Reverse Mommy Guilt

I’m experiencing Mommy Guilt already… I didn’t think that was possible!  However, it’s the opposite of how I would imagine most mommies, or in my case, mommies-t0-be, experience it.  From parents whose blogs I read to friends I know with kids, a few women experience some form of guilt when they go back to work once maternity leave is up.  (Please note that I say a few women and I am not generalizing about all the mommies everywhere.)  While I’m sure that when its my time to go back to work after my leave has ended I’ll have some mixed feelings of my own, that’s not where my guilt lies.

I’m currently feeling guilty about leaving my job for three months because I’m having a baby.

Does that make sense?

We had been trying for a few months before I got pregnant, so I didn’t plan to be out when I will be, but my maternity leave will basically begin during one of the busiest times of the year for my office, and especially my department.  The travel ramps up along with the amount of events that we’re responsible for, and I won’t be there physically or mentally to help out.  In addition to this, we’ve hired a new person, which is great, but due to paperwork/the hiring process/etc., their start date isn’t until the first week of May, which means that I can’t help to train them in any way, shape or form before I go (my due date and end of work date is May 10).  Granted, if I were in the last few months of pregnancy vs the last few weeks, it’s not like I would be able to help out in the same capacity that I could normally, but it would be something.  My team is so great and I feel ALL OF THE GUILTIES for leaving them right as the crazy season starts.

On top of that, I’m not going back to work right when my 12 weeks are up.  I will be going back to work, trust me on that – we bought a house – can’t afford not to!  BUT Dave is having surgery to repair his torn ACL at the end of August, and I can’t in good conscience leave him alone when he’ll be immobile for at least 10 days post-surgery. Also can’t very well leave the baby with him, since he won’t be able to get around on his own.  Family and friends would definitely step up and pitch in if I had to return to work, but I’m very fortunate that my job is so accommodating and willing to let me be home with him while he recuperates.  I know it puts me at ease at least.

So I return to work in September – and September is an insane month at work too!!  I will probably do some work from home to ease back in before my official return date, but still.  I won’t be able to travel as much as the rest of the team, to be honest I don’t know how much travel I can do in the beginning, so my best bet is just to be ready to dive right in the minute I get back, and try to help out the best of my abilities.

Have any other mommies experienced these feelings of guilt associated with their jobs?  I know I can’t be the only one.  I just feel so… bad.  Like I’m abandoning the people who need me.  🙁



  1. Can’t offer any advice as for the mommy guilt – but I can say that I had my ACL repaired in 2001 and I was definitely NOT immobile for 10 days. I had surgery on Friday and was driving on Monday (granted it was my left knee, but still!). It isn’t fun and he’ll be in pain but he won’t be bedridden!

    Sidenote – omg how is it this close to your due date?!

    • That’s good to hear from you – but the doctor told Dave he’d be in a full length cast for 10 days after the surgery, and pretty much on bed rest! We’ll see!!

      And I KNOW!

  2. I started working for my current company as a temp employee working at the desk of a woman who had been put on bed rest a month before she was to go on maternity leave. I had 10 minutes of training when she came to the office for her baby shower luncheon. It was our company’s busiest time. I thought I was going to die. BUT, it all worked out. Everything was fine. She ended up not coming back from maternity leave and I have loved working where I do.

    I know you know this, but your company will be just fine. I’d suggest making a really good “how-to” book for the new employee, complete with screen shots of any tricky computer bits, and let them handle it. 🙂


  3. I personally didn’t feel guilty at all during maternity leave mainly because I only got 6 weeks which I’m still bitter about and because my time off fell during one of our slower seasons so that was good. However my coworker is pregnant for the 2nd time and due in Sept and the fall is our busy time. The worst part is this is the THIRD time she’s taking off in Sept. She got married in Sept and took off for her honeymoon back in ’08, then had her first baby in Sept of ’10 and took off 6 weeks and now again this year. Needless to say we’re all a bit annoyed but also very happy for her. (She insists both times she didn’t mean to get pregnant when she did).

    • That’s what I keep telling my coworkers – I didn’t plan for my due date to be when it is! We were trying to have a baby due much earlier in the year – didn’t work out that way!

  4. More than guilty, I just feel stressed that not everything will be finished/transitioned before I go on maternity leave. I’ve been out sick for the last 2.5 days and it has given me a glimpse into the future and let me tell you, things are a mess. Not the end of the world, of course, but I just know I’ve got to do as much as possible to make sure things are tended to properly once I’m gone. I will not be a happy camper if I’m getting dozens of calls while I’m out.

