New Mom’s ‘Fifth Trimester Thoughts’ Nail the Struggle of Navigating Priorities

The only thing harder than having a baby is adjusting to working just months later. Adapting to not only a new lifestyle, but trying to pick up all the balls you were juggling before maternity leave presents a whole new plethora of challenges.

Jenna Tanenbaum, head of growth marketing at Who Gives a Crap, an environmentally conscious toilet paper company in Los Angeles, knows how overwhelming this adjustment can be. After three months back at work post-baby, she took to LinkedIn with her own thoughts about balancing it all.

Jenna’s experienced a range of emotions during her “fifth trimester,” and anyone who’s ever been a new mom post-leave can relate. Not only is the mama missing her old life, but she’s conflicted with feelings of pride and failure. Three months back at work, and she’s:

Feeling like a superhero, feeling like a failure.

Feeling like a badass who can simultaneously nurse and conduct a meeting.

Feeling like there are so many balls in the air that how can I possibly incorporate one more thing? And then incorporating one more thing.

Feeling powerful and feeling helpless.

Feeling like I have everything together and then not.

As Jenna puts it perfectly, “the complexity of the feelings are hard to put into words.”

For women who have always been career-driven and don’t plan on losing an ounce of that energy post-baby, returning to work can be a real shock. This isn’t to say, however, that moms can’t still give their energy to their careers. “I’m just at the very start of navigating a reality where I’m prioritizing my personal ambitions while giving my whole self to being a mom,” Jenna wrote.

“I truly love my work. And I truly love my baby. I’m working on living in a world where both are my priority.”

In due time, mama. It’s never truly simple, but it does get easier.