If you’re looking forward to maternity leave as a wonderful vacation/reward for all the hard work you put into being pregnant, you may not want to read this. Maybe it’s just my busybody nature, but I found the glorious break offered to me in maternity leave to be a shame spiral of boredom.
The funny thing is I work at home. If I had really wanted to, I could have taken an extended leave for as long as I pleased. But I have never been good with downtime, and maybe I never will be.
My midwife encouraged me to use maternity leave to rest, rest, rest and stare into the gentle eyes of my baby. That was really fun… for about an hour. When I had my second son at home, I tore a little during labor (TMI alert!). Because of this, my midwife suggested that I not walk downstairs for at least a week.
She might as well have been speaking Greek to me because that was not going to happen. The TV and refrigerator and my husband and my toddler are all downstairs the majority of the day. I have never lain in bed for an entire week, and I never will.
When I argued with her about this enforced bed rest after having a baby, which she thought would be a nice treat for me, she cut down her recommendation to 24 hours. It wasn’t one hour after she had left, just a few hours after giving birth, that I snuck downstairs to hang out and get a drink of water and be a normal person. I tried to lie to her about it at my next appointment, but I’m a really bad liar, and I immediately gave myself away. As a side note, my tear healed well anyway, thank you very much.
I told myself that I would take maternity leave for the traditional six weeks. But since I work at home, my computer was calling. I was so bored. I had nothing to do with myself, besides watching hours of Netflix. With my first son, my maternity leave was shortened to four weeks—with my second son, two weeks.
Maternity leave was hardly the vacation I expected, and I couldn’t wait to get back to work. If you’re hoping for an all-expenses-paid, all-inclusive maternity vacation, I hate to break it to you that reality is incredibly boring.