Working mom profile: Jillian Roger
Jillian Roger worked as a teacher in Omaha, NE, for two maternity leaves and transitions back to work. I commend her courageous honesty about the experience with post-partum depression during her first transition back to work; so many moms go through PPD and think they're alone when they're not! Here is Jillian's story:
I have always been a high achieving person. Through high school and college I strived to be the best in everything I did. So when I became pregnant, I had to be the best that I could for the baby growing inside of me. A natural childbirth--without any medication or interventions--was my top priority. We attended Bradley Method childbirth classes, went to every midwife visit with questions, and took vitamins and exercised regularly. When my labor and delivery didn’t go as I had planned, I felt like a failure even though I had a healthy baby boy. That expectation of perfection carried over into motherhood. I thought I could have my baby, spend the summer off with him, and go back to my job as a teacher without any problems. I put a lot of pressure on myself to exclusively breastfeed, cloth diaper, finish graduate school, keep the house clean, and be a wife to my husband. Spinning all of those plates at the same time was exhausting and, frankly, impossible.
I think I first felt the signs when I stayed home with him in the summer, but I did not understand what I was experiencing. I had incredible anxiety about my son getting hurt, even in the safest situations. This was exacerbated when I went back to work fulltime in the fall as a teacher. Drop-off at daycare in the morning was so heart-wrenching. I walked out of the infant room in tears most days. I found myself foggily trudging through the day--not being able to concentrate on any task. Coupled with pumping--my worst enemy--I felt my anxiety and postpartum depression (PPD) fester. All I wanted was to be with my child. I sought out help from my doctor and was given a way out of my depression. It’s been over 2 years since I finished my course of treatment but I still feel a sense of fear that the depression will again rear its ugly head.
Although my workplace is not conducive to a Third Space-type environment, I wish there was an option for an alternative work environment for teachers. I longed to nurse my baby throughout the day, to feel his little warm body in my arms, and watch as he attempted to achieve new milestones. We had a daughter in February 2016 and went through the same set of struggles. Although I avoided getting PPD with after her birth, I still feel the dread of the daycare drop-off and being separated from my children for 8 hours. We make the most of the mornings, evenings, and weekends together, but I wish I didn’t have to choose between a career and being a mother.
If you are a working mom with a transition-back-to-work story you'd like us to share, please contact us today! We'd love to hear about your experience.
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