Going Back to Work After Maternity Leave

Going back to work after maternity leave is, without a doubt, a huge challenge. Many women don't want the day to ever come, while others look forward to it. Dealing with this stage requires preparation, organization, and optimism.
Going Back to Work After Maternity Leave
María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez.

Written by Yamila Papa

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Going back to work after maternity leave can be one of the hardest things for some mothers. They don’t want the moment to come and when it happens, they suffer a lot.

In the following article, we’ll provide recommendations on how to get through this situation in the best way possible.

Go back to work again or not?

For some women, returning to work after giving birth is synonymous with regaining some freedom and independence. For others, it’s an anguishing, stressful, and even scary situation.

The arrival of a child affects all new mothers, but in very different ways. It’s true that we love what we do and the work we have. However, the truth is, by becoming a mother, your mind and heart will change.

That’s why many mothers consider whether they should return to work or not. Additionally, they wonder when the best time to go back is. 

For some companies, once maternity leave is over, women can request an extension without pay. That is, they don’t work and don’t receive any pay. Additionally, they could work less hours, such as half-days.

During the first year of the baby’s life, mothers have the right to breastfeed during the workday or leave earlier. With all this, some moms aren’t sure if they want to go back or not.

Money is an important factor

Of course, everyone has different economic situationsSome can stay at home and take care of the kids while their husband works. However, others need to make money to support their family.

Whatever the decision is, it’s important to think about the future, not just the present. Giving up work might not be an economic issue, but rather an emotional one.

A woman who stays at home can feel depressed, irritable, and even bored. Kids can be affected by these emotions too.

Going Back to Work After Maternity Leave

It’s also possible to feel guilty leaving the baby in the care of another person. Many women feel like they’re bad mothers for doing this.

However, when you have to work, think of working as the way to show your unconditional love for your children. After all, it’s how you provide them with food, shelter, and everything they need.

Tips for working after maternity leave

If you have to work after maternity leave, even if it’s what you want, keep in mind that it isn’t easy. Therefore, here are some tips:

1. Prepare yourself mentally

A few days before the date marked in red on the calendar, you need to prepare – not only about who will stay with the baby, but also the emotional issues you may experience. You need to be ready to leave your child with someone else that you trust.

“Many mothers consider whether they should return to work or not. Additionally, they wonder when the best time to go back is.”

2. Change your sleep routine

Since your child was born, you may not remember what it feels like to sleep 8 hours straight. Now that you have to work after maternity leave, it’s important that you get enough rest.

Going to bed early, establishing a schedule, and napping when the baby naps will become normal. You’ll also need to start getting up earlier.

Going Back to Work After Maternity Leave

3. Make going back to work a party!

If you’re depressed or distressed because you have to go back to work after maternity leave, the best thing you can do is turn that event into something worth celebrating. What if you buy a dress, shoes or a new bag for your first day back?

You can also reward yourself with something you like a lot. For example, ice cream, a piece of chocolate cake, or a pair of earrings. The idea is that going back to work isn’t a bad thing, but an opportunity to give yourself a treat.

Finally, if in the middle of the workday, you feel the need to check on your baby, we recommend doing something to distract yourself. For example, watch a video on the internet, listen to happy music, or talk with a colleague. Of course, when you get home, enjoy every moment with your child!


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Brandth, Berit y Elin Kavande. (2002): «Reflexive Fathers: Negotiating Pa- rental Leave and Working Live», Gender, Work, and Organization, 9 (2): 186-203.
  • Bruning, Gwennaele y Janneke Plantenga. (1999): Pa- rental leave and equal opportunities: experiences in eight European countries, Journal of European Social Policy, 9 (3): 195-209.
  • Desai, Sonalde y Linda J. Waite. (1991): «Women’s Employment during Pregnancy and after the First Birth: Occupational Characteristic and Work Commitment», American Sociological Review, 56: 551-566.
  • Lapuerta, I. (2013). ¿ Influyen las políticas autonómicas en la utilización de la excedencia por cuidado de hijos?. Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas (REIS), 141(1), 29-60. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cis/reis/2013/00000141/00000001/art00002

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.