By Bethany Pitman
As a leader for women’s ministry or family life, you will likely have an opportunity to minister to new mothers at some point. Some of those moms will face a new challenge when their maternity leave ends: returning to the workplace after having a baby can be daunting. The mental, emotional, and physical toll of having a baby and returning to work can be intense; the first weeks and months back at work can feel overwhelming. Below are tips from many women who have made the transition back to the workplace after having a baby.
- Take a breath and acknowledge you are not the same woman who walked out of the building weeks ago. Every part of you has changed!
- Remember that God handpicked YOU to be the mother of your baby. He entrusted YOU with the job of raising one of his very best creations. That means that you are already uniquely equipped to be your baby’s mother.
- Carve out some time each morning to begin your day with inviting Jesus into your workday and into your family’s day. Just five minutes in prayer with Jesus can set the tone for your day. Coming off maternity leave is a major life transition, and Jesus wants to walk the road with you!
- Know that it is okay if a trusted caretaker does things a little differently than you do! They will have their own rhythm, tips, and tricks . . . and that’s okay! No one will parent exactly how you do, and your child will benefit from different people’s strengths.
- Find a woman or group of women who know what you are going through and lean into them as a support system.
- Given hormones, lack of sleep, and the millions of new details you now must think through, your mental capacity will be different for a while, and that’s okay for now. Your job is NOT to catch up on 6–12 weeks of work in two weeks’ time!
- Your ideal plan might not work. Those first weeks back require flexibility as you learn your new normal and your baby learns his or hers.
- It is okay to miss your baby while also feeling excited that you are getting “a piece of yourself” back.
- Most women struggle with thinking about their baby while they are at work and their work while they are with their baby. No woman has figured out the perfect balance despite wanting the world to believe she has. This is normal!
- Please don’t allow yourself or anyone else to make you feel guilty about being a working mom. Each woman is uniquely created to need different things and outlets to be her best self and the best mother to her children. When you feel fulfilled, it is easier to pour back into your family.
Editor’s note: CTA’s Parents Pray with Hope is a book geared toward parents of all ages and is filled with practical thoughts, reflections, and prayers.