1. It will be harder than having a baby. I had pre-clamsia which ultimately resulted in a c-section. That was a rough time, but leaving my baby girl for more than 8 hrs a day and returning to work was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do.
2. Don’t start back on a Monday. Apparently it’s better to start back to work on a Wednesday or Thursday. That way the weekend is only a few days a way and you can once again have the entire day with your child. I started back on a Monday and had major separation issues.
3. Pumping is not the same as breastfeeding. It takes you 4-5 weeks to get comfortable breastfeeding, but nobody warned me it would also take several weeks for them to get used to pumping.
4. You have to pre-book the mothers room. Booking the mothers room to pump during your work day is cut throat. There are so many women who are breastfeeding that it’s nearly impossible to book the room during the times you really need it.
5. Initially your job is to get yourself to work and get through the day. Nothing else. Don’t worry about getting up to speed or trying to figure out what happened or didn’t happen while you were out on maternity leave. Your sole job for the first few weeks is to merely show up, physically be there (not mentally) and leave.
6. You’ll cry in front of your co-workers. All you day all day for the first few weeks is think about your baby and how you should be at home taking care of them instead of work and that makes you cry non stop.
7. You’ll scheme on how to win the lottery. You’ll play the lottery the week before you go back in hopes that you will be able to call up your employer and tell them you won’t be returning. Then you’ll begin to play the lottery every week hoping for the same thing.
8. You won’t care if you washed your hair and neither will anyone else. Your hair will go unwashed most of the time. You won’t wear it down anymore. And you won’t care if you put make up on. And I’ll tell you, your co-workers will never know the difference.
9. There is a entire community of mothers at work who can help you through it. You are not the first one to go through this awful transition. Seek out the other mothers in your office and spend some one with them asking how they dealt with the transition. You’ll be both surprised and relieved to hear their stories.
10. It doesn’t get any easier, but it will get better. The first two weeks are the worst and then things will start to normalize. It’s not easy leaving your baby everyday, but you will eventually begin to transition into the knew normal.