  5. This post is me! I got pregnant the first time we tried, which I was not expecting. This makes me leave at EXACTLY the worst time in the whole year. I love my firm and the people I work with and dreaded telling them that I would be deserting them in September. I’m taking 6 months total off, which is basically our entire busy season. When I do return to work, it will be dead. I feel incredibly guilty and worry about this affecting my career, which I’m very dedicated to. I know everyone will be ok without me, but I still feel bad.

  6. Absolutely. I got put off work two months early by my doctor after a little preterm labour action when I was seven months pregnant, and I even feel guilty about that. In Canada, you’re eligible for up to a year’s maternity leave, and I feel guilty about wanting to take the whole thing, even though my little boy will only be small once and I’ll be working for, ohhhh, forever.

    • I wish we had the 1 year mat leave like you guys do! I can’t imagine being away from work for that amount of time… but I guess if I lived in Canada I’d be used to it!

  7. I’m going through a lot of the same issues. We are just now really getting back into our groove after a slow winter and business is steadily building and will keep getting more demanding through the summer. As excited as I am for the baby, I love my job and I feel responsible to my partner in our billings. Because we are a sales team, not only will my not working affect my own income long-term, it will affect his as well. I think it’s just part of the challenge of being the modern mom. You can say all you want that the baby is all that matters, and of course it is most important, but for a lot of us the job is what provides for that baby. And of course, having a job that you feel guilty about leaving instead of hating the idea of returning to is something to be happy about, it means you found something fulfilling to invest your time in instead of something you just have to do to make ends meet.

  8. Yes! I felt guilty leaving my students 3 weeks before the end of the school year. I actually stayed a week longer than I wanted just so that I could tie up loose ends and get them ready for their final exams. I wound up having my baby early and only getting 6 days off instead of 2ish weeks. I quit my job to stay home with my son, but I definitely had the guilt of leaving work before the school year was done. I felt like I was abandoning my kids. Now I have mommy guilt over basically everything else lol

  9. I completely felt this way when I had my first son. He was 3 weeks early plus I was home on bed rest the week before he was born – all completely unplanned which meant that things were prepared or transitioned at all. I felt SO guilty about it all, felt like I was letting everyone down. But you know what, they were fine. It might have been a little messy here and there but things got done and moved forward. Not to say that your job won’t miss you or anything but it is only temporary and September will be here before you know it.

    On the surgery side of things, I’m actually recovering from knee surgery right now – ACL and meniscus repair. It really depends. While he may not be completely immobile for 10 days, it can be really difficult to get around. I’m only starting to walk around without crutches now (2.5 weeks post-surgery) but again, everyone’s recovery is different.

  10. Not mommy guilt, but we had planned our August wedding/honeymoon before I started working for a Congresswoman. August is the Congressional recess, meaning the Congresswoman would be in the district, working out of our office while me, the office manager/gatekeeper/phone answerer would be gone.

    But then I quit that job in June so…. I guess I didn’t feel that guilty. At least my replacement got adequate training.

  11. I feel guilty about not feeling guilty! Granted I am going on Matty Leave at the start of Summer which in the University Department I work in is our quietest time but I just cannot wait and I am taking at least 9 months off and will decide nearer the time if I am going to take a full year. (Reason I cant decide at the moment is that I wont get any money after 9 mths but I am entitled to take the full year if I want as I am from the UK). I am already dreading going back to work even though I have already discussed with my boss that it will be on a part time basis only. I will tell you what I feel guilty about though is I have not had the easiest pregnancy and have had to take what feels like LOADS of time off sick and I hate leaving my department in the lurch. At least when I go on matty leave they have know for months and it is not my fault they have not organised my replacement yet but at the moment it seems like every 2nd day I need to be off and leave my colleagues to deal with things! Anyway dont feel guilty, just enjoy the time with your new baba and you will be back to work before you know it! x

  12. I felt that same guilt, but it quickly turned to “good riddance” when they weren’t willing to negotiate any sort of flexible return for me. Since you KNOW you’re going back, consider asking if they’d be flexible with your return date in exchange for keeping in touch regularly while you’re gone. It sounds crazy, but there is sooooo much downtime during the day with a newborn–they are constantly napping or nursing, so it’s actually feasible to do some work from home during that time. (I watched 200 episodes of Law & Order SVU those first several months – I could’ve done other things, lol) I wouldn’t commit to anything up front, until you see how needy your baby is, but something to think about.


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