Having spent most of your pregnancy at work, it’s no wonder that your co-workers will be desperate to meet your new baby. From those early weeks where everyone was too polite to mention the chucking-up sounds coming from the ladies’ loo to the teary maternity leave send-off, they’ve watched your bump grow and lived through more kicks, cravings and loo trips than your partner.
Then the baby arrives and you find yourself in a whole new world – day is night, new mum friends are made, underwired bras feel like medieval torture devices and the world of work can feel a very long way off indeed.
So, by the time you’re ready to head into the office, it’s normal to feel a little bit weird about the prospect of turning up to work with your plus one. Here’s how it’ll go:
You get to be a rock star
OK, so you’re not the rock star, the baby is. And there’s a good chance that several people will emit a high-pitched ‘OHMYGOD!’ that will set off that cute little startle reflex. But hey, it’s good to bring the office to a standstill as you walk in like bloomin’ Beyonce to show off your bub – and yes, Barbara, she IS the cutest baby ever, you are QUITE RIGHT.
Somebody will ask how the birth was
To be fair, if you spent the last few months going off for lunchtime walks to listen to hypnobirthing tracks and kept Googling ‘how awful is birth’ followed by ‘positive birth stories’ then your work comrades are going to be curious about how things went down. But don’t forget, if you’re not comfortable talking about it, smiling and saying ‘fine!’ is perfectly acceptable.
You’ll probably be hyper aware of bodily functions
Leaky boobs. Leaky nappies. Leaky pads. Making polite chit-chat while you’re constantly on secretion patrol, secretly freaking out about what might be pooling where and wondering if anyone is going to notice certainly adds a frisson of danger to an office visit. Oh, and babies don’t think anything of unleashing spectacular farts and burps in public, so you can rest assured that’s on the cards, too.
You’ll discover that most workplaces are not baby-friendly
For starters, where are you supposed to put the baby down? On the carpet? Ew! Where’s the playpen? Tsk. And it turns out, most workplaces don’t come with nappy changing facilities or top-notch feeding rooms (although this is changing, woo hoo), so you may find yourself in the strange situation of wiping your baby’s bum in your boss’s office or trying to get a nipple out in the corner of the canteen – it’s the Christmas party all over again.
It will get a bit awks
No matter how gorgeous your bub or how thrilled your colleagues are to see you, they will at some point have to get on with work again and drift away one by one. Let’s face it, baby-hating Keith’s been giving you side-eye since you arrived, but nobody cares what Keith thinks.
You’ll figure out who ‘gets it’
You’ll learn something about your team when you pop in with your new baby. There’s slightly scary boss who, it turns out, is brilliant at consoling a grisly little human and doesn’t mind getting a bit of sick on their shoulder. There’s chosen few who whisk you off for a nice cake and a cuppa before you go home. Take note – the co-workers who ‘get it’ will be your allies when you come back to work, although there are plenty of baby snuggles and PJ days before you need to even think about THAT.