My Maternity Leave

I’ll be honest, this is probably about as interesting as watching paint dry for the vast majority of people, but whatever.

I worked full time before I had Norah, and there was no such thing as maternity leave at my job.  I got short-term disability, but only after being cleared by a doctor, and only at 2/3rds pay rate.  I got 6 weeks for a vaginal birth and 8 weeks for a c-section.  I was “unlucky” enough to have a vaginal birth.  I’m sorry you’ve now had to read the word vaginal two (three) times.

So I had 6 weeks, and then I tacked on another 2 that the company was ‘generous enough’ to give me completely paid.  So in all I had 8 weeks.  Eight weeks.  EIGHT.

At the onset of the leave six/eight weeks sounds like a good chunk of time.  I mean when was the last time you had six/eight weeks off from work? That’s plenty of time to bond with your baby, establish a schedule and a feeding routine and be ready to rejoin society!!

Are you effing kidding me?

I didn’t insanely bond with Norah right away- it took a few days.  I of course loved her more than life itself instantly, but I didn’t really ‘get it’ until we took her home.  I think it was the sheer exhaustion in the hospital.  And when I did? Ooooh boy.  I remember my mom handed me my dinner, and Derick sat down to eat next to me and I started bawling into my salad.  I had fallen in love, and HARD.

And it scared the shit out of me- hell, it still does.  Some days I still can’t fathom how it feels to look at her and be staring right into my own heart. And at that moment then all I could think about was that I was going to have to leave her soon.  Time had already flown so fast that I knew it’d keep going full throttle.  Eight weeks would be gone in no time and I couldn’t imagine leaving her, this tiny dictator.

This is where I get into some business, namely: the finances.

  • We could not have sustained living the way we were accustomed with 2/3rds of my salary.  So even if I’d been given more than the allotted 6 weeks, we’d have been struggling.
  • No one actually ever mentions that on top of not getting fully paid for that time you also incur a hell of a lot of medical bills! You know what’s not inexpensive? Having a baby.
  • We were (are) insanely lucky that breastfeeding worked, and that cloth diapers were in the cards for us.  We have still hardly spent any money on our child, and that is not the case for many people.  What I’m getting at is that for the majority, the upkeep of a baby is very expensive.  Pair that with the bills and the decrease in salary and it equals a lot of stress, and a bit of debt.

This is where I get into some other business, namely: the baby.

  • Six or even eight weeks is nothing.  Nada.  No go.  Zero.
  • Breastfeeding takes to get right.  And that’s if you get it at all!!
  • Oh, you’re going back to work? Oh you don’t want to be a stay-at-home-mom? You know SAHM’s are proven to have happier children.  I mean if you’re going back to work you should at least keep breastfeeding exclusively.  You’ll need at least 2 weeks of milk stored in the freezer when you go back to work so you should start pumping immediately even though you can barely get enough for your baby to be satisfied and even then you’re so exhausted when they are you can’t think of pumping.  You should probably make sure she’s ok with other people, too.  Make sure she gets enough face time with others, but also make sure she’s not getting exposed to people too quickly.  Has she been vaccinated? Have the people you’ve been exposing her to been vaccinated? Wait, can she take a bottle if she’s breastfed? You better make sure she likes the bottle.  Make sure also to sterilize all bottle parts after every use.  But make sure she doesn’t like the bottle too much because she might stop breastfeeding and you may as well just feed her pureed McDonald’s if that’s the case. She hasn’t established a good napping routine yet? Have you tried crying it out? If you do you’re a monster.  What about a pacifier, does that help? Just make sure she doesn’t like the pacifier too much because that’s a hard habit to break.  Wait, if you’re going back to work who’s taking care of the baby?? You better not take it to daycare, they might abuse the kid.  The kid will grow up thinking the daycare provider is it’s mom! Oh you’re getting a nanny? You must be rich.  You might as well just cut back and stay home.  Oh you’re staying home?? Your daughter will never learn the value of working if her own mother stays home and lets a MAN provide for her!
  • I have no strength left for another bullet point.

More, later.



2 thoughts on “My Maternity Leave

  1. A true story: I literally honestly don’t understand how having babies and also continuing to have money exist is possible in America. If you figure this out, please let me know, because I would eventually like to have babies and be in America and I REALLY don’t get how.

    P.S. Love your writing style. Your sense of humor is A+.


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