Balancing Work & Parenting after Maternity: Tips for Navigating the Intersection
By: Dr. Gowri Kulkarni, Head of Medical Operations, MediBuddy
Dr. Gowri Kulkarni is a Specialist in Family Medicine and Adult psychological issues and has over 12 years of experience.She has worked with Bhatia Hospital, JJ Hospital, Columbia Asia Hospital and Nationwide Primary Healthcare Services and Ovum Hospitals. She now continues her clinical practice offline and online. She is an examiner with the MRCGP (Royal College of General Practitioners) - South Asia board. She is a lifetime member of the Association of Family Physicians of India (AFPI) and WONCA.
In the capacity of Head of Medical Operations at MediBuddy, India's leading cashless digital healthcare platform, her profile entails training of the in-house team, working with doctors, ensuring high-quality service and increasing the overall reach of MediBuddy.
The journey of becoming a parent is an amazing experience, but it can also be quite demanding. Despite the talk of gender equality, the role of the mother as the primary caregiver is still widely accepted. Balancing the responsibilities of managing the home, work, and taking care of an infant, while also prioritizing one's own health can be a Herculean task. The postpartum period brings about significant physical and emotional changes, making it important for both the mother and her family to understand how to best manage her mental and physical well-being.
Returning to work after maternity leave can be an exciting but challenging time for new mothers. Balancing work responsibilities and parenting duties can be difficult, but there are ways to navigate this intersection successfully. Here are some tips and strategies to help new parents manage their transition back to work and parenthood.
Here are some tips and strategies to help new parents manage their transition back to work and parenthood.
Plan Ahead: Before returning to work, take the time to plan. Create a schedule that works for you and your family, and try to get as much support as possible from your partner, family members, or a trusted child care provider. Make sure you have all the necessary supplies and equipment you need for both work and childcare and consider creating a routine or daily plan to help you stay on track.
Communicate with your Employer: Before returning to work, have a conversation with your employer or supervisor about your new responsibilities as a parent. Discuss your work hours, potential flexible arrangements, and any concerns or challenges you anticipate. This will help your employer understand your needs and can help them provide support to ensure a smooth transition.
Do not miss your postpartum appointments: It is important to attend all postpartum appointments with your healthcare provider to ensure that you are healing properly and to address any potential health issues that may arise.
Practice good hygiene: Good hygiene such as washing hands before caring for the infant is essential for preventing infection, particularly in the postpartum period.
Set Realistic Expectations: When returning to work after maternity leave, it's important to set realistic expectations for yourself. Don't try to do everything at once or put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect. Remember that you are adjusting to a new role as both a parent and a professional, so it's okay to make mistakes and take time to figure out what works best for you and your family.
Chalk out a Feeding Timetable: Leaving the baby home would require a clockwork precision timetable. As a new mother, consultation about choosing full, partial, or use formula would help understand the best solution to keep the baby well-fed and on a timely basis. A holistic session with a nutritionist will also help the new mother adequately plan her meals.
Managing Guilt: Going back to work post-delivery could make a new mother unnecessarily guilty of choosing a career over maternal responsibilities. Communication would be a key factor. Friends, family, and women who have experienced similar situations could calm down an anxious mind. Professional help from a healthcare expert could also give a different perspective with effective solutions.
Self-care: Prioritizing self-care can never fail. From monitoring what you eat to enjoying some time out alone or with your partner will only help you come back as a happy mother to the newborn.
Seek support: It is important to seek support from friends, family, or a healthcare provider if you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed. Postpartum depression is a common condition and can be effectively treated with the right support and care.
Eat a healthy diet: Eating a well-balanced diet is important for new mothers to support the healing process and ensure that they have the energy they need to care for their babies.
Taking care of oneself is crucial for new mothers who are balancing a professional life. By mindful planning, setting priorities, and following a routine, it is possible to maintain a work-life balance. With technology advancements and the availability of digital consultations, seeking medical advice has become more convenient than ever before. Although face-to-face consultations are recommended for serious cases, online consultations can be a reliable and suitable solution, especially for busy mothers who may find it challenging to schedule in-person appointments. Ultimately, prioritizing self-care and seeking timely medical advice can help new mothers successfully manage both their personal and professional responsibilities.