My First Day Away From Baby

Sona Charaipotra

Sona Charaipotra at a conference
Photo by Navdeep Singh Dhillon

So Kavi will be 3 months old next week. And lucky for me, I have the privilege of being able to work from home, so I've gotten to spend pretty much all day, every day with my little one.

But because I work for myself, I haven't really had a maternity leave at all. And I've come to the realization that I really haven't been away from the baby for more than a few hours.

This has been an adventure unlike any other I've had before. And it's been really, really hard balancing the baby's needs with my work as a freelance writer, but I've managed. Still, everyone needs a break once in a while. Which was why I was really looking forward to going to my annual writer's conference last week. (I was pregnant with Kavi at the last one!)

It's one of those things people do to grow their businesses, to recharge and reinvigorate, and to meet with contacts and others in the same position, so it's something I had planned and scheduled before Kavya was born. But after the baby came, I pretty much forgot about it. So it sort of snuck up on me last week, when I made a mad dash to prep for the conference. And that's when it struck me that I hadn't left Kavi for longer than a few hours yet, even though she's almost 3 months old.

My conference wasn't far -- just a short trek to Manhattan's Upper East Side. But leaving my apartment early that morning, with my husband and the baby still tucked snuggly into bed, I felt like I was traveling cross-country. And I knew that my husband would be fine with the baby. He had a good stash of breast milk in the fridge, he was superbly adept at changing diapers, and Kavi is definitely a daddy's girl. They had a great time playing all day. But it was still rough -- on me.

Once I got to the conference, I sort of felt like I was back in my element, hanging out with fellow writers, gaining insights from panelists, schmoozing even. I hadn't done it in so long, it was almost refreshing. But I did miss Kavi and I checked in a few times during the day. And I know, as she gets bigger and my business grows, that I'll have to be away from her more frequently. Especially if I decide to add grad school to the mix. Luckily, I have great support in my husband and my family -- plus lots of willing babysitters. Still, it's hard to reconcile being away from my baby as a fact of life, a circumstance that will actually make baby -- and mommy -- a happier person in the long run.

How did you deal with going back to work?

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