When I was pregnant I decided to take six months of leave after Liv’s birth. Six months to focus on breastfeeding, and enjoy my daughter.

I’ve not really ever been completely on leave, because this blog (amongst other things) continued, but I don’t count that. During the pregnancy, and after Liv’s birth, some little jobs crept creeping in. I thought that after a few months I’d be desperate for something to do outside the house. That’s what you often hear people say, and no matter how desperate I was to be a mom, I was sure I would miss my work a lot.

But the opposite is true…

Most mothers go back to work after around 3 months, so when I was planning a workshop during my pregnancy, I thought that it would be fine if I planned it for when Liv was about 3,5 months old. Until Liv was around… I kept thinking, “It’s still far away, when it comes around I’m sure it won’t be a problem” but the date came closer and closer, and I still just didn’t feel ready.

The birth photography workshop starts on a Friday evening, and runs through to Sunday evening. On Friday and Saturday we keep working until 10pm. Denny plays the role of father during the role play sections, and would be there the whole weekend, with Liv. I also had my father ready to babysit whenever Denny had his hands full with other tasks. I wasn’t sure how the breastfeeding would work out practically, and I hadn’t really thought about it. I would have to pump, or feed Liv. I can talk comfortably while feeding Liv, but not while pumping, so I decided to just feed her on demand. During the workshops I have virtually no free time, because during breaks I am usually busy preparing for the next part of the workshop.

Two weeks before the workshop I felt like I just couldn’t do it. The tears flowed! I decided to tell all the ladies who had booked the workshop exactly how I was feeling, and every one of them reacted so kindly (they are also all mamas). I immediately started to feel better, and felt a weight lift from my shoulders. I also told them about the pumping/feeding issue, and that I would feed Liv during the workshops, but that if anyone felt that it was not working they should just say so, and we would think of another solution at that time.

The workshop went perfectly. It was far more exhausting than previous workshops. I was a lot more stressed about it beforehand than I was during the actual workshop. Liv was very relaxed (as always), and Denny only brought her to me when she was hungry. I could feed her, and keep sharing information.

And yet, I would have no problem with not working for a year (or maybe longer?). I am more ‘mother’ than I ever thought I would be. I am fortunate enough to have the luxury of being able to feed my baby while I’m working, and I know how different that could be. I am now enjoying my last two weeks on leave, and then I will once again be on call for births (I couldn’t say no, so I’m starting a month earlier than planned). I’m looking forward to it, and I know I will have to do some letting go on the home front. Hopefully it’ll all be just fine, just as it was during the workshop. For now, there is a breast pump in the bag I keep packed for when I need to rush off to a birth. 😉

How was your experience of going back to work? How many weeks after having your baby did you go back to work? And were you still breastfeeding?

Terug aan het werk na de geboorte
Photos with logo by Gerjanne Immeker and photos without logo made with a phone by Franka Schuurer