As some of you may know, I work as a full time, staff, sign language interpreter.
When I found out I was pregnant, I had an arrangement with my boss, that I would be off work for two months after Kaden was born, and then come back part time with the intent of going back to full time after a couple of weeks to ease back in. The goal was for me to return to full time by, or around September 1st because school would be back in session by then, and our agency would be busy again. (We tend to slow down around Thanksgiving and Christmas, and again in the summer when educational interpreters flood the community for work.)
Since Kaden arrived so early, our plan was pretty much thrown out of the window.
Since I had an emergency c-section, I was off work for the rest of April (which was really only for three weeks). I thought going back to work while Kaden was in the NICU would be good for me, so for the month of May I worked about 24 hours.
It was bittersweet, because on the one hand, I was able to preoccupy my mind for a short time and not dwell on my son being stuck in the hospital. On the other hand, it took me away from him.
Kaden was discharged on Tuesday, May 29th, and I was officially back on maternity leave.
We decided to stick with our original plan of me coming back to work part time for the second half of August, and full time on September 1st.
My first day back was Friday, August 17th, and it was such a weird feeling.
Backing up a little bit.
My husband and I don’t live close to his family, and we don’t have any good friends in the area that stay home and would be able to watch Kaden for us. We were left with no other option than to go with a daycare, because we cant afford me to be a stay at home mom, as much as I would love that.
We checked out a few daycares and found one that cost a little more, but they use an app that allows us to check in on Kaden throughout the day. They log when they feed him, change him, and when he naps (and apparently they post pictures also, but they haven’t posted one yet).
Kaden has gone to daycare twice now, and I am not a fan.
It’s not that I don’t like the place he goes to (though I hate spending so much money on childcare) it’s that I am leaving him with strangers.
They don’t know what cry means what. They don’t know how to bounce him just right to soothe him. They don’t know what temperature he likes his bottle. They don’t know how to hold him upright and let him bounce on their legs. At least, not yet, and it bothers me that they will learn these things.
It bothers me that strangers will come to know my son just as well as, if not better than me.
It bothers me that he could laugh for the first time, and a stranger will be the one to hear it.
It bothers me that he may roll over for the first time in daycare.
It bothers me that his first words may be spoken, and a stranger’s ears may be the first to hear them.
It bothers me that a stranger’s arms may be the first to catch him after his first steps.
It bothers me.
I know that I have to go back to work to support my household and to do what is best for my family, but I don’t want to miss out on a single moment of Kaden’s life. He’s with strangers for such a long period of time during the day, and it doesn’t set well with me that he may do all of his firsts with them and not with me.
I already feel like I missed so much, like I was robbed of so much.
I didn’t get to hear his first cry. I didn’t get to change his first diaper. I didn’t get to give him his first bottle.
I know going back to work is what has to be done, and I’m doing it to make the best life I can for us and for him, but it breaks my heart.
Leaving him behind at daycare every morning hurts just like it did when I left him behind every day at the hospital. Yes, I get to pick him up that afternoon/evening and bring him home every day, but leaving him behind still feels just as wrong as it did back then.
I know it will get easier. I know it won’t hurt so much as time goes on.
But for now, it does. For now it is hard and painful and terrifying. I hate the thought of missing out on anything he does, any coo, any smile, any tear, any bottle.
Parents leave their children at daycares every day, I know this. Parents also sit in their car outside of said daycare or Kindergarten and cry, every day.
Leaving behind our children and entrusting their safety and happiness to someone we don’t know is terrifying.
All we can do, is cling to the notion that it gets easier. It will get better.
What have you done to make going back to work easier on you?
What tips do you have for parents returning to work after their babies are born?