My Maternity Leave Ended…Maybe… – Week 7 Postpartum – Part 1

exhausted baby and mom

This week I was returning to work.

And I was really freaking sad. I was not looking forward to going back to work at all. I think it was a couple of different things, but mainly knowing that Jolee was my absolute last baby made me sad.

I just wasn’t ready to go back to reality. I had truly enjoyed my time off with her. 6 weeks just isn’t enough.

Thankfully, I was only going back part time.

I was going to be working 3 full days throughout the week and I was going to be off 2 full days. I was approved to be part time until the beginning of September which was much longer than I anticipated and I wasn’t entirely sure that I was go to be part time for long for pure financial reasons. I wasn’t sure how long we could afford for me to only be part time. But, I was happy that I at least had the opportunity.

The morning of my first day back, I was so sad.

I slept like crap that night with Jolee and she didn’t sleep great either. She woke up super early and I put her in the swing and she went back to sleep. Since I was already awake, I decided to go ahead and get ready. The entire time, I was fighting back tears. I just was not ready to go back to work.

When I was ready, I woke her up and got her ready. I just hugged her and kissed her and told her I loved her over and over all while holding back all my emotions. I knew if I let them completely overcome me, there would be no return.

7 week old

Today she was staying at my grandma’s house. I dropped her off and I STILL was not ready to leave her. I think my grandma picked up on it because she told me not to cry. Almost instantly, tears welled up in my eyes.

Jesus, this was hard.

I was not worried about Jolee at all, I just simply wasn’t ready to leave her.

My day at work started out pretty good. I was just trying to get back in the swing of being a contributing member of society. Work was actually a welcome distraction. I was happy to slowly get back in my routine.

And then I got a text at 11:00 a.m. from my grandma.

She told me that Jolee would not take a bottle. I gave her two bottles to try and she said neither were working.

I did not even know what to think. She had taken a bottle a couple of times before, so I did not think it was going to be an issue. I prayed it was just a fluke. I asked her if she thought I needed to come get her and she said no she would try to bottle again later. And I was okay with that.

I text her around the time of her next feeding and I didn’t hear anything right away. I hoped that was a good sign.

It wasn’t.

She said she took barely anything and she fought her the whole way.

I instantly felt guilty. I was at work while my baby wasn’t eating. And I was the only person that could fix it.

After two feedings and her not eating, I told her that I would be on my way.

When I got there, I feel like you could tell Jolee was defeated. All she wanted was me. I fed her and she ate for a very long time. Afterwards, she was just so tired. It made me so sad.

exhausted baby and mom

That whole night she ate off and on almost the whole night. You could just tell she was so exhausted, but she was also so hungry.

On top of going back to work, leaving her, her not eating, I became increasingly emotional that night. I just felt bad and guilty for leaving her.

And let me tell you, guys in general just don’t get it. Scott was having zero compassion for me. He’s been back to work for 6 weeks already so it didn’t make any difference to him that I had just returned to work. He kept telling me that I was doing the right thing and I was doing this for our family (by being at work).

Well it sure as fuck didn’t feel like it.

The next morning I was instantly sad again. I just didn’t want to do this all over again. I didn’t want to go through all of these emotions again. What if she didn’t take the bottle again? I was dreading it.

Today, she was staying with my mother in law. My mother in law has successfully gotten her to take the bottle a couple of weeks ago, so my hopes were better for today.

It wasn’t long before I got the dreaded text…she was not taking the bottle…AGAIN.

I was in the middle of a meeting and I told my boss what was going on and I instantly teared up. I just had no fucking idea what I was going to do. I never had to deal with this before. Not with Raelynn or Briar. I had no idea how to fix this and I’m a fixer.

I do not cry at work, ever. And especially not in front of my boss. He could see how upset I was. He told me to pack up and leave. I am forever thankful for such an understanding boss.

When I got to her, it was the same thing. It was like Jolee was defeated. I know I keep saying it, but just the look in her eyes was so sad.

anxiety being away from child

As I sat there and fed her for the first time in 5 hours, I just wasn’t sure what I was going to do.

What if she didn’t take the bottle tomorrow?

What if she didn’t take the bottle over the weekend?

I HAD to work Monday – Wednesday of next week because it was month end which is a big deal in the accounting world.

How in the hell was this going to work?

What if she didn’t take the bottle at all?

It was a question that I never thought I would be asking myself. It was so easy with the other girls. And Jolee had taken a bottle before so what in the hell was going on now?

In that moment, I just prayed over and over that she would take the bottle. I didn’t know what else to do.

It’s so unfortunate that this is the most dreaded question, but was I really going to have to take additional time off that would be 100% UNPAID so Jolee could take a bottle?

We absolutely could not afford for me to take unpaid time off, but I also had to feed my child. I hated the predicament that I was in. I hated everything about the health care system in America at that moment.

Who decided that 6 weeks was the magical number of weeks to go back to work?

I literally pushed an 8.6 lb baby out of my vagina 6 weeks ago. I can guarantee you that I am not healed yet, physically or mentally.

Who actually decided, Yes, let’s get these mothers to return to work at 6 weeks postpartum when they are barely sleeping 3 hour stretches at night, barely functioning through the day, but yes, let’s get these women back to work and push them to make tough decisions at work and then we wonder why they fail or falter under pressure. Well because someone decided 6 weeks was the magic number to get our asses back to work.

I digress…

After I fed her, we drove home, and I put her down for a nap because she was exhausted.

When I was convinced she was asleep, I popped open my laptop to finish a report I had started while I was at work. Because, you know, 6 weeks….

After working for about an hour, I had an email pop up from HR with a subject line of “New Parental Policy“. Well, that obviously grabbed my attention, so I opened it immediately.

In short, the company I work for was implementing a new policy effective July 1 that would give new mother 20 weeks of PAID time off. T W E N T Y W E E K S!!!! That is insane. Within the policy, they included a “look back” period that would allow me to reap some, but not all of the benefits of this new policy. The look back period stated that anyone that had a child from April – June of 2019 would get 12 weeks of PAID time off. I had already taken 6 weeks of paid time off, so I was essentially being granted an additional 6 weeks of PAID TIME. Read that again.


Literally 2 hours ago I was praying to God that Jolee would take the bottle. I didn’t care which bottle, I just needed her to take it.

And then I got this email that solved a large majority of my problems.

I was in absolute shock.

How miraculous is the timing of this?

Little did I know…I had more hurdles in front of me…