It’s official. My maternity leave is coming to a close, after eighteen months off work. A couple days ago, if you had asked me how I was feeling about my impending return to work, I would have told you I was a bit nervous about making the transition, but overall felt fine about it. By Saturday evening, however, my confidence in my decision had wavered significantly, and I started feeling increasingly anxious about this upcoming change in our lives.
I’m not sure what triggered the change in my attitude. One minute I was feeling great about all of it, and the next I was almost in tears at the thought of leaving Penelope with another caregiver. I just felt completely overwhelmed and stressed out by the magnitude of the situation.
What if I have made the wrong decisions? What if Penelope is unhappy with the change and she regresses? What if the chaos of the morning rush is too stressful for Mark when I’m working days? What if I’m not working enough hours for paying a nanny to be financially viable? What if, what if, what if?
Once these thoughts entered my head, there was no stopping the tidal wave of anxiety that followed. Every worst case scenario ran through my head, along with the memory of every bad decision I’ve ever made, which provided proof that I make bad decisions and that this would turn out to be a disaster. My favourite imaginary outcome involves Mark having a meltdown while trying to deal with the morning time-crunch, and the nanny attempting to sell Penelope on the black market. I did not get much sleep on Saturday night, and when I woke up to darkened skies and pouring rain, I felt that Mother Nature was illustrating my anguish.
As the day wore on, I sunk deeper and deeper into my funk. Mark tried to reassure me that everything would work out okay, but it felt kind of hard to believe him when he had difficulty getting out of the house to get Charlotte to soccer at 10 a.m. I felt lost, scared, and overwhelmed. Desperate for a distraction, I headed out to the gym once Penelope was down for her nap.
Honestly, the minute I started to feel overcome with anxiety, I should have headed to the gym. The workout completely changed my mood and my perspective. Somewhere in between sweating through my cardio workout and working on my core exercises, I became calm again. I could see that I was worrying too much about all of this. Not only are those worst case scenarios unlikely to come true, but even if things aren’t working out for whatever reason, we can always reassess the situation and find a different solution that will work for our family.
And so I will head into work this morning with relative calm. I will resist the urge to text the nanny every five minutes to find out if everything is okay. As most of you are reading this, I will probably already be at work, trying to shake the dust off my nursing skills.
I will miss these faces, though.