This is: The transition back to work after maternity leave

It wasn't so long ago that your co-workers hosted a thoughtful baby shower and you packed up the essentials from your desk before embarking on maternity leave. So how is it that so much has changed?

When you last walked out those doors, you were a mom—expectant, hopeful and a bit nervous. Now, you are a capital-M Mom—probably still a bit nervous, but also overwhelmingly in love and amazed (if you do say so yourself) with how well you are managing this new role.

The transition back to work isn't just the transition back from maternity leave, though. It's the introduction of the you who is a mother to the working world. Soon enough, you'll realize just how uniquely skilled and capable this working mom version of you really is—thanks to new clarity about what matters, a new sense of purpose for the time spent at work, and new ambition for navigating that work-life balance.

But with the end of maternity leave just on the horizon, it's to be expected that some new concerns will pop up. Not only are you emotionally preparing to trust others with the care of your baby, but you're also staring down some still-foreign logistical challenges like packing bottles for daycare drop-off or pumping while on the job.

For many moms, it can also mean a whole new world of #momguilt. You're suddenly faced with drop-offs and good-byes you've never had to tackle. For the first time, you wonder how and what your baby is doing without you there to answer his cries and administer his favorite tickles. As you do your best to adjust back into the working world, you also wrestle with worries and wonder if you're doing it all wrong.

It's a lot, often all at once. But that's been the story of your life for the past few weeks, hasn't it?

You know by now mama that there's not really much room for "easing into" this new stage of life. While it can feel a whole lot like jumping into the deep end and having no choice but to swim, you aren't in this alone. For every worry and moment of guilt you feel, there have been a thousand mamas before you who have wrestled the same concerns and pangs of doubt. But you don't have to feel unprepared.

Trust people when they say they want to help you. Work with your partner by dividing and conquering tasks, like they clean the bottles while you prepare tomorrow's daycare bag. Feel confident about the value you bring to your workplacebecause you are a mom, not in spite of that.

It may take a few days. Or a few weeks. Or a few months. But you've got time to figure it out.

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