“Do you miss your baby?”
A co-worker said to me on my first day back to work from maternity leave. I was stunned and at a total loss of how to answer. Say no and I’m a cold-hearted bitch for not thinking about my offspring every second. Say yes and I risked appearing feeble and unsure of my return. Ughhhh!
I also remember my work bestie hugging me that same morning and giving me the sweetest gift of a mouse pad featuring a photo of my little guy that she snagged from Facebook. I still use it at work to this day, almost six years later.
The first few weeks back to work can be a mixture of emotions and every woman feels differently. Asinine comments from the people you often see more than your own family certainly don’t help to deal with a big change, so here’s a guide of things not to say as well as some suggestions to show that you’re supportive. Sadly, all of the “don’ts” below actually have been said out loud, either to friends or myself. DON’T BE THAT PERSON!
Words NEVER to say to a woman returning to work after having a baby:
- How was your vacation?
- I thought you were going to quit. Are you?
- Welcome back to the real world!
- Are you going to have more kids?
- I hope you’re breastfeeding!
Compassionate things to say:
- Welcome back! We missed you.
- Want to catch up over coffee?
- You look great!
- I think you’re doing a great job as a mom. How are you feeling?
- Can I drop off a meal for your family?
Recovering from childbirth (ouch) while caring for a brand new human who may or may not sleep for consecutive hours is a tough job. In many cases, your kid is still barely sleeping when it’s time to go back to work and your body still might feel like shit. So, please be kind.
Any additional advice to share?