8 tips for going back to work after a traumatic birth

Worried about heading back to work? This article explores some ways to overcome the trauma of a difficult birth, and get back to work without harming your physical or mental health.

Returning to work after the birth of your baby can be incredibly stressful at the best of times. Many mothers find themselves unable to concentrate for worrying about their little one.

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Heading back to work after a traumatic birth, however, can feel like an impossible task – particularly where birth injury claims are involved. While this is unlikely to ever be easy, this doesn’t mean that you have to give up your plans – or your job.

There are some steps that you can take to help you to make the transition with as little trauma as possible. In this article, we’ll take you through our eight tips for going back to work after a traumatic birth.

8 tips for going back to work after a traumatic birth

1. Take your time

Returning to work after a traumatic birth can cause a considerable amount of anxiety for new mothers. If you’re feeling as though this is too high a mountain for you to climb as your maternity leave ends, consider having a conversation with Human Resources to find out what your options are.

It may be that you may be able to extend your maternity leave – although this will usually mean doing so unpaid or on a curtailed salary. At this stage, it’s useful to have a look at your employment contract to see if there is a clause which covers this area.

2. Work from home

UK Figures from April 2020 show that around 46.6 percent of employed adults worked from home at least part of the week. If you’re still feeling a little wobbly about work, it’s a really good idea to enquire about the possibility of working from home to begin with. This can be a great way of easing yourself back into the working world, without being thrown in at the deep end, which can be a little bit of a shock to the system.

3. Find a compromise

If you have concerns about returning to the workplace – and you’re unable to work from home – the first thing you need to do is to speak to your manager or direct supervisor. You may also want to speak with HR in order to make them aware of your concerns. In some cases, it may be possible for you to return to work part time until you feel comfortable enough to re-immerse yourself fully into the workplace.

4. Seek help

If you’re struggling to get back into your old life after a difficult birth, there’s never any shame in seeking help. Speak to your HR Department first, as they may be able to steer you in the right direction. They may even have a company policy in place which will pay for the services of a counsellor, should you need one.

If this isn’t the case, ask your GP to make a recommendation for a counsellor who works within the NHS. Too often, people believe that they are expected to ‘just get on with it’, and this is very much not the case – there is always help out there.

5. The dream team

Anxiety about a new baby’s wellbeing can be a major factor when returning to the workplace, particularly if you need to leave your little one with a nanny or a nursery. If you’re unable to work from home yourself, consider the possibility of your partner doing so. This will help to alleviate any concerns about your child being left with a stranger while you’re out at work.

6. Take it one day at a time

Returning to work after a traumatic birth can be incredibly daunting – and, on Monday morning, it may seem like the week is stretching ahead of you for miles. Instead of thinking about making it through the next five days, focus only on today. Nobody is expecting you to be superwoman. So, by taking things one day at a time, you’re setting yourself manageable goals which will help you to gain perspective as you transition to a new way of life.

7. Don’t compare yourself to others

As humans, we have a tendency to compare ourselves to others all the time. Whether its pitting ourselves against others with our careers, or keeping up with the Jones’ at home, we’re a competitive lot. After dealing with a difficult birth, and then having to wrench yourself away from your new baby, it may be tempting to compare yourself to the various shiny celebrity mums that you see on TV and in magazines. Don’t.

No two people are the same – and no two struggles are the same. So, comparing yourself to others will only compound your misery. Instead, focus on yourself and doing the best that you can – while asking for help when you need it.

8. New horizons

It may be that, after a lot of soul searching, the idea of going back to your old job is just a step too far. Don’t panic! Take a look at your skills – including the new skills and resilience that you’ve acquired since your traumatic birth – and then make a list of these.

There’s a good chance that your combined skills and experience will lend themselves to a business of your own. Alternatively, freelance opportunities will allow you to make a living while not missing out on quality time with your new child.

Ready to head back to work after your traumatic birth?

In the modern world, we’re expected to effortlessly keep a number of balls in the air – all while keeping a smile on our faces. In reality, life is complex and messy and, in many cases, the joy of a new baby can be tainted by anxiety and depression if the birth was a traumatic one.

The return to work will often be a tricky one as you navigate different areas of your life. It’s important to put expectations aside in order to figure out what’s going to work for you and your child in the long run.


Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained medical professional. Be sure to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.