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Thoughts as I head back to work

Today I head back to work after three months with my baby girl. This will without a doubt be one of the most personal posts I have ever written here, but I have read countless other blogger's share their thoughts on what their life is like post baby & I wanted to share my own thoughts and feelings - especially since a lot of the time I am just wondering if what I'm feeling is normal. 
Maternity leave is both the most enjoyable 3 months and simultaneously one of the most lonely times in your life, with emotions that leave you questioning everything you're doing, at least that was the case for it me. For the first three weeks after Sophia was born I was in a bit of a bubble because I had help in the form of my mom & Gary. Truth be told, I'm not sure how I would have survived those first two weeks without my mom because not only was she basically our night nurse, but she cooked and cleaned for us,  so I really only had to focus on Sophia and making sure I was healing properly from giving birth. I was well rested, as was Gary and I felt like I was getting to enjoy the newborn stage without the hazy feeling I was anticipating. After she left and Gary was home with me for another week, we began to establish a little routine, as much as you can with a 3 week old and I felt like we were getting into a groove of sorts. Currently Sophia is still in our room so I take care of all the feedings and if she has trouble going back down to sleep, Gary takes over to walk with her and get her down. We've talked about transitioning her into her own room, but I'll probably wait to see how I do when I go back to work. I truly feel like she senses that I'm in the room and wakes up even if she's not hungry just to feel that I'm there. 
When Gary went back to work, the realness kicked in and I was home alone with Sophia! Just the two of us trying to figure one another out and me being seriously terrified of this little bitty thing and trying to keep her from crying! For as much as newborns sleep, half the time is trying to get them to go to sleep and then you're basically frantically trying to get everything done in about 20 minutes because they wake up. I tried to see if this was normal and surprisingly it is! Naps are established at around 5 months and before that their sleep cycles for naps are anywhere from 20-120 minutes, just a fun (or not so fun) fact. At least that's the case with Sophia because unless we're outside walking she doesn't really like to nap on her own. When I tell you that the only three things on my to do list every day are to do her laundry, pump & shower - I'm not lying and it feels incredible when all three have been completed!I can't tell you how many hours I spent bouncing on my exercise ball in the kitchen with the exhaust going for white noise. The downside, my back kills. The bright side, I held her so much and got my fill of cuddles. Another bright side, I read a lot on my phone via the Kindle app!

What I didn't realize I needed || People!

I don't think I realized just how lonely I would be during the day. I mean that in the sense that I really am a social person and like to be around others conversing, probably why I ventured outside so much. Shout out to my mom, best friend Rachel and cousin who I would call ALL the time just to talk! Whenever a friend would reach out and ask to come over, I couldn't say yes fast enough! I have some wonderful friends that came over just to say hi, hold Sophia so I could eat lunch or make dinner or even switch out the laundry. 
I'm grateful that my maternity leave was during the end of the summer and through early fall because it gave me the opportunity to walk multiple times a day outside with Sophia. I'm really lucky that I live in the city and was able to get outside pretty much daily, unless it was raining and that helped me feel "normal" and have some sort of human interaction during the day! I walked miles upon miles every single day and it was comforting knowing that Sophia was having some of her best sleep in the fresh air. My neighbor also happened to be on maternity leave during the same time so it was fun to meet up and walk around together, talk about our girls & what we were doing that was working and not working. 
I had some really rough days where I cried basically every time Sophia cried, I honestly wasn't sure what was going on with me, but as soon as Gary would get home from work, he'd give me the little boost I needed to tell me that I was doing a great job. I would call my mom at least 6 times a day, not even including FaceTime just to hear her voice. One of the greatest things that happened during those rough days was how my own relationship with my mom grew. We were best friends before, but I understand her on another level now and I'm thankful for every single piece of advice she gives me. 

The comparison game or instagram vs. reality life ||

I thought maternity leave would be full of lunches, trips to the mall & other outings. While I had a few of those days, it wasn't quite as active as I thought it would be or what I saw other new moms doing on Instagram. The days revolved around feedings and sometimes it felt like that was all I was doing. I felt like I couldn't really go to a restaurant for lunch because Sophia really liked to sleep on me not in her stroller. She has since gotten much better! My fears of her having a meltdown and not being able to calm her down also precluded me from doing more with her. The first 4 weeks you're told to not really venture to any public places so I took that very seriously, which also gives you this sort of isolated feeling. For the first little bit I wasn't comfortable nursing in public, I've since gotten over it and just go in with the attitude that she's gotta eat too and I try to find a store or hotel to duck into to feed her if needed. 
Around weeks 8-9 I finally felt like I was getting the hang of everything. We had a little routine - eat, play & sleep which was working nicely for us. My parents were back in town and it was nice to be social again. Everything felt like it was coming together and then she'd hit a new developmental milestone. To be honest, I didn't read many "what to expect" books, but after Sophia was born I downloaded all the apps and made sure I knew what was coming every week. The WonderWeeks App has been wonderful since they change daily! One day you're dealing with an angel baby and the next day she's crying, not sleeping & it seems like everything you did to soothe her the day before just isn't working. Once I downloaded the app, I was better prepared for those off days and as she got older I got ahead of them! Going through a leap - I got you girl! 

