The sinking feeling, the heaviness that overwhelms my heart, the nausea that engulfs the throat and creates a bottomless pit in my stomach; this is the tornado of emotion resulting from the realisation that maternity leave will soon be over and that a new reality is only a few weeks, days, hours away.
Clinging to my newborn, I try to savour the moment, asking myself how I will be able to leave them, or even if I should leave them? The guilt, the heart-wrenching turmoil and the tailspin of feeling suffocate the current peace and moments of joy. My heart is torn between provision and abandonment, between dreams and duty. Unfortunately, this is the reality that so many working mothers have to face as they make a transition from being at the beck and call of their newly born babies to possibly missing out on many first milestones.
It is so important to navigate this transition with care, kindness and consciousness. For those of us about to make this transition, it is crucial to manage the days of guilt that make their dramatic appearance in our motherhood journey more often than they should. Intention. Gratitude. Perspective. Not overthinking!
In times where days feel like a whirlwind is carrying us from months to years and where life seems to just happen to us, it is imperative to arrive at the start of each day with intention. We must be intentional about each moment, taking in as much as possible every day.
Gratitude bears joy. As working mothers, we need to be grateful for the ability to provide financially for our children; an opportunity others would relish. In addition, we must be thankful for the chance to be a role model for them, presenting a picture of possibility, capability and the capacity to take ownership of different responsibilities. We are showing them how to evolve dreams into reality.
Our perspective needs not to be one of ‘neglect’ but instead of ‘prospect’. Here is an opportunity to provide brighter, happier futures for our children and to place our emphasis on the quality of time we spend with them, rather than the amount.
Lastly, sometimes we need to take a moment and feel what we need to feel, but not long enough to allow our thoughts to draw us back into the sea of guilt. What’s important is that we keep our eyes focussed on the rays of joy, opportunity and blessings that lie ahead, for it is our resilience, steadfastness and perseverance for rainbow-endings that allow motherhood and career to coexist amicably.