Returning to work after giving birth is very hard for any mom. But, if you have postpartum anxiety returning to work gets extra complicated. In some cases, it can feel almost unbearable.
Let’s Be Honest, Bringing Home Your Baby Was a Major Life Change
In fact, you’re likely still adjusting to it. You may have noticed that your anxiety levels have increased since giving birth. Now, you feel worried all the time. So, the thought of going back to work fills you with dread. After all, every time you leave your baby in someone else’s care, it feels like you’re leaving a part of your heart behind.
Others may have told you that going back to work will be good for you. Or, they may have claimed that putting your baby in daycare is vital for their social development. This may be true. But, it doesn’t lessen the knot in your stomach every time you think about the end of your maternity leave. Now, you find yourself counting down the weeks, days, and even hours until you have to leave your baby. All while worrying about what will happen when that moment comes.
Mama, I know you may feel like you’re all alone in these struggles right now.
Please know that postpartum anxiety and struggling to return to work after maternity leave is very common. In fact, 1 in 5 women is diagnosed with a postpartum anxiety disorder. Every woman is different. But, many struggle to cope with the emotions that come with these big life transitions.
You may feel unsure if you’re a worried mom or dealing with postpartum anxiety. If so, I encourage you to consider these signs and symptoms of a postpartum anxiety disorder:
- An impending sense of dread or danger
- Racing thoughts or feeling like you “can’t turn your brain off”
- Excessive worry about your baby’s health, safety, or development
- Being unable to sleep when your baby sleeps
- Experiencing frightening thoughts
- Overwhelming worry about being a good mom/parent
- Feeling jittery or agitated
- Inability to focus due to worry
- Loss of appetite
- Physical symptoms: racing heart, tightness in the chest, trouble breathing, etc.
If you’ve never dealt with anxiety before, these symptoms may be scary and confusing. And, even if you have dealt with anxiety, the onset of new or unfamiliar symptoms may be very worrying. That’s why it’s vital to work with an anxiety therapist and your medical provider. Together, you can create a treatment plan that works for you.
Anxiety Treatment in Orange County, CA Can Help
I know it may be scary to reach out for support and admit that you need help. But, let me assure you that you will feel better once you do. No one expects you to be Superwoman or the perfect mom that always has things together. Truth be told, every parent struggles from time to time.
After you’ve reached out for anxiety treatment, there are some things you can do to lessen the stress of returning to work. Let me share those things with you now.
Schedule a Test Run… Or Three
It’s best for you and your child if your first day back at work is not their first day of childcare. So plan some time before you return to work to take them to daycare for a few hours. The first couple of times may be rough. But, the more you do it the more comfortable you will feel about returning to work.
Give Yourself Grace
Try to remember that no one expects you to be cool as a cucumber on your first day back. Most new Mamas are sad and anxious when they return to work, it’s normal. So, don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re checking your phone for baby updates or looking at pictures of your newborn.
Take it Slow
If possible, try to take it slow when you come back to work. Let yourself get reacclimated to being in the office (even it’s your home office). When you’re anxious it can be hard to concentrate and focus. So, it may be best to avoid big presentations or take on huge work tasks for the first week or so.
That said, I know not everyone can avoid taking lots on when they return to work. If this sounds like your situation, I encourage you to think of other things you can take off your plate. Especially when you are at home. Communicate these things with your support system and partner. For example, you may ask them to wash the bottles or pump parts so you can spend time with your little one when you get home.
Set Boundaries at Work and Home
Boundaries are important, but they are especially important for working parents. The purpose of setting boundaries is to communicate to others what your limits are. By doing so, you can get a better idea of what you need from them.
When you return to work you may need to address boundaries with your supervisor and co-workers. For example, it may be necessary to discuss your new schedule or availability with your team. For example, you may have been in the office more than eight hours a day. Or, you were available for after-work phone calls. Now, you may have to tell them that this no longer works for you and your family.
Likewise, you may need to set boundaries with your loved ones at home. Especially if they’ve been used to a rather free schedule during your maternity leave. So, communicate with them. Tell them what you need from them to be successful during this tough transition.
Schedule Time for Self-Care
When you go back to work, it’s hard to make time for self-care. You work your job and as soon as you leave you’re thrust into the parent role. You want to spend all your time with your baby/kids because you missed them so much. Believe me, I get it. But, you need to take some time for yourself as well. If you don’t you will soon become burnt out and overwhelmed.
So, schedule a hair appointment, go for a walk, meet a friend for coffee, or do something that brings you joy. This will help you regain a sense of self that can be so easily lost when you have a new baby.
If you’re struggling with postpartum anxiety, know that you do not have to deal with these intense emotions alone. Support is available. Working with an anxiety therapist can help you learn to cope with your anxiety. Together, you can improve your quality of life which has direct impacts on your child. If you live in the state of California, I would be happy to help you. I can help you learn to navigate this new normal and work through your postpartum anxiety. I offer online therapy with convenient scheduling for moms dealing with postpartum mood disorders, anxiety, stress, and more.
Begin Anxiety Treatment in Orange County, CA
You don’t have to struggle with postpartum anxiety alone. Our team has worked with many moms to overcome their concerns with returning to work. We offer support for you and your newborn from our Orange County, CA-based therapy practice. To start your therapy journey, please follow these simple steps:
- Contact Moxie Family Therapy
- Meet with a caring therapist
- Start overcoming anxiety and cherish your newborn!
Other Services Offered at Moxie Family Therapy
Anxiety therapy isn’t the only service we provide at our Orange County, CA-based practice. Our team offers counseling for young adults, children, women, teens, and couples. We also offer therapy for therapists, clinical supervision, adoption therapy, art therapy, and play therapy. Our team is also happy to support the LGBTQ+ community. Contact us today and learn how we can help you reclaim your moxie.