The guilt is bad enough going back to work when your baby is only 5 months old, but to leave her for 8 nights and travel to a different continent for work? The guilt just pours out of me. Eughhhh.
It was a tough week leaving Aviana behind. Especially as the first night I was away she decided to wake up three times in the night rather than sleep through (typically what she has been doing for the past few weeks). Poor Chris has had to deal with that, and on top of that, she caught her first cold.
I feel guilty that I was not there to cuddle and soothe her when she wakes in the night, I feel guilty I was not there to share the load of care, I feel guilty that my husband doesn’t get a respite, I feel guilty that I get to sleep without being woken by a crying baby (although I did have several dreams where I woke up in a panic that I had lost Aviana somewhere in the hotel room!), I feel guilty that I couldn’t store enough breastmilk for Aviana to have the entire week (I was only able to freeze 70oz and I needed twice that), I feel guilty that I couldn’t nurse her.
It has been a strange first week back to work. I saw people who last time saw me with a big bump, or people who have only ever known me pregnant! I reunited with a few people who are obviously sensitive to these things, and gingerly asked if everything went alright with the birth. I was impressed at these people, I won’t forget their sensitivity and made me secretly wonder what sad stories have touched their lives in the past.
The great news is that I can shed some of my constant burden and guilt is that I finally graduated from my 9 month executive development programme! Whoop whoop! I presented my team’s project to some of the most senior staff in the organisation and it went down very well. I’m sad that my team has disbanded, I got to work with some of the best my organisation has, we worked well through a tough problem, through conflict of opinions, and with time always against us, but we got it done, and it was actually fun at times. The past few months of my maternity leave I have always had the weight of our team project on my shoulders, in addition to undertaking all the distance learning modules. There were times on my maternity leave that I was on a team conference call at 7AM (because they are all in Europe) whilst rocking my crying baby, or writing meeting minutes whilst breastfeeding my baby. I always felt guilty that I was never giving my all – to both my daughter and to my project team. But I needn’t have worried because my team never noticed or even had a hint that I was multi-tasking during these calls. It’s over now and I can finally shed that weight off my shoulder.
I will have to travel for work some more, that is just the nature of my job. It’s going to be tough on both Aviana and Chris. I don’t know how Aviana misses me because she can’t exactly communicate it clearly how she feels, but I know it will get harder as she gets a bit older…or may be not, may be she will just be used to it as I travel from an early age. I don’t know how these things work, we will just have to go with the flow.
So yes, feeling guilty here, I didn’t think I would miss Aviana quite as much as I did. I missed her so much that when I think about her my tear well fills up to the point of almost over flowing. I just wanted to run across the airport when I landed home to get back as quickly as possible to see her. Is it hormones? Is it love? I’d say probably both.
The greatest thing that happened is when I got home and saw Aviana for the first time in a week…she smiled, giggled coyly and reached her arms up for me. THE BEST feeling ever. Just wish I didn’t have to feel so guilty when I leave her.