Moving Forward || 

Sophia is a little love and makes the days just fly by! Just as I'm getting the hang of everything - at least thinking that I am, I'm headed back to work and on the one hand it's so sad and frustrating that I don't get more of the fun times at home alone with her, but on the other hand I'm ready to go back. I felt really terrible saying that I was excited to go back to work - not because I didn't want to be with Sophia or watch as she learned new things, but it's just not in my nature to sit still and the busyness of work was what I was missing. I think I'm also ready to go back to work because I'm not dropping Sophia off at daycare at 3 months, I am leaving her at home with Gary - the person I trust most in this world. He's going to be home with her for the next 10 weeks on his paternity leave (pretty amazing!) and I'm excited that he has the chance to bond with her in a very different way, plus facetime me ALL the time! While leaving her isn't easy, I just know that the moments we spend together will be that much sweeter. 

Thank you for reading - this was probably all over the place, but that's sort of what maternity leave  and the postpartum journey was like for me - some days I felt like I had it all together and other days I thought I was failing in every single part of my life. The truth is, I tried to do the best that I could and when I needed encouragement I always turned to Gary, my mom, sister, cousin and my best friends who told me that the moment of self doubt would pass and it always did! I am absolutely privileged to have spent the time with Sophia and I'm grateful for everything she has taught me these last 12 weeks! That unconditional love I feel from her is the best feeling ever. She has given me the greatest gift of my life - that is to be her mom and for that I will forever be thankful!

All photos by: Lovya Photography

28 comments

  1. Wow that's so awesome that Gary gets paternity leave!! How wonderful that you get to start back to work with the peace of mind that she's home with him. I've also heard many friends talk about being ready to go back to work after leave maternity leave is up and I feel like that's a normal feeling--doesn't mean you don't love your baby any less! Good luck today!
    Sarah at MeetTheShaneyfelts

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  2. All of those feelings are SO normal!! The newborn stage is wonderful, but also freaking HARD (spoiler alert: every single stage is like that but at least you get more sleep lol). That is so amazing that Gary gets to be off with her for the next 10 weeks!!! You are two lucky ladies!

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  3. Yay for paternity leave!! And all those feelings are totally normal as well. Lots of ups and downs but so much joy!!

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  4. Oh Biana, I know this is a mixed bag of emotions but the joy that you get to leave your precious girl with Daddy is so so special. Seeing extra love and hugs your way today! xo

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  5. I think it is so awesome that Gary gets paternity leave!!! Chris had to be at work the day after I came home from the hospital, it was awful. It is hard leaving our babies, but at least you know she is in good hands!!! And I think it is totally normal to feel lonely and isolated during this time. I know I did. You guys will fall into a new normal and get more of a routine established as the weeks go on :)

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  6. That is so incredible that Gary gets that paternity leave! & I think its wonderful that you're ready to get back to work - though I know, not ever ready to leave your girl. I know leaving her with Gary is what makes it even comfortable for you to head back to your job. I'm glad you had that time with her these past few months - & LOVE LOVE LOVE you & your mom's relationship. I know she had to love every moment she helped, every phone call, every chance she could to help.
    Hope your first day back is smooth & welcoming!

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  7. I loved the realness of this post! Although I'm not a mama (yet!) it's nice to see that you can have ups and downs and that is part of the total journey of motherhood! I have no doubt that you are doing an amazing job! So special that Gary now gets to have time home with her- that is such a blessing! Wishing you a great day back!

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  8. All of these feelings... they are real. they are valid. I felt them too. And it is more of this and less of the "insta-reality" that is needed to bring awareness to the real challenges of motherhood. Being a working mom isn't easy. Being a stay at home mom isn't easy. Let's be real... being mom... it ain't easy! But it's WORTH IT! Love you doll!!! XOXO, R

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  9. I remember dealing with loneliness after my first child was born. It is hard to find a routine and connect with others in the same stage you are in. How incredible that you have 10 weeks of "daddy day care" when you go back to work!

