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'A Tub Of Guilt': Carrie Opens Up On Maternity Leave And Returning To Work

The Project's Carrie Bickmore has opened up on the guilt she felt returning to work after maternity leave.

On Tuesday's show, Bickmore reflected on the "vulnerable" time a mother experiences when she goes back to work after having a baby.

"I felt like a giant slice of dessert mixed with a tub of guilt and a sprinkle of chocolate shavings," she said.

Bickmore and her partner Chris Walker welcomed baby Adelaide on December 9, a younger sister to Oliver, 11, and Evie, two.

After seven months on maternity leave, Bickmore returned to The Project desk on July 8, just in time for the show's 10th anniversary.

Returning to work after maternity leave is different for everyone -- for some it is optional, but others have no choice -- Bickmore said during the segment.

"While a lot of time is spent discussing the economics, not enough time is spent talking about it from an emotional stand point," she said.

"For some women, it can feel like they are losing identity."

Returning to work can be daunting because the changes that have happened while being away.

"What if my work wife is seeing someone new?" Bickmore said.

But on a more serious note, she added it was important for mothers returning to work to understand the thing that has changed the most is probably "us".

"The more we can share the conflict, the better," she said.

"The experience is different for everyone. Some people find it hard and some people find it easy to return to work."

Baby Adelaide was welcomed to the world in December. Instagram: bickmorecarrie

During the pre-recorded segment, Bickmore interviewed other mums at a local school, who shared their feelings of being on maternity leave and returning to work.

"I felt like a lot of my task had been reassigned to other people and it was harder to get back into the swing of work," one said.

"You feel guilty about anything and everything. That's what being a mum is about," another added.

READ MORE: Carrie Bickmore 'Absolutely Besotted' With Baby Girl

READ MORE: Carrie Bickmore Shares Behind-The-Scenes Snap Of Motherhood

Carrie Bickmore and Chrissie Swan on The Project. Photo: Channel 10

Fellow panelist Chrissie Swan told the show the adjustment of combining work and being a mother can leave people people having to find a "whole other identity".

"You know how to be you at work, you have been doing that for a while," she said.

"Then you are at home with this baby and you're learning how to parent and be somebody's mother.

"And then you have got to learn how to be somebody's mother and be working."

READ MORE: Carrie Bickmore Details Her Struggles As A Mum Of Three

Bickmore has been public about her struggle to adjust to life as a mum-of-three.

In a column for Stellar magazine in May, she said her anxiety levels reached "near boiling point" while he partner was away with her oldest son, Oliver.

She said Oliver and Evie were "pretty easy" as newborns, Adelaide suffered from reflux and struggled to sleep.