Farewell Maternity Leave

Well, this is it. The last day of maternity leave.

If you could see how sweet and smiley and cuddly Charlie is this morning, you would feel what I’m feeling.

Sigh.

When I was pregnant, I figured I’d only take six weeks off. I was a career woman; I had to get back to my job! But then a coworker got real with me: “How many times in your life will you get the chance to stay home with your baby? You should take advantage of it. And believe me, you won’t be ready at six weeks.”

Hot damn, was she right.

I feel so grateful that I took nearly three months off, that Charles and I could make it work financially. I’ve been with Charlie nearly every moment. I’ve seen him grow from a pinkish, sleepy newborn to a chunky, animated and curious infant. By his side, I learned how to be a mom.

I want to go back to work, I always knew that I would, but I wish there were a way I could go back to work and be with Charlie. I ache for all of those moments I’m going to miss, all of the discoveries he’ll make without me there. I have never loved anything close to the way I love this guy.

What if he forgets who I am?

Charles and I are unfathomably lucky that his mother will be watching Charlie. She runs an award-winning Montessori preschool in her home, so Charlie will not only be cared for by someone who loves him dearly, but he’ll also be in an enriching educational environment. It would have been monumentally tougher to leave him with a stranger. Still, I am jealous that she’ll experience all those moments with him. Why can’t it be me?

I’m also lucky that I have a job that I love, that I work with incredible people. My work is fun and challenging and worthwhile. I’m looking forward to returning, to recapturing a part of me that existed before Charlie. And, inevitably, I know I’ll be a better mom if I’m a working mom.

But when I look over at this precious boy and he gives me that smile that lights up my heart, all I want to do is bury my face in his soft tummy and sob.

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3 Responses to Farewell Maternity Leave

  1. Kate Owens says:

    How could he ever possibly forget you? You’re the most awesome mom in the universe, and — more than that — you’re the one that’s exactly perfect for him!

  2. Ioana says:

    Jess, when I went back to work after having Sophie, I was heartbroken too. But it got better with time. Unlike you, I didn’t have a job I wanted to go back to, so I think that made things worse. Don’t be too hard on yourself the first days. If you want to go back home early, do so. I think your bosses will understand. Don’t worry, there are a lot of things Charlie will do for the first time when you’re around. Just make sure when you get home that you have a solid chunk of time when all you’re doing is playing with him. Hang in there!

  3. Alicia says:

    Hey Jessica, I came across this blog after hearing you talk about it on pregtastic and would like to say how lovely it is to hear another mums perspective. Leaving Charlie to return to work will be hard but you can take comfort in knowing that he’s with a family member and you could always tell you mother in law not to inform you on certain things I.e his first words, so you can in a way discover them for yourself, that seemed to help with me, just continue doing what you do your a great mum x

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