The importance of support when returning to work – Maternal Mental Health Week

The transition when returning to work after having a baby can be challenging for mothers, both physically and emotionally. As anyone who has experienced returning to work will know, it is not uncommon for mums to experience a range of emotions such as anxiety, overwhelm, guilt, sadness, self-doubt and stress when returning to work after maternity leave.

Often feeling completely overwhelmed trying to organise it all, and feeling like you are failing at everything, or doing half a job at home and half a job at work. And often, depending which stage a mum is at in the transition back, will depend on how they are feeling and what they are experiencing. It is such a rollercoaster and this has a huge impact on mums mental health.

Parallels can be drawn between transitioning back to work and the 4th trimester:

  • It can hit mums harder than they anticipated
  • It is a rollercoaster of emotions where mums are trying to find their feet with this new balance
  • Perhaps they feel others around them are coping better than they are, or are more capable than they are.

Supporting maternal mental health is essential during this transition as it can impact not only the mother’s well-being but also the baby’s.

Employers play a crucial role in supporting new mothers’ mental health during this transition. This support can be offered in a number of ways. Some examples are:

  • Offering a phased return to the workplace.
  • Ensuring clear guidelines and structures are in place to support the re-induction of the returner
  • Training for managers to ensure colleagues supported consistently and fairly
  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Providing access to mental health resources
  • Creating a supportive and inclusive work environment

As we know, it is so important for Mums to have support during this transition in order for them to be able to prioritize their own mental health and take steps where they can, such as:

  • seeking social support, through friends, family, work, groups, local resources.
  • Practicing self-care in whatever form that is for Mum
  • and setting realistic expectations for themselves.

It is key for mums to know they are never alone when trying to navigate this difficult transition both personally and professionally, and promoting maternal mental health and supporting mothers’ transition back to work after maternity leave is crucial for the well-being of both the mother and the baby.

Tips on preparing yourself for your return

Maternal Mental Health Week 1st – 7th May ’23 – see The Family Edit for more blog on all things Motherhood

back to work, maternity leave, working parents