Here’s the thing about maternity leave – it ends.
Today is my first day back to work, after more than four months of leave after giving birth to my firstborn daughter Lia. Last night, I prepared my breast pump accessories, unearthed my non-maternity clothes, and the documents I need to submit to HR in exchange for the 115-day maternity leave I cherish the most. More importantly, I prepare myself for a major sepanx with Lia.
Throughout my leave, there was only a day (yes, just one) that I had to leave Lia with a caretaker (who was my Ate, never a yaya) for hours. I had to attend the wedding of one of my best friends in Cavite and back. When I arrived home after being 10 hours out, my breasts were engorged and in pain. They wanted Lia.
Now, I know that going back to work will be tough. Here are the few things I did that helped me:
1. Plan your day ahead.
To help me stay sane with this transition, I planned out my day in the office. I will just be there for a couple of hours, so I will make every minute count.
- Show up in the office
- Submit documents to HR
- Experience pumping milk
- Check some emails (pretend to work lol)
- Go home after at least an hour in the office 😛
I will just continue working from home, since my work laptop is also in Cebu (excuses!).
2. Prepare everything before you go.
So earlier, I woke up at 5AM with an engorged right breast since Lia didn’t want to feed last night. I put her to bed at 11PM after singing to her a Christmas song while carrying her in my arms. I thought to myself, LUH, she grew up! I looked at us in the mirror, and my 34-weeker preemie baby is gone. She’s replaced with a big girl, who loves to cling to her Naynay in her very specific way. I love her so much.
Anyway, so I put on a Haakaa on my engorged boob and went back to sleep since Lia was still down. At around 6AM, I woke up, and saw Lia moving out of her swaddle. She woke up crying, so I changed her diaper and then fed her. She was hungry and she consumed all the milk from my then engorged right boob. She gulped and gulped, then gave a sweet sleepy smile. She finally dozed off.
I got up, with no more excuse not to, and prepared to go. My clothes from before pregnancy still fit! The thing I forgot about was my shoes. I used to wear those non-slip preggo shoes to work and I don’t want to wear them anymore. I also prepped Kevin’s clothes for work, and realized he’s got no more clothes left. We are trying to be minimalist in our clothing, so Kevin only has a few black and gray shirts for work. I just found out that all of them are still in the hamper! Okay, maybe I will just stay home. Not!
3. Just GO.
I thawed a frozen milk bag for Lia, and finally had to go. As I was about to leave my husband and daughter for work for the first time in four months, I had to take their photo, and silently step out. That’s when Kevin’s alarm rang. I was worried that Lia would wake up, and I will not go to work because I will just choose to take care of her, but she didn’t. She just moved a bit, then went back to sleep. I didn’t kiss them. God I already miss them so much.
So I finally left our home, went out of our building and greeted Kuya guard a good morning, just like how I used to, before Lia. I went up the overpass and down, and saw my ride coming. I rode the e-jeep, and reminisced that I used to sit down at the priority area. I found a seat, and I knew I had to write everything down about this day.
I only have Lia in my mind and my heart. It’s just 7AM. God knows how badly I want to go home.
Can you still recall how you felt the first time you left your little one to return to work? Share it below, Nanay. I feel you.