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  10. Good luck today! It gets easier!!

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  11. Awww...sweet momma I hope you have the best day back. It does get easier for sure. I think the hardest one for me was #4 when she refused a bottle for like the first month. You are doing a great job and her big sweet smile shows it!

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  12. You're such a great mommy! I'm so happy I got to meet her so quickly and to give you some company :) I miss you- let's get together again soon xoxo!

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  13. I LOVED this post, Biana. It was so raw and honest. And do not despair, every single feeling you mentioned in this post is totally normal! I know I went through all of them as well! After I had Jacob I was a mess, mostly because of all of my injuries that I had sustained in childbirth and while I didn't want to leave him at all, I was really ready to get back to work when the time came because I wanted to get back to "normal." I hope you're doing well today. And HOW AMAZING THAT GARY GETS 10 WEEKS OF PATERNITY LEAVE!!!! THAT IS AMAZING!

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  14. That was such a wonderful, relatable and very rea walk through of what maternity leave is really like - a bit of every emotion! I only had three months too, but no-where like the support you had from your Mum - your Mum really is an angel, and no wonder your relationship has strengthened so much. What a lovely gift for her too. Also your husband is so supportive. Mine was too but didn't get that amazing 10 week paternity - that is awesome! The loneliness is totally normal - you spend so much time at home and doing domestic things, it can be a shocker. But it sounds like you cracking your routine will help you take some steps over time to integrate Sophia into more activities. I think when they are really small it isn't worth the stress - better to keep it low key and home based until there aren't such crazy logistics. You are doing great. Looking forward to more updates! J xx

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  15. All such real and normal feelings! I am the same way about getting back to work... not in my nature to sit at home! It makes me a better mom to be able to go to work and feel productive then come home and turn all my attention to my baby! Hang in there!

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  16. You described that time so well! It's so nice to be around people and just be out instead of stuck at home in the house all day in the beginning. Cannot believe Gary's paternity leave! That's amazing!!

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  17. I loved reading this and your very real viewpoints!! Thank you so much for sharing girl!

    Katherine | www.oneswainkycouple.com

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  18. First, these pictures are so great! You described things so well and I hope you had a good first day back!

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  19. This is so very sweet and brings me right back to those first weeks! How wonderful that your husband gets such a long paternity leave (this should always be the case!) and you can head back to work worry-free. So happy for you! <3

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  20. Oh my goodness, I feel like you just accurately describe everything after I had all three kids. Newborns are so sweet and snuggly, but there are a lot of emotions and feelings involved and it is beautiful and incredibly hard all at once. You are going to do so great going back to work and it is so amazing that Gary will be home with her! Thank you for sharing this, it was quite reassuring to read this and know I wasn't the only one - XO

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  21. I hope that your first 2 days back at work are going well!

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  22. Oh, girl. I feel like I could relate to every single thought and emotion in this post - even as a work at home mama. Maternity leave is incomparable for bonding with your baby, and it's hard, busy, frantic, and beautiful. But the ending is so bittersweet, too. You'll find your new rhythm, and you'll do so well...all of you. I'm thinking of you, sweet friend!

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  23. Great to read your journey of ups and downs through maternity leave and as a new mom. While I've never had a child, I could see how all the different emotions can come into play. At the end of the day, you should give yourself a pat on the back or even a huge hug for being the best Mom you can be and making sure baby Sophia has been taken care of. Love the photos of Mom and daughter and Sophia wearing the cutest and most cozy outfit! Cheers to you! xoxo Emily @ Martinis & Bikinis

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  24. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this unique time in your life girlfriend! I'll remember it when my time comes. I'm glad you have such a support system like your mom, sister and friends and you aren't afraid to reach out to them. I'm so happy for you guys that Gary gets to spend time with Sophia now! Sending love to you guys xoxo

    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams

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  25. She's so precious! I can imagine how hard it must be to leave your little girl and go back to work. Sending lots of love and wishing you a wonderful Sunday

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  26. Girl, all of those other new moms that have their "shit" together really don't have it together at all. I'm with you that I don't think that I quite knew what to expect after the girls got here, so I really wasn't prepared for isolating maternity leave was either. I love my girls so much, but I just don't think that I could be at home with them all the time. I need the time at work to actually feel like I have a purpose and to actually communicate with adults. I'm glad that it's been pretty easy going back to work, and that's so awesome that Gary has all that paternity leave time too!

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  27. This is such a sweet and honest post. I'm glad that you get to go back to work and into a normal schedule and that Gary will be there to care for her!

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