Thursday, July 7, 2011

i return to work on monday. i hate just typing these words. it makes it more real.

not my fun, do from home work, but my bill paying, go to an office for 9 hours a day job.

without henry, obviously.

it isn't exactly like i am in denial. it's more like i just don't know how to prepare for it, how to accept that it is really happening, like when the birth of your child is impending and your whole world it about to get rocked and you know it rationally, but you just don't understand it until it actually happens. so all you can do is brace for impact.

so this is an attempt at bracing.

i am terrified that he will get used to the bottle and not take my nipple any more, necessitating a shift to formula. (is that common? we have had a few latch problems that just finally have seemed to work themselves out....)

i am concerned about his sleep. during the day, he tends to cat nap. even while being worn, 30 minutes, an hour tops. it wouldn't bother us but.... we have a new routine. around the second or third nap of the day i will get set up on the couch for what we call a sleating (sleeping/eating) marathon. if he has access to my nipple he will sleep for two to three hours, only half waking occasionally for a quick snack, other times just using me as a human pacifier while he snoozes. he wakes up from this time so refreshed and awake, i know it does his little body good. but we just cant figure out how to achieve these longer naps without mama.

i am so worried that he will feel abandoned by me. is that silly? i am his world right now. don't get me wrong. he loves his papa and spends loads of amazing time with him. but he is never without me for but the briefest of periods. his sweet eyes follow me around the room, he is calmed in my arms above others' just a little easier, and he is slightly more generous to me with his smiles and cooing. and suddenly, i just won't be there. for over nine hours.

henry will be 12 weeks next week. i keep waiting for the magic 3 month mark to hit. where they get just a little easier. he is an amazing little guy, not too fussy and pretty easy to please. but he still needs one of us almost constantly. i was hoping this would have eased up before i had to leave him. not for concern that others can't care for him as well as i do, just for my own internal peace. he doesn't turn three months until 13 weeks. so maybe then.

the care he will receive is in fact the one thing i am not worried about. we are so lucky that his papa gets to take a little bit of time off now. so while i am a hot mess at work, i will at least be assured that the little man is home with someone who loves him just as much as i do. this is the best possible transition i could have asked for.*

and i am so so so excited for them to have this time together. it will be such an important and wonderful bonding experience for them. and i think they will have a lot of fun. i love picturing their adventures, and can't wait to get constant updates throughout the day to see what they are up to.**

but still. (selfishly?) i am deeply sad. my heart aches.

those of you who have been there/done that; how did you get through this time?

* (okay, pushing it back a year or so would have worked too. ;)

**if we were not broke from all this time off work i would probably update us to new iPhones so we could video chat!

both images by michal rubin


  1. I believe everything will fall into place and a new routine will take shape. Babies are resilient little beings. But still, I know how your heart aches to think of leaving your brand new boy. Fingers crossed all goes smoothly for you in the process. He is beautiful, by the way.

    And, funny you mention it - my family is also currently on the fence over buying iphones. Debating for the past 2 weeks ... Damn. Why must they be so expensive?

  2. oh my dear. i feel your pain. there is no rational way to deal with this because it is really really hard. i just sent you an email.

    he won't forget how to breastfeed.

    i know it's so hard not to worry but please put all thoughts aside of work and enjoy your weekend. things will work out.

  3. It is hard and I feel for you. My heart still aches thinking about those early months leaving my baby for work. And I still make my man send me photos of their activities while I work. Nothing slays/warms me like a real-time photo of him napping or eating lunch. Do your phones have camera capacity?

    If it helps, when I went back to work (at 10 weeks), I was able to keep my little guy on breast milk until he was one. Lots of pumping (which was difficult for me) and the odd formula got us through and he never seemed to prefer bottle over me. This article also helped in accepting the compromise that I eventually had to make at about 8 months:

    That said I think I spent the extra earned income on cab fares rushing home to feed my baby, and mentally I needed work as well.

  4. I'm so sorry chicken. This sucks. I have no advice at all, just love and support.


  5. I hope that things will be, things WILL be fine :) Take care xox

  6. i have no advice, but i love you! i'm pulling for you from durham...

  7. My girl is 12 weeks, too, and I won't be going back to work until the fall, but I think I really understand how you feel. One thing about the naps: Juno was a dedicated 45 minute napper all along, driving me bonkers. Just recently has she been able to go longer, either by waking at 45 mins and being soothed back to sleep by me, or just sleeping straight through. Still, it's only one nap most days that goes longer. So it may well change. 12 weeks is still pretty young. Good luck, and hang in there!

  8. ugh, jamie, i cried through this whole post. i'm so sorry. i can only imagine how hard this is going to be for you, especially after i told you the other day how i have this freakish attachment to L and have not left her side for more than an hour since the day she was born. i'm working on it..

    if it's any consolation, i think the *good* part about all this is that when you come home every day, little H is going to be over the moon to see you. since Joe works at night, cheech goes to bed without her papa, but when he wakes up and emerges from the hallway every morning, her little face lights up in the most glorious way. as much as i love spending so much time with her, i also wish i got a little bit of that. sometimes i fell like she looks at me and thinks, "oh, you again!". ha!

    also, kristie went back to work and still successfully breastfeeds carmen at 8 months. my sister in law stayed home with her babies and my niece weened herself at 6 months. so there you have it. i really don't think it has much to do with how frequently you're around them. babies really like to do their own thing.

    hugs and kisses from me, j, and little cheech

  9. Your heart aches because you are responding to the deep motherly instinct to be with your child. Our modern world doesn't always allow us to do what evolution required us to do to get to where we are now (if that makes sense.)

    If you are concerned about the breastfeeding, please, please, please, refer to the new 8th ed. of the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, there is so much info about returning to work, bottle-feeding in a breast-feeding friendly way, and pumping.

    And if you can, get yourself and Henry to a La Leche League meeting before you go back to work, you'll get so much support and information!!

  10. i just want to wish you all the best. i am in a similar position and i hope to read about your experiences as a working mom. take care x

  11. Pump, pump, pump breast milk whilst your away and then love him more than you thought possible when you're not.

    Nothing and no-one can replace a mummy, not matter how long they are away.

  12. I had to leave my daughter to go back to my day job when she was 11 months and though I know I had it good (she's with her daddy during the day), I don't think it gets any easier even when they are a bit older. I still miss her every day. Mondays especially suck. But, please don't worry that your babe won't be ok. I really think it's harder on us than them most of the time.

  13. I obviously have no advice as I have yet to be in this position, but I really hope that it will all go ok! Over time, of course-things always work out, but I do feel for you.
    And I hope you are never made to feel "selfish" about your love for him-it's natural and good to feel this way!
    Many hugs to you, my dear.

  14. yea - been there - went back to work when my little muffinhead was a teeny tiny 6 weeks old (she's 4 months now). i STILL cry when I leave her every morning...and occasionally through the day (silently...and wipe my tears so nobody sees!) It is the MOST unnatural feeling in the world to leave her. Everyone swears that "it will get better" - i have to believe them.

    Good luck...we are still good mommy's.

  15. I miss our Stella when she goes to bed, so I can only imagine how it must feel to have to leave Henry every day. I hope your first week back went okay!