Maternity leave has given you weeks of quality bonding time with your newborn. Now that it’s over, you may be filled with depression and anxiety about your return to work. These feelings are to be expected with any life transition, but that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with. In this guide, we will help you manage anxiety and depression after maternity leave.
Understand Why You’re Depressed/Anxious
With any anxiety treatment or depression treatment, you need to know what the source of the issue is. In this case, you may be depressed about leaving your family when you return to work. You may also feel anxious about going back to your job, or you may be stressed about the workload awaiting you. Think about why you’re feeling these emotions, and then re-assure yourself that everything will work out. You will still get to see your baby after work. There will be people at work to help you manage the workload. There is a solution in every situation.
Ease into Work Slowly
You may not be able to jump right back into work at your normal pace. Things have changed over the last few weeks, both with you and with your job. Allow yourself a few days or even a few weeks to get back into your normal routine. If possible, you might start back at work part time before transitioning to full time. This will also give you more time at home, which will curb some of your depression.
Tackle One Challenge at a Time
If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of work on your plate, don’t focus on the big picture. Look at the work as a series of smaller tasks. Take on each task one-by-one. You walk a mile one step at a time, and you read a book one word at a time. This is no different.
Stay in Contact with Your Baby’s Caregiver
Talk to the person who is watching your baby so you feel involved in his or her day. You may call to check in on your lunch break, or you might get text updates throughout the day. This line of communication will feel particularly important in the first week of your transition. That’s when your mind is racing with worst-case-scenarios about your baby. Having the extra reassurance will help you return to work with confidence.
Talk to Your Therapist and Other Members of Your Support System
Your anxiety and depression after maternity leave are completely warranted. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed about your emotions. Instead, embrace what you’re feeling and talk to someone about it. Your therapist can help you find coping mechanisms that work for your lifestyle. You may benefit from talking to other moms who have gone back to work. Listen to their stories, and you’ll soon see just how common your emotions are. More importantly, you’ll see that there is a rainbow at the end of the storm.
Above all else, remember…You’ve got this.