Working moms need maternity return—not just maternity leave. Having lived through the highs and lows of balancing a career with motherhood for most of my own professional life, I believe leave should be just one part of a much more comprehensive maternity plan.
As many working moms know, the hardest thing about maternity leave is not being away from your job for a few weeks or months. The bigger challenge, for many of us, is coming back.
Mothers reentering the working world rarely find the logistical or personal support they need to continue to thrive in a career. All the normal stress of work is now compounded with baby logistics and the pressure to catch up on work, along with the guilt of being away in the first place. This is all while losing an average of an hour of sleep a night—and what sleep new mothers do grab is often fragmented and much lower quality, and may not return to normal recommended levels until six years after the birth of a child. (Adoptive parents face similar sleep and anxiety issues, it should be noted.)
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