The maternity period is a period of mixed emotions, you cherish the oncoming motherhood stage and at the same time, you are going through so many emotional as well as physical changes that it becomes difficult for you to work. This emotional conflict plays an adverse impact on working women, who have a hard time coping with the stresses of professional life.
Because of the high premiums our society places on motherhood, returning to work for some women can become difficult after maternity.
Another reason is that women, especially in India, are brought up in such a way that a woman’s career is never considered as important as a man’s. Moreover, women are taught that their career is a secondary issue, as only a man is a provider in the house. Thus, the post- pregnancy phase is the time when a woman’s job is just to look after the child and house. Even if some women decide to work, they are filled with a sense of guilt at leaving their child and not being a stereotypical stay-at-home mother.
Even on the professional front, women have to deal with much criticism. They are made to feel guilty for not quitting and looking after their children. They are also not given any important or challenging projects as during post-pregnancy, women are considered not capable of delivering on goals. In the beginning it is helpful as the transition in itself is quite tiring and on top of it, if you get an exhausting project, it can be devastating to not being able to manage things.
In a survey conducted in India’s capital Delhi and its neighboring areas, it was reported that only a small percentage of women i.e. 18-34% were able to continue working post-pregnancy. Leading businesswoman Anu Aga thus commented that it is difficult for women to continue working because “of the social conditioning of women that their responsibility is to bring up children.”
According to the World Bank study, it was discovered that only 27% of the female population over the age of 15 is employed in India. Among the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries, this is the lowest, highest being 64% in China.
However, it is difficult to return to work after maternity and not impossible. It’s not always that you face these problems.
Moreover, we have also jotted some simple pieces of advice for a successful transition back to work–
Before planning to return to work, you must sit down and think for a while on how you can balance the tasks at work and home, so that you don’t exhaust yourself. Be practical about your approach and set realistic goals. Don’t pressurize yourself for being perfect. It is okay to not be perfect!
Don’t think that everything will be all smooth and according to your plan. Line up the alternatives for emergency situations, be it forgetting something for work, or the official babysitter’s unexpected leave. You should be ready for all the situations.
Before returning to work it is beneficial for you to be in touch with your employer and have a clear understanding of what to expect at work. Have an open discussion with your employer about the job responsibilities and your options, don’t take work that isn’t realistic for you. Even discuss with your employer about flexible or part-time work arrangement.
You should also be in touch with your coworkers. Your coworkers play a crucial role in helping you make the home to work transition. Their support can make it easier for you to adjust back in the work environment.
However, if you want to take full care of your child as well as be independent, there are plenty of opportunities for you to work from home. You can try freelancing and work from home jobs offered online. Technology has made things easier for us, if we know how to use it the right way!