Chapter TwelvePhase 3: Returning from Leave Overview

WHEN LAILA AND her wife welcomed a baby girl, her wife returned to work after just a few weeks. Laila maxed out her leave and planned to place baby Rae at a daycare center a few blocks from her office building. The week before she went back to work, Laila brought Rae into the center for a tour and orientation. Afterward, the manager of the center suggested that Laila leave Rae in the infant room while she went across the street to get a cup of coffee. Laila froze. The thought of leaving her baby, even for the time it took to go to Starbucks, filled her with dread. The manager gently persisted, and Laila successfully left Rae for 20 minutes to get a latte. She worked out a system with the manager to leave Rae for longer and longer increments, until soon Laila was able to leave her in their capable hands as she returned to work (though she never missed a lunchtime visit).

The experience of moving out of your leave and back into work is a life-changing transition of similar magnitude as when you began your leave. Although it is rarely given that same level of recognition in our culture, you will benefit from giving this phase equal care and attention.

The first touchpoint of this phase focuses on the self-reflection and inner work required for you to acknowledge all that you have learned in your transition so far and how that growth has influenced who you are and what you want now, as you head back into work. In the second touchpoint ...

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