Monday marks the end of my maternity leave. And I am absolutely dreading it. If you would have asked me my feelings about being a stay at home mom before Avery was born, my response would have been that it's not for me. Prior to June of 2012, I was very much career driven. I would never been able to imagine staying home with my kids all day. I thought I would go stir crazy. At that time, I very much found a lot of my identity in my work. It was part of who I was.
Going back to work after losing Avery was hard. She gave me a brief glimpse into motherhood. Returning to work after losing her was wrong in so many ways. It wasn't the return I imagined. I was back sooner than planned and on the outside nothing had changed. I got up alone, got ready alone and left the house alone. It was just wrong. She should have been there with me, I should have been stressing about getting both of us ready, I should have been taking a different route to work to drop off at daycare. Mentally, I was checked out. I didn't want to be there. I had no focus, no drive, I was still grieving deeply and beyond exhausted. Over time, I got back into the swing of work. But my heart never fully was back into it. Work no longer held my identity like it had in the past. I was no longer driven mainly by work, it was no longer who I was. Instead I became a mix of career and bereaved mother.
Now with Harper my mindset has changed so much more. I would give up my career in a second to be a stay at home mom. To be one of those moms who goes to mommy and me groups, to be one of those moms who has time to make my own baby food, to spend all day with Harper-loving her, teaching her and watching her grow. No part of me is ready to go back. I feel so guilty that I'm leaving her. I'm so overwhelmed with anxiety about returning, I've been making myself sick. I. Don't. Want. To. Go.
Never would I have imagined I would lose my drive for my career. But truth be told, I have. Going back is going to be the hardest thing I've done since we had to say bye to Avery. I don't know how I'm going to get through each day. I don't know how I will stay focused and do the level and quality of work I once did. I don't know how I'll leave her every morning. I don't know if I'll be able to put in long hours or handle the stress like I use to. That's not who I am anymore. I'm no longer, Crystal the HR professional. Now, I'm Crystal, the mother of two amazing girls.
I know so many women balance work and motherhood but as I sit here, holding my sleeping rainbow, I really worry about losing this time with her. There aren't enough hours in the day already and now I'll be spending 8+ hours a day away from this precious girl.
Motherhood has changed me yet again and I wouldn't have it any other way. I just hope both of my girls know that I do it for them.