The worst day of my life happened exactly 7 weeks and 5 days after my little girl was born. To this day, when I think back on that day, my stomach sinks. On June 15, 2014, I had to drop off my newborn baby, to be watched by someone other than myself, so I could return to work.
I had severe anxiety in the weeks leading up to my first day separated from my daughter. I found myself having panic attacks and breakdowns on a regular basis. I would purposely stay awake and watch her sleep at night just trying to soak in as much of her as I could before my first day back. I relished our middle of the night nursing sessions because it was a little more time I got to spend with her.
The night before I returned invoked little, if any sleep. That morning I woke and nursed my baby and sobbed knowing I wasn’t going to nurse her again until bedtime that night. My drive to drop her off went by far too fast. As I drove I tried to think of every positive thought I could muster to stop myself from crying. I went in and dropped Madison off and ran back to my car trying with every fiber of my soul to not go back in and get her. The drive to work was a blur; literally. The tears pouring down my face made it impossible to see clearly.
There has never been a day in my life that has gone by slower than my first day back at work. At the time, I was a job coach. I coached and mentored individuals struggling with addiction, mental illness, and overcoming the culture of poverty. I knew I had to be composed at work. I needed to be the stable person for my workers. I allowed myself exactly three breakdowns per day. Those occurred simultaneously while I was locked in my own private room to pump breast milk for my newborn.
I have since had the blessing of quitting my job to fill, what I believe is, the most important job; being a mother. I look back at my year of working while Madison was a baby with such tender feelings. I worked with and coach some of the most amazing individuals that year. The challenges they faced and their attitudes towards life were truly inspirational to me. I could feel the Lord helping me through those tough months of missing out on precious moments in Madison’s life, including many of her firsts like laughing and taking her first steps.
You moms out there who work in the workforce while also caring for your children, you are amazing! You deserve a huge pat on the back. It’s definitely not something for the faint of heart. Whether it’s something you choose to do or something you do out of necessity, it is hard. But if there is one thing I have learned in life, it’s that we can do hard things!