When we return to the workplace after maternity leave it’s common to feel a dip in confidence. The so called ‘baby brain’ (which is really a refocusing of our brains to care for our child), and the simple fact of having been away from work for an extended period, can take a toll on our confidence.

So, how do you quickly rebuild confidence? Here are 4 tips:

1. Remind yourself about past successes

It may feel like recently your strengths have been nappy changes and functioning on 2 hours of sleep, but it hasn’t always been this way. Write down 3 work experiences that you are proud of. The times where YOU totally smashed it. What did you do? How did you make the difference? Before long, the memories, and the feeling of capability, will start to come back.

2. Get someone else’s opinion

Verbal persuasion is incredibly powerful for building self-belief. Sometimes we just need to hear it from someone else. Ask a trusted colleague or friend to provide you with some positive feedback or share why they are looking forward to having you back. If they can be specific about a past event and the positive impact you had, all the better.

3. Look for role models

We learn about what we are capable of through watching others. Who inspires you in your workplace? Do you know other women who have returned after their maternity leave? What would you like to emulate from them? What advice could they give you?

4. Remember: just because it feels uncomfortable, that doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong

Sometimes when we complete something difficult, our brains equate the negative emotions we feel with not being good at the task. This isn’t necessarily true – we might feel uncomfortable, but the output may still be good. If you want to reflect in a way that builds confidence, ask yourself:


  • What went well?
  • What did I do that was effective?
  • What did I learn (this is a more positive way of framing ‘what didn’t go so well?’)


“Almost every coaching client I have worked with has come to me with issues around their confidence. It is so common! I am hugely passionate about helping women to regain confidence and self-belief, and truly believe this is possible for every single client I work with”


A 2018 survey of 1000 women found that less than a fifth (18%) felt confident about returning to the workplace.

The good news is that confidence is not a constant – it ebbs and flows through life and can be rebuilt and regained. If you are feeling low in confidence, why not start by downloading this free confidence booster worksheet.


This article was written by Cat Tarbuck. Cat is a Business Psychologist and Executive Coach, and mum to an energetic two-year-old.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash