How much maternity leave did you take in advance prior to your estimated due date?
I opted to start my mat leave 4 weeks prior and I think that’s a nice amount of time to relax and get things organised before my world turns topsy-turvy. In all honesty though, as my job is highly customer-centric and requires me to be on my feet for long periods of time, I started becoming restless before I was due for my leave. My tummy was growing fast and my swollen feet completely affected my concentration and psyche. I was counting down to the last day of work but when that day arrived, things were pretty anti-climatic! We can never win, can we? A few ladies that I spoke to along the way decided to work right up to week 38 and personally I think it takes a lot of faith to stick to that. Only a small amount of births actually happen on the EDD and there are always those (horror) stories of births before mat leave even begins. If I was caught in that situation, especially for my first child, I would be totally devastated! I needed that extra time to put myself in the right headspace and set up a cosy nook for the impending arrival. I wanted to nest and put together a pinterest-worthy nursery (check out my inspiration here) just to welcome my baby. Now I’m talking about the ideal world but what ended up happening was far from that ha! Mini M does not yet have a nursery and he’s temporarily stationed at the other side of our room. His supposedly nursery is now a guest room and houses a bunch of ‘not so aesthetically-pleasing stuff’ that still needs sorting out. I thought I would beat myself up for not meeting ‘the standards’ but by the end of the day, what I wanted for mini M is pretty self-serving. There’s just no way that he would ever be able to tell how ‘perfect’ his room is at this age and he probably doesn’t even care.
I’m 2 months into my mat leave and I’m learning to enjoy the good, the bad and the unexpected quirks. It is hard to focus on and provide for a newborn 24/7 so I wouldn’t ever want to diminish the importance of stay-at-home moms, ever again. Yes we might have temporarily removed ourselves from the rat-race but the gig of nurturing a little human-being isn’t any easier when there isn’t an extra pair of hands to help. On top of that, I didn’t quite realise how many appointments there are following the birth of a baby in Australia. My time isn’t exactly mine anymore. Some times I do wonder whether life would be better off in Asia where help is abundant and readily available. Anyway, I just need to get on with it!
This set of photos was taken at in the first week of mat leave and I remember feeling so fresh! While my outfit was nothing to shout about (in fact those pants that I was wearing don’t normally see the daylight except when I was desperate!), mentally I was feeling awesome. I felt like I had closed a chapter and waiting for another to open.
So back to the topic of maternity leave, are you enjoying/ did you enjoy it? What are some of the things that you took the opportunity to do?