and I am happy to say that we have a beautiful relationship all of the time except for when he behaves like a brat or has a massive tantrum which is maybe about 10% of the time.

    I think the fact that you are aware of this as an issue speaks volumes of how much you love your boy as well as your desire to make up for the first weeks of his life.
    I also think that he has long forgiven you (that’s even IF he was aware of it – which I somehow I doubt) and that you need to forgive yourself and move on. I think that one of the biggest mistakes we make as Mothers is to live in the past and rehash and over- analyse our mistakes. No good can come of this.
    My advice to you is to reflect upon it (and I can see that you are already doing this) and move on. Leave it in the past where it belongs and focus on your future relationship with your gorgeous boy.
    You are a wonderful Mommy and your kids are soooo lucky to have you. Revel in that. Rejoice in that. Savour that. Enjoy them. Forgive yourself. And live your life.
    ps…every fortnight or so my DH and I each take a kid. I find that this helps a lot in terms of bonding and building individual relationships with them. Maybe this is something you and Paul could try when you are ready.

  3. Don’t feel guilty at all! And I am sure that the bond between you and Aaron will improve over time. I think boys are in any case, much more forgiving than girls!

    1. definitely not as bad as I thought it was going to be 🙂
      I am loving the fact that some of my days are half day :):):)

  4. I really believe that to a large degree with our children its not what you did, but what you do.
    Yes, if they are neglected, abused or not taught manners and morals then what was done will be hugely detrimental. But when it comes to love and attention and affection you can make changes for the better.
    Does that make any sense?

  5. I am not a working mom type of person, so I never felt an urge to head back to work. HOWEVER, I do believe that each mom must do whatever it takes to make her an awesome mom to her kids. That way the kids will feel loved and taken care of, and isn’t that what we strive for? So you did/do what is best for you and by default it is what will be best for your kids cos it makes you an awesome mom to them.

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