Overwhelmed

General Details
Network:
Working mother
Profession:
Information Technology
Type of leave:
Maternity
Number of years professional experience:
6-10 years
Length of leave:
6-12 months
Type of experience:
Mixed
Work pattern on return:
Flexible full-time
Message I returned to my IT job after 6months mat leave. When I was pregnant, that seemed like forever but in the end it felt way too short. I felt so sad I couldn't change it once back. Emotionally it was so difficult to leave baby. Now I'm back, my confidence is much lower as I have so many conflicting emotions - I feel guilty that I'm not giving either work or baby as much of myself as I feel either deserves. Figuring that out is really tough but I'm making progress. My work is supportive but i need some extra support to build back that confidence - I feel overwhelmed a lot. I don't think my male colleagues understand and to be honest I'm female and only understanding now that I'm going through it! I wish there were more role models but there are so few successful senior mums of young families in my division.
Going back has been hard and I didn't really expect it to be such a struggle or to find myself, normally so organised and decisive, feeling overwhelmed and a bit lost. And I'm not the only one - my friends returning have similar experiences of the emotions and confidence issues. I wish these were talked about more openly. I think mums are wanting to prove so much that they can do it and keep quiet about the struggles because they don't want to be seen as being less committed or unable to cope.

Replies

Anonymous Posted On 9th Nov 2015 at 12:52
I can also relate to your post, as I felt quite overwhelmed after returning from maternity with my children. The amount of change that had taken place over the 7 months that I was gone felt huge (despite using all my KIT days) and I felt at times like I was starting from scratch. All this on top of having a new baby at home and a growing family, it was a massive adjustment for everyone. What I did find was that I had to give myself time to adjust, not days or weeks, but months - it was probably about 3-6 months before I felt normal and fully comfortable. Try to give yourself time to adjust, it will come back to you. If possible, maybe try to connect with other women who may be going through a return to work as well or who have been through it, it certainly helps to share experiences.
Anonymous Posted On 3rd Nov 2015 at 11:39
I can also completely relate. I work in tax and took 12 months off and though I had KIT days and a maternity leave support person, my group was going through quite a bit of upheaval before I came back and my mat leave support person quite 3 days before my return. I did not feel that my bosses had any appreciation of what it feels like to return from mat leave. I was overwhelmed, lacking in confidence and had to deal with a challenging client portfolio and no emotional or professional support (I felt like I had forgotten so much technical information). Now, almost a year on, I have muddled through but have still not re-gained my confidence fully.
Anonymous Posted On 27th Oct 2015 at 19:47
I felt I could have written your letter , also just started back 3 weeks in after #2 , and feel exactly the same! Management change, assistant reluctant to hand back role, new manager , on top of 6 days sick leave, thanks daycare, the guilt is knocking loudly and trying my best to control it and know this is part of the process even with little understanding from HR. All I can say is your not alone and it will take time. Thanks for sharing and am right with you. The emotions memo is the one no one tells you about but you'll get there !
Anonymous Posted On 19th Oct 2015 at 10:52
I can completely relate to your point about confidence. I am a senior IT professional and after my first return from maternity leave I felt utterly overwhelmed. I felt that I had forgotten everything I had ever learnt and was terrified of being 'found out'. It all came back to me though, slowly but surely. My return after the second maternity leave was easier as I had an inner confidence that I would get my brain back at some point, and I did. Two years later I am less scared of being found out and actually sometimes surprise myself with my efficiency!
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