You may pump in some crazy places
While it’s wonderful that companies are now required by law to provide lactation rooms and breaks to nursing moms, you may not be pumping there all the time. Have you ever had to go to the bathroom on a long road trip and you’re stuck in traffic and, and…you just pull over and pee at the nearest gas station restroom, even if it’s filthy? Sometimes biology takes over and you just need to do your thing. Breast milk let down is like that, too. Your breasts may get full and hard as rocks and need to do your thing, even if you’re in the car on your way to a meeting or commuting on the train. You may want to invest in a car adapter or a battery-operated breast pump so you can pump on when you’re on the road. Though you may cover up, people may catch on to what you’re doing. And expect the cloth to fall so that you’re less surprised when it does. Even if you’re pumping in private, you may forget to lock the door or pull the blinds and co-workers with the very best of intentions may still walk in. Rest assured, they are always, always, way more embarrassed than you are.
Working helps you connect with yourself again
“It’s so nice to have adult conversation!”, “I feel like my pre-baby self again!” and “It’s good to not have to focus on the baby for a few hours,” are some comments I hear in every class. Let’s face it, before you had the baby (and while you were carrying the baby) it was all about you. Since having the baby, you’re trying to guess what that cry means, wondering if they’ll sleep for that extra hour, and hoping that that cough won’t lead to something more serious. When you go to work and can “just” focus on the job for a few hours, it’s a relief. Life just became a lot more simple, even if it’s for a few hours. Also, if you like what you do, it feels good to return to something that you have a level of competency in, something you’re good at. So many new parents have that “am I doing it right?” feeling; it’s a relief to go back to work where you know what you’re doing and know how to do it well.
You don’t need to lose the baby weight before you go back to work
One of my favorite quotes from my doula is, “It took you nine months to walk into this, it will take you nine months to walk out.” Since maternity leave is rarely nine months long, it’s not realistic to expect that you’ll lose the baby weight before you return to work. After all, maternity leave is an opportunity for you to heal, to bond, to just lay in bed with your baby if that’s what you want to do. It’s not about going to the gym and shaving pounds; it’s about being gentle with yourself and taking time to feel out this new role. And let’s admit it; those stretchy-waist pregnancy jeans are seriously comfortable. Might as well get a few more wearings out of them; nobody needs to know but us moms.