Written for Moms Beyond as a Contributing Writer
It’s like déjà vu all over again.
10 years after I returned to work for the first time after mat leave, I’m back again for the first time in what feels like a long time.
You see, last week was my first week back after having been on mat leave with my second child for over a year. (Why so long? Oh that’s a story for another day…) My first mat leave was over 10 years ago, when my first daughter had just turned 9 months old.
The circumstances were different then. I was forced back to work early due to my husband’s layoff, and the fact that the maternity pay was roughly $125 a week at that stage, once my top up had run out.
I remember dropping her off for the first time. There were no transition visits then. Just the initial one where we got to meet the staff and see how we liked the facility. No gradual introduction of my baby into the environment. Just a cold turkey drop off and a lot of tears…not just hers.
I was lucky though. The centre came highly recommended (my cousin worked in an adjacent room with the older kids). The key worker seemed lovely and had oodles of experience. They were incredibly caring, incredibly qualified, and I was incredibly sad.
I will never forget Emily (her key worker) having to literally pry her from my arms that day. Not only was my Girly holding on for dear life, I couldn’t physically bring myself to leave her in the care of anyone else when she had been solely mine all her little life.
She cried all day that day. And the next. And the next. Often crying herself to sleep out of exhaustion. Often crying so much she made herself sick. They’re not supposed to tell you this, obviously. But my cousin checked in a few times, and I told her I’d rather know the truth.
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