Take a quick look at the photo on the left - would you believe that this photo was taken the weekend before I returned to work after maternity leave? I don't look anxious enough, do I?!
I'd gone on maternity leave in March 2016, planning to return to my role as an HR Business Partner and Executive Coach in a large financial services company approximately a year after my baby was born.
Along came George in April (3 days late and he's kept me waiting ever since!) and the crazy days of trying to work out what the hell you're supposed to do to keep a newborn baby alive, fed and healthy. Forget sleep, we didn't get any of that.
I kept in touch with my colleagues and manager while I was on leave, and even took George in to meet them all a couple of times. Then while I was on leave, due to restructuring within the business, I left my job through redundancy. More on that particular experience another time, but suffice to say it was a strange time being on maternity leave but actually being out of work!
Fast-track to May 2017 and I'd landed a contract as an HR Consultant in the City. So, I'd been out of the workplace for 14 months, during which time I had only been Mummy and was starting back in a completely new job with a new company, people and policies to learn! Added to that, I was going to be leaving George in nursery for full days for the first time and also about to embark upon the nursery dash commute for the first time; you know the one, when you leave the office, peg it to the station and pray that your train/tube isn't cancelled otherwise your darling little one is likely to be the last one picked up leaving you feeling even more guilty! So how did I not look anxious in this photo??
The truth is, of course I had been a little anxious, but with some coaching and confidence activities before I went back to work, I was able to shift my mindset to remind myself of who I was professionally and to make a confident return. I'm not saying it was easy, but it was certainly much easier than it would have been without building up my confidence first!
It's possible ladies - it just takes some guidance and a little bit of practice. Join my 1:1 or group coaching sessions here to give yourself clarity on what you need and a confidence boost!