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Thailand’s Working Mothers in Crisis: The Unseen Struggles of Returning to Work After Maternity Leave Exposed!

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Kanlayawee sheds light on a critical issue – the myriad problems unfolding for new mothers. Bracing up for motherhood is just the tip of the iceberg, says she with conviction, sympathizing with the numerous trials experienced by this faction of society.

Interestingly, the professional life that new mothers return to post their maternity leave is alien from the one they leave behind. Coming back to work, they are greeted with challenges similar to the ones they had initially absconded from, says Kanlayawee. She brings to light one of the most tough tasks mothers are expected to tackle at work – breastfeeding, coupled with the agonizing pain it brings about.

The first challenge facing new mothers when they return to work is juggling between maintaining the high standards ingrained into them and simultaneously ensuring their responsibilities as a mother are met. The societal standards expecting the superwoman act from mothers, which requires them to be adept at managing both professional and personal lives, further frustrate them. The challenge is not just about handling these roles; it’s also about the constant changes each of these roles brings about, which only amplify the internal struggle.

According to Kanlayawee, the society expects mothers to switch seamlessly between their roles as professional and caregiver, where the expectations are a mix of societal and self-made. These expectations lead mothers to worry about being perceived as incapable or unprofessional while trying to balance work with raising a child.

The transition back to work usually rattles mothers, who are caught between career progression and their instinct to care personally for their child. This tussle is felt across cultures and workspaces, with no exceptions, points out Kanlayawee. The challenges come from balancing duties at work with parenting tasks and fear of judgment from co-workers and superiors.

Though progress has been made, Kanlayawee envisions a future where workspaces encompass dedicated areas that allow mothers to nurse and manage their childcare in their breaks. Not just superficial, such support would shape the physical and mental well-being of both the mother and child, and in turn, aid work performance. Understanding from colleagues and bosses about the unique challenges that working mothers face will also help considerably.

Drawing attention to maternity leave, Kanlayawee emphasizes the importance of this break for mothers – a necessary time-out to restore their physical and mental stability. While acknowledging the intricacies surrounding the enforcement of such policies, she urges governments and corporations to pool resources and structure the necessary foundation to back working mothers.

Kanlayawee recognizes the importance of adequate financial backing and emotional assistance for new mothers. With costs for fundamental maternity equipment like breast pumps, milk storage tools, and other childcare expenses becoming a burden for many, this area needs more attention. For instance, a mother’s choice for a breast pump is guided by her physical needs versus the cost of the product. Countering these financial challenges along with the emotional and physical drain that comes with mundane tasks like pumping and nursing is too taxing for most mothers.

Despite shortcomings and hurdles, more and more mothers in Thailand are choosing to breastfeed their babies, marking a significant improvement from previous years. However, despite their intentions, they face impediments like lack of post-hospital lactation support, inadequate family aid, and widespread deceptive infant formula advertisements.

For a mother re-entering a job, it’s not just about jobs and parenting; it’s more about asserting their self-worth. It’s about adorning different hats, playing different roles, managing diverse challenges while wishing for a society that acknowledges and supports all her endeavors.

Kanlayawee makes an important point – as societies evolve, so should their narratives around working mothers, appreciating the pivotal role played by them in their professional and personal lives.

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