The biggest challenge when I returned from maternity leave was definitely a personal thing. I was so scared I’d fallen behind. But in fact, I received so much support from my superior and my colleagues, and that was just so important to me.
Returning to work after maternity leave: a big test at personal and professional levels.
“The biggest challenge when I returned from maternity leave was definitely a personal, almost mental thing. As working women and new mothers, we always have some re-entry anxiety. We’re afraid that we’ve been left behind after maternity leave, and we’re convinced we won’t be able to fit back in, that we won’t be really welcome. We’re afraid people will look at us differently, as mothers and not as professionals anymore.
I was afraid I’d fallen behind everything else that had happened, afraid I wouldn’t be able to get back into the right rhythm. Especially in commercial operations, the business is changing and evolving so quickly I was afraid that when I returned after 6-12 months I’d find myself in a completely different company. Another fear was that I would no longer be able to reconcile my professional and personal life, especially in my new position as Supervisor, which demands important responsibilities from me.
Everything went better than I’d thought, fortunately! Although the thought of returning to work after maternity leave made me insecure, once I was back in the office I received the utmost support from my boss and colleagues.
The company has provided me with so many tools to live my motherhood and my parenting in peace of mind. During maternity leave, I was replaced by a girl who stayed with me for the first two months to help me catch up. It was just like being back at school! My boss was also very present, supporting me with one-on-one meetings to update me on changes in the business and to gather my thoughts. That’s not something to be taken for granted, so it was a nice surprise from every point of view.
I think we’re lucky to be Philip Morris employees. At the same time, a lot depends on each of us, and in my experience, the support I received from my boss and colleagues is very important. In the end however, the improvement has to come from within. For example, serenely accepting being away from the job, without mulling it over or worrying, and accepting and guiding the changes that come to your work-life balance."