Going back to work

Maternity leave for me was one of the hardest periods of my life. I loved spending time at home with Harry, getting to know him and learning how to be his mummy. During my maternity leave, I didn't have to worry about trying to get time off for any of Harry's appointments and I should have been the happiest I have ever been, but I wasn't.

Postnatal depression had taken hold. I rarely left the house unless someone forced me. In fact, I rarely even got dressed. Sam would come home from work to find me and Harry in front of the TV with the curtains still shut, still in our PJ's. The house was a mess and so was I. We had no money because let's face it maternity pay is awful. It just was not a good time for us. It had gotten to the point where I felt like I needed to go back to work.

I had already made the decision that I would be returning to work full time. It was an easy decision, we needed the money to pay for childcare and to live. Sam had just started on the path to his career, so I was the main breadwinner for a short time.

My first day back at work was scary. I had always been really good at my job, but after having nine months off I was a little rusty, and so much had changed while I was away, but the biggest thing was something I hadn't even considered. I was leaving Harry with a perfect stranger. For over 40 hours a week, someone else would be looking after my baby boy. I don't think it hit me until I saw my rota for my second week back at work.

I didn't cope very well at the end of my first day back at work. In fact, I pretty much had a complete breakdown, with tears and screaming and all the other horrible things that I'm embarrassed by now, but back then I clearly needed it. I honestly think that was the moment it hit me that I had completely wasted my maternity leave being depressed, it wasn't until around a month before I went back to work that I finally admitted I had a problem, and I still wasn't right. If I'm honest I probably wasn't in the right mind to go back to work, I wonder sometimes even now if I am now, almost three years down the line.

It took me a long time to finally feel better about being away from Harry for so much of the time. It also took me finding a job I love. I hated the job I returned to, which made going every day even harder. It also took us finding a nursery we love. One that we trust all the way. If we hadn't found that perfect mix I honestly don't think I would still be working at all, with Sam having a great job now. I work now because I want to not because I need to, and that really makes all the difference.

I still work full time now. I tried part-time for a little while but to be honest, I found I was bored and frustrated. I love my job and Harry loves his nursery, maybe in a few years when we start thinking about another baby I'll consider cutting down my hours, but for now I'm really in a good place and happy with where my life is going!

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