Shifting gears between career and motherhood can be a momentous step for many professional women. We tend to discernibly separate these two areas of our lives as new mothers, to prevent one from having a negative effect on the other.
New motherhood is challenging for all new moms, even without the addition of career concerns. However, it’s vital to acknowledge that we can be both nurturing mothers and ambitious professionals, and give ourselves the space for postpartum help and healing.
It’s my hope that by joining the blogging community, I can proactively bring the healthy discussion of postpartum care to professional women, and help to ease that gear shifting.
Taking good care of yourself and your newborn during the postpartum period, typically for the first 6-8 weeks, will help set the stage for a complete and healthy recovery, both mentally and physically. Your body needs to heal itself, and you need to get to know your newborn, and learn how to be a mom.
For the new mom who is planning on returning to work, you will come across a different set of challenges. For American mothers, maternity leave can vary from 6-12 weeks, and sometimes longer. Following maternity leave, you’ll need to be emotionally and physically ready to leave your home and newborn and focus on your job during the day, and on being a new mother in the evenings and on days off. By planning now for postpartum care, you’ll make it easier for yourself to return to work refreshed and ready.
Some things to think about to ready yourself and reduce stress and emotional conflicts:
- Make sure you are comfortable with the childcare you have chosen so that you can focus on your job with peace of mind.
- Prepare as much as possible in advance; purchase some comfortable clothing that will be conducive for you if you need to pump at work, and plan with your partner to stock up on groceries and freeze meals.
- Incorporate staying in touch throughout the day with your work schedule - your caregiver can send you texts, photos and videos.
- Try to return to work in the middle of the week so you can adjust, and then have the weekend to iron out any kinks.
- Don't overextend yourselves on the weekends or your days off - spend as much time as you can with your new family, and get ready for the work week ahead so things run as smoothly as possible.
Be kind to yourself while you embrace your role as a new mom. The first six weeks are an incredibly significant time for you and your baby, and with some preparation, you can smooth the way for this next chapter.
Cheryl Zauderer, PhD, CNM, NPP, IBCLC, has been a registered nurse since 1985. She is a nurse-midwife, a lactation consultant and a psychiatric nurse practitioner specializing in perinatal mood disorders and other women’s health issues. Dr. Zauderer has authored her first book entitled Maternity Leave: A New Mothers Guide to the First Six Weeks Postpartum, Praeclarus Press. It is a self-help book for new mothers focusing on the first six weeks postpartum. You can follow her with her blog and on her website at: postpartumcare1.com, on twitter, and on facebook. Dr. Zauderer has also served as a board member for PSI (Postpartum Support International) and has been the Nassau/Suffolk coordinator for PSI since 2009.