Returning To Work After Pregnancy
Returning to work after pregnancy, regardless of how much time you have taken off, be it just a few months or perhaps a full year is an emotional and can be a stressful time within the workplace. This coupled with the major changes within your personal life, it is little wonder some women struggle with this additional change in life.
It’s important to remember that emotion and anxiety at this time is normal as most women regardless of their reason for going back to work; be it purely financial or because the woman actively wants to continue working for her own wellbeing, there is probably the pangs of guilt as to are you doing the best thing for your baby? Remember what’s best for you and the rest of your family is probably best for your baby.
However there a few things that can make the transition back into the workplace easier and many of them are just trying to get things into perspective and understanding your capabilities personally and professionally.
Firstly, as part of standard maternity legislation there are 10 Keeping in Touch days days that allow women to come into work and be paid for or get time off for up to 10 Keeping in Touch days. These can be used when
- There is something important going on that both the woman and her boss feel she should attend
- Some training that is necessary
- Just to come in and work so that you can catch up on what has been happening.
Using these days helps ensure that women do not have to be completely detached from the workplace thus making the comeback much easier as they are kept up to date on both work and any social issues and its less pressure as you know you are only in for the day.
These days are also a good way of ‘trialling ‘your childcare. Even if you are lucky enough to have family members on hand it’s still a wrench, if you are using a private nursery or a child minder, in most cases, certainly nurseries actively encourage trial runs making life easier for the nursery and the child and therefore you.
When you are back at work, it may well be that you are not able to come in extra early or stay on late at night as often as you done previously and if that is the case then there are a couple of things that you may want to consider:-
- It is important to discuss your return with your boss and it may be appropriate that you manage their expectations and in some organisations staying late in particular becomes a culture and people tend to unconsciously spread their day out accordingly as they are in no hurry to get away
- Start looking at your own time management techniques – you still have to do your job and it may well be that you need having to have a closer look at your priorities and stop saying yes to everything and look at what you actually should be doing and what are the tasks and activities that ensure you achieve your objectives. It is worth remembering that these sort of changes in your working practice may be difficult for others as this is not what they expect of you, but taking time to manage expectations and working smarter and it may well be that others will take a leaf out of your book
Communicate with your line manager both before you return and immediately after, yes they should be you informed but if you want to make your life easier, take the initiative and make that occasional call yourself. Be clear about your work priorities and what’s expcted of you and let your manager know in a timely fashion if things are getting on top of you so that they can help you out when things are manageable. Remember you can’t assume others understand if you don’t tell them.