The Invisible Load of Returning to Work


As I sit down to write this, my heart feels heavy with the weight of emotions that have accompanied my return to work from maternity leave. It's a journey marked not just by logistical challenges, but by a myriad of feelings - guilt, anxiety, and the relentless tug of responsibility mingled with the quiet whispers of necessity.


Transitioning my son into daycare over six weeks was an emotional rollercoaster. Each drop-off felt like a tiny fracture in my heart, leaving behind an ache that lingered throughout the day. My little one, so fiercely attached to me, made it all the more challenging to loosen my grip and let him venture into the care of others. The guilt crept in, whispering doubts about whether I was making the right choice, whether I was doing enough as a mother.

And then there's the constant rhythm of breastfeeding, a bond so intimate it feels like an extension of myself. Even as I navigate my work-from-home setup, the task of expressing milk seamlessly intertwines with my professional responsibilities. Whether I'm taking phone calls, problem-solving, or participating in meetings, I find myself simultaneously connected to a breast pump, ensuring my little one has milk for the next day at daycare. It's a reminder of the sacrifices we make as mothers, the invisible labor that often goes unnoticed and unacknowledged.


But amidst the swirl of emotions, there's a quiet resolve, a flicker of determination fuelled by the dreams we hold dear as a family. I remind myself that this journey is not just about me, but about all of us - working towards a future where we can thrive, where our aspirations are within reach. It's a bittersweet realisation, knowing that every drop of milk expressed, every tear shed, brings us closer to those dreams.


I'm learning to hold space for my emotions, to acknowledge the guilt and the anxiety, but also to embrace the strength that lies within me. I may feel torn at times, pulled in different directions by the demands of motherhood and career, but I find solace in knowing that I am not alone. Countless families navigate this same path, grappling with the invisible load of returning to work from maternity leave.


So, as I take each step forward, I carry with me the love that binds us together, the resilience that propels us forward. And though the road may be fraught with challenges, I find comfort in the knowledge that every sacrifice, every moment of uncertainty, brings us closer to the future we envision.