I loved my job, I really loved what I did and believed that I was truly making a difference. When I found out I was pregnant, I was certain to return back to work. As an extremely extroverted person who gets her energy from people, the idea of staying home was something I never thought I would consider.
But here I was, two months after giving birth to my son, I found myself sitting at the kitchen counter typing my resignation letter. I was scared and apprehensive. In that moment, I knew it was the right thing to do — for my family and for my baby. But I didn’t know if it was the right thing to do for me. I was in pain, still recovering from the delivery and extremely overwhelmed with my new life. I felt stuck and questioned every single decision — as small as, should I dress my baby in full or half sleeves. And I was expected to take this HUGE decision. I was depressed and feared what my life would be like staying at home full time. I feared I will loose myself with the demands of child and home care. But I also knew that I won’t know other until I experience it.
In my culture, it is expected for the mother to stay home with the child at least for the first couple of years. While I had a lot of support from my husband to do whatever I wished to do, my other family members were not so supportive. I was judged and constantly reminded how awful it will be for my baby if I went back to work. They assured me that my precious baby boy will be sick constantly and will have trouble thriving. Even though they knew more than half of the babies in US go to daycare before 3 months of age and THRIVE !!
I ignored them all and started looking for child care options as soon as I was able to function like a human being. we looked into daycare options and also at home nannies. Though extremely expensive, I was much more comfortable about the idea of someone taking care of my baby in my home. we found someone amazing! An older Indian grandma who assured me that she will take care of our baby just like her own. we decided on a start date a week before I was supposed to go back to work — to ease transition. I felt pretty happy with my choice. And then almost within few minutes of her leaving our house, it hit me… she was going to bathe him, play with him and rock him to sleep everyday. She will get to take him on walks, sit with him on the porch swing, sing to him. She will see his first smile, him rolling over for the first time, hear him babble for the first time. And I will miss it ALL.
Within a minute I realized I don’t want that. I don’t want to miss all that. In that instance, my whole world changed and I made the decision to stay home with my baby.
More power to all the women who have to and are able to work outside of the home. I can imagine how hard it must be for them to leave their baby every morning. To all of those women — you are my heroes. I can’t do what you do. Just not yet. Maybe some day, but not yet.
Previously published on “A Parent Is Born”, a Medium publication.
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