During pregnancy, we think about the flutters, the ultrasound, the vitamins, the baby room… We often push going back to work after baby to our afterthoughts. It’s over nine months away anyhow, right?
Yet, if you’re a working mama, going back to work after baby is inevitable. How can you make it a little easier on yourself? Here are a few surprising ways to ease the transition that you might not have thought of before.
Avoiding Postpartum Anxiety and Depression
According to the latest statistics, approximately 6% of pregnant women and 10% of postpartum women develop anxiety. Oftentimes, expecting and new mothers feel anxiety coupled with depression. We’re not meant to experience these feelings alone. Isolating yourself can lead to compounded mental health issues.
Even though you may try to “act fine” and help yourself through the anguish, having a trusted and experienced counselor during pregnancy and the postpartum period can be one of the greatest gifts to yourself and your new little one(s). Having someone to count on when the days are really tough can be a huge relief. A counselor specifically trained in helping pregnant and postpartum women makes all the difference. They know the clinical causes of anxiety and depression as it appears in new and expecting mamas and can relate in a unique way that generalized therapists simply can’t.
Knowing the Signs and Learning Ways to Cope
Signs of postpartum anxiety can include:
- Constant and intense worry
- Fear of something “bad” happening
- Racing thoughts
- Appetite and sleep disturbances
- Dizziness, hot flashes, and nausea
- In extreme cases, full on panic attacks (Postpartum Panic Disorder), hyper-vigilance and obsessive thoughts about the baby, repeated routines and worry about “messing up” the routines, or fear of being left alone with the infant (attributes of Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)
Signs of postpartum depression can include:
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Lack of interest in the baby
- Withdrawing from friends, family, society (… and maybe showers and self-care)
- Trouble eating, sleeping and functioning regularly
- Overwhelming feelings
- Thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby
Finding a Postpartum Counselor is Crucial
These are clearly alarming, and no mother should have to live through these feelings alone. Call a counselor! Asking for help could change your life. Remember that it’s all perspective. It’s not a bad life, just a bad day (or bad series of days). Things get better! We as humans need social interaction and support. If you feel alone, contact a therapist to help you with postpartum anxiety and depression as hard as it may be to start the conversation.
Once you begin to heal, you’ll be able to see how the silver linings in life. And, with a counselor, you’ll have a confidante. Someone that understands your struggles. An outside eye to tell you, hey, you’re doing all right! You’re normal. Every mom struggles and goes through difficult chapters. Counseling can help you find your breath, your voice, and that song within your soul. Going back to work after baby is tough, but so are you! Having a counselor to be there with you can make it a much easier transition.
More Ways to Make Going Back to Work After Baby Easier On Your Soul
It can feel like you’re traveling to a foreign land going back to work after maternity leave. The lights alone… the pumping! The co-workers. The boss. The sitting! The missing your baby… It’s all a little rough. What are some surprising ways to make it easier on yourself?
Here’s a list to keep in mind! And, also recommended? Maybe don’t make any lists. Be easy! Let yourself be right where you are. Feel every moment. Your feelings are valid and you don’t need to push yourself too hard. You’ve just created a human! It can literally suck the life out of you! Here’s how to gain a bit of your life back so that you can have a happy harmony between motherhood and individualism. Both are important. And so are you.
- Get a haircut or get your hair done (feel good about yourself!)
- Go shopping! (Even if it’s just the thrift store, have something new to wear your first week back!)
- Get a planner and plan something fun in the near or far future (give yourself something to look forward to!)
- Journal (a gratitude journal of jot-down items is always good to look at when you’re feeling down)
- Plan a girls night out or in (spend time with friends, they love you!)
- Hire a night nanny (some are affordable, and even if they are not, maybe try it once or twice, you might really just need a good night’s sleep)
- Start back to work on a Wednesday (everyone is grumpy on Mondays…. get off on a good start!)
- Schedule a self-care treatment (a massage at Whole Foods is just $15 and 15 minutes… the Aveda school has facials for $30, you don’t have to break the bank, just do something that makes you feel good!)
- Get excited about a project at work (check out a business or industry-related book from the library or get one from Amazon; try to get inspired about your line of work again!)
- Organize! (you might not have a ton of time, but if you can, try to reduce some clutter at the house, or organize one drawer/closet/room at a time; the reduction literally adds space into your life which can reduce stress)
- Take quality breaks (not the ones in the breakroom with fluorescent lights on you – well, if you have to, okay, but try to get outside, or if you have to be inside, try a meditation app or do some stretching)
You Can Do It!
Support is here for you at Soul Song Counseling. As a private Denver counseling practice for postpartum and expecting moms, therapy is catered toward you as a mother specifically. Being a new mama is amazing! Yet, no one said it would be easy. Or not lonely at times. Or stressful. It’s all of those things and more. If you need a Denver counselor for postpartum depression or anxiety, Soul Song Counseling is just for you Mama.
American Pregnancy Association, “Do I Have Postpartum Depression?” August, 2015.
Postpartum Support International, “Pregnancy or Postpartum Obsessive Symptoms.”
Postpartum Support International, “Anxiety During Pregnancy and Postpartum.”
Hermoney, “7 Ways to Make Going Back to Work Easier After Baby,” Sage SIngleton, August 29, 2018.
Working Mother, “9 Ways to Make Returning to Work After Maternity Leave as Painless as Possible,” Kate Rope, May 1, 2018.