"I would come home angry and frustrated that I missed everything with my kid that day. I didn't get to wake her up from her nap or do bath time or bedtime. I'd have to sneak into her room and kiss her when she was sleeping, hoping not to wake her up," the actress explains.
The separation from her daughter during those early months is what inspired Heigl to take a "leave of absence" from the show -- which inevitably became permanent -- and created one of the most disappointing exits on television.
"I was putting so much time and energy into just my work, but I was raised [to believe] that family comes first," the actress continues.
Now that her daughter, Naleigh, is five, Heigl has felt it's okay to return to work. You can catch her on NBC's "State of Affairs" when it premieres on Nov. 17.
Photo/Video credit: Getty