While it’s easier to throw a fist bump and proclaim, ‘you go girl’ in celebration of a fellow woman rocking her career, unfortunately most times, such is not the case when that same woman decides to have a baby. Sure we may progressed in our society and women are killing it in the different industries that they’re working at, a woman that decides to have a baby is often left to choose between her work and her family.

Many women feel that they deserve to be able to continue furthering their career after they have a child, but finding that balance between the two roles is often difficult and many times one area suffers. A professional woman faces a tough predicament: staying at home prevents moving up in your career, while working keeps you away from home, your child and all of the precious milestones. If you were working before you became pregnant, it can be a struggle to decide whether to return to your job or to resign and spend your days caring for your child.

Someone who has spent years building her career and decides to stay at home may resent her decision to put her career on hold for her child. On the other hand, if she decides to return to work and misses bonding with her child she may regret not taking the time off to spend those crucial years at home with her baby.

Studies have shown that the higher your level of education and experience, the greater the cost you will pay economically if you decide to pause your career to focus on your child. This finding makes sense; a woman with a low skill level will not earn as much as a woman with a higher skill level – especially if the higher skilled woman has advanced certification and many years of experience.

Maternity Leave

If you’ve decided to go back to work after you have your baby, law allows you 16 weeks leave in total – 4 weeks before the birth and 12 weeks after delivery. If you so choose, you and your employer can agree to allow you to take a portion of the 12-week post-delivery leave flexibly throughout the rest of the year.

While you must take the first four weeks after your child has been born, it is possible to arrange with your employer when you will take the remainder of your leave and how you will use it. Further information on maternity leave and the various eligibility requirements can be found at www.mom.gov.sg.

Returning to Work after Maternity: Childcare

Working away from home means you have to fork out money for childcare, such as a nanny or a day care. The cost of a nanny ranges depending on whether you use a service to find your nanny or if you locate her on your own. A service will cost you a bit more expense; however services do thorough background checks and evaluations on each nanny to ensure they are competent and able to care for children properly. Wages for nannies can range from $600 – $800, which comes with its set of pros and cons. If you’d rather a group setting, day care ranges from between $700 – $2000 per month. For help locating childcare in your area you can visit BB Nanny, Find A Nanny,  or Super Nanny   and Childcare Centre.

Returning to Work after Maternity: Breastfeeding

Once you have found a reliable childcare option, working again may be relatively easy for you. While you will be missing your little one, getting back into the groove of work may only be interrupted by your overflowing milk ducts. While you may be aware that you’re back at work, your breasts will be under the impression that they must still continuously provide milk for your newborn. If concerned about breastfeeding your child, there are pumping machines available that will allow you to pump breast milk for your baby, which can be refrigerated for later use.

A single, manual breast pump can be bought for $25 at a reasonably priced baby store. More advanced pump kits can be found here, ranging from $30 to over $400. You can pump during breaks at work and take the milk home, or pump at nights and store the milk for your nanny or daycare to use during feedings.

It can be a struggle to determine when or if you will return to the work place after you have given birth, remember that the choice is a personal one. Ensure that whatever decision you make is best for you and your family and follow through with it, regardless of what others may try to influence you into doing.

Motherhood is a wonderful journey – one that you must decide the course for.

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C.E.O @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is passionate about finance, education, women empowerment and children’s issues. Anna has been featured in CNBC, Forbes, The Straits Times, Business Insider, INC and The Peak Singapore. She was nominated and selected for FORTUNE Most Powerful Women conference in 2016 (Asia) and 2015 (San Francisco, Next Gen). Anna has 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Director in Tera Capital. Her previous work experience includes positions at Citigroup, United Overseas Bank, a regional role in Business Monitor and a boutique private equity firm based in Shanghai. She graduated from Singapore Management University (Finance and Quantitative Finance).