KAMNA CHHIBBER, CONSULTANT CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST, HEAD – MENTAL HEALTH, DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH AND BEHAVIOURAL SCIENCES, FORTIS HEALTHCARE, GURGAON, LISTS SOME POINTERS THAT YOU SHOULD KEEP IN MIND WHEN YOU HEAD BACK TO WORK
● Plan for the transition in advance. Mental preparedness for any transition goes a long way in taking care of the emotional experiences around a situation. Besides, it would also mean that you would have also instituted the required support to take care of your baby while you are away which would give you peace and confi dence.
● Make sure you create a support system from Day one. Ensuring that you are engaging the right people to take care of your baby is very crucial. Whether the support comes from within the family or in the form of a help or nanny, enlisting their support right after the birth of your child is always helpful. This enables you to feel confi dent that things are being done and that the person who would be supporting you understands your way of bringing up your baby as well.
● Stagger your joining date or the number of hours if the organisation permits it. With the advent of concepts like work-from-home, many organisations do provide women with the opportunity to be able to make their transition fully back to work in a staggered manner such that one can either start with a few hours a day every day or a few days of the week while working for the remainder from home.
● Create specifi c times when you touch base with your support at home. In order to take care of your anxiety and sense of guilt, it is a good idea to decide on specifi c times during the day when you would touch base with your supports at home. These could be done more frequently in the beginning, and the frequency of these interactions could be reduced over time as per your convenience and comfort.
● Stay connected to your child. If your child is older, you must use the phone or skype. Utilise technology to give yourself a sense of comfort and to make your child aware that you are available. Encourage your older child to connect with you any time she feels the need.
● Share your anxieties and concerns. Taking care of yourself requires that you should get feedback from multiple sources. It is a good idea to share with your close confi dantes if you are experiencing some stress or anxiety around not being as available for your child. Talking to others can always help generate more solutions and can help relieve you of the pressure you feel.
● Spend time with the child. When you get back home, you should try and engage with the child as much as possible, and utilise the time in as constructive a manner as possible, sharing things, listening to them, discussing things. Even if your child is too young, this will go a long way.
DR SHUBA DHARMANA
37, hair transplant surgeon and cosmetic dermatologist from Bengaluru. Mum to Nirvaan, 15 months Got back to work part-time when Nirvaan was 2 months.Managing breastfeeding “I tried breastfeeding for two months, but wasn’t successful for multiple reasons. Nirvaan has been on formula since then.”
“I received a lot of support at home from my mother-in-law who ably supervised two nannies and one night nurse I had hired. That allowed me to go back so quickly to work without trouble. Although I had other doctors at my clinics in Bengaluru and Hyderabad, the nature of my work is highly skilled so my presence was required in both my clinics. I could only manage it due to the amazing support from my family.”
“Nirvaan was never left alone, not even for a minute. I missed him when I was away at work, but never felt guilty that I was working because I knew he was well cared for. I’d rather he have a self-suffi cient, independent, powerful, working business woman/doctor as his mum than a housewife. I feel that children with working mothers grow up to respect both parents equally, and also respect women in general.”
“The baby was too small to have separation anxiety when I went back to work, and with so many loving people around, Nirvaan has become a very welladjusted baby without any emotionalissues whatsoever.”
Working around work
“I was not able to work in the lasttwo months of pregnancy because of complications. And I did not immediately go back to work after delivery. So, I lost out on a lot of opportunities during that time. Other than that, I have been managing work and baby well. My hours at the clinic are fl exible, so if the nanny needs a day off, I don’t fix many appointments on that particular day. Even otherwise, most days I set out to work only by 11 am, and am back by 5 pm to spend quality time with Nirvaan.”
“My work requires me to travel frequently every fortnight. In the earlier days, every time I travelled and came back, Nirvaan would show some stranger anxiety and refuse to come to me for a little while. That always broke my heart, and I wondered if he would ever bond with me. That changed after our recent holiday to Goa where we spent a blissful four days with Nirvaan and the entire family. I would take him into the sea every day where he would play in my lap in the water”.
“I had started Avaneesh off on semi solids when he was six months old. So, it was not hard for me to resume work as I was not exclusively breastfeedng. I would nurse him after coming back from work.”
“I am blessed with a very supportive husband and in-laws. My in-laws bathe, feed and take Avaneesh out for strolls. My colleagues are immensely supportive too. A month after I resumed work, Avaneesh came down with dengue and I had to take a an additional two-week leave. At that time, my colleagues came to the rescue, and volunteered to share my workload among themselves to allow me to focus on my baby’s health. They would also often take time out from a busy schedule to call and enquire about his health.”
“It was really hard for me to leave Avaneesh at home and go to office. I would suffer from terrible guilt and miss him tremendously. But, support from home made me strong and helped in focussing on my career. Had it not been for the reassurance that I got from both these quarters, it would have been tough to resume work.”
“I suffered more from serration anxiety than my baby! By the time I got back to my job, Avaneesh has adjusted beautifully with his grandparents so he didn’t have any trouble with the new routine.”
Working around work
“It’s easy to balance work and baby with proper time management and family support. I am thankful to my husband, in-laws and parents who have been very caring and supportive, which has enabled me to balance both work and home. Although I have not been able to attend outstation conferences, I intend to start attending them once he is two years old.”
“When your baby is growing, the nature and scope of his needs also continues to change. I need to keep track of all things what Avaneesh requires, and it’s a difficult task to know what your baby wants at that particular time. But I take each day as it comes without getting bogged down. I enjoy my time with my baby. His smile is what keeps me going and is my mantra for success.” ■
HEMANGI PRASAD, COUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGIST, DAV PUBLIC SCHOOL, NEW PANVEL GIVES THE FOLLOWING TIPS:
● Don’t carry work from offi ce to home, Concentrate wholly on the little one. She will be wanting your attention after so many hours of separation. That is a natural urge and right of the baby.
● If you are capable of paying an entire staff of cleaners, maids and cooks, then bonding with the baby becomes easier once at home. So don’t insist on becoming a superwoman, and do all house-jobs yourself. Instead, devote that time to your child so as to compensate for the time he/she lost when you were at offi ce.