Today was my first day back at work. I took 4 months maternity leave as well as 2 weeks of annual leave before Faith was due. So all in all I have been away from work for about 17/18 weeks.
The first day was ok, a bit long for someone not used to sitting behind a desk all day. I came back to a small crisis but that is being handled and I have stayed out of the details of it and am just helping where I can.
Tomorrow is a half day for me (Mondays and Wednesdays and Fridays by default as we finish at 2pm anyway) so that makes it a bit easier to be motivated.
Onto the guilt…
I dont feel guilty about leaving Faith to go back to work. I know I have to work and I know if I dont do something during the day I will go nuts. Im glad that I work 3 half days, it definitely makes going back to work easier.
In order to explain my guilt I have to give you a little back story. As you may or may not know I suffered from PND after having Aaron. When my 4 months maternity leave was over I could not wait to get back to work. It wasnt that I didnt love my baby, I did. It was more about getting away from a place that I was not in control of and going to a place that I was in control of, a place I felt was ‘safe’ I suppose.
*Please note that its only now, almost 3 years later that I can articulate these feelings, at the time I just felt a fantastic sense of relief at being at work and not at home*
My guilt back then wasnt that I was leaving baby at home, it was about the fact that I didnt feel guilty for leaving him. The fact that I felt I was running away from him to go to work.
This time I am not running away, yes I miss Faith but I know she is happy and well looked after and that its not full day every day. This time there is no guilt that I am not feeling quilty.
This time the guilt comes from the fact that I am petrified that the difference in how I have handled going back to work after Aaron and after Faith will effect my relationship with them in the future, especially with Aaron.
I know that it wasnt my fault, I know that even though I was depressed it wasnt for lack of love for my son. But the cold hard truth is that it took me a long time to bond with Aaron, a long time for me to not want to run away to work. I just hope that as he grows older and more aware he doesn’t feel like I love him less than his sister. I hope he understands, even if its never said, that it wasnt really him I was running away from. That it was my own demons.
I hope that even though it wasnt ‘me’ that one day I can forgive myself.