Monday, 18 August 2014

Lesson 27: The secret dread of maternity leave

Well, here we are again. As of Wednesday at 5pm I am officially on maternity leave. 

I'm taking six months off to look after Boy 2 (due in 18 days) and of course his big brother, who is two and a half and a whirlwind of questions and tantrums.

'Bet you are glad to be at home again!' they say. 'Different kettle of fish with two though!'

'Oh it will be a challenge!' I reply, 'But I'm relieved to finish work.' 

Well the latter is not untrue. I am pleased to have finished work. 

But I am pleased for physical reasons. I am waddling not walking, everything is hurting and/or not looking like it should be (yes, everything), and I can't deny the nine hour work day has been heightening these body struggles. 

But that, I'm afraid, is where the gladness stops.  Cankles and pelvic floor issues aside, I had zero desire to give up work again. 

And zero desire to embark on this maternity leave lark again. 

The truth? I don't much rate it. I didn't enjoy my six months 'off' last time around and I am reasonably confident I'm not going to relish the experience this time either. 

I'm just not built that way. 

Oh I'll give it a bloody good shot. I'm already mentally preparing myself for hours sat on the sofa with my boobs out - though this time I will be coordinating toddler activities at the same time, adding to the excitement. 

I'll drop in to Bumps and Babies classes. 

I'll open the revolving door to visitors who will pop round for cups of tea, and freely discuss episiotomy stitches and problems with getting the baby to 'latch on.' 

But I won't enjoy these things. 

Because to me they are boring.

On the one hand, I feel pretty awful admitting that. On the other, I am at peace with my feelings. When I embarked on maternity leave last time I had a sneaky suspicion the forthcoming months would not be 'my bag.' But I hoped activation of the maternal switch (before realising I had switch activation malfunction) would allow me to enjoy the very special time at home with my baby.

I'm not saying there weren't special moments. There were a few. 

Spring 2012

But mostly, honestly, I lost all sense of Self (I maintain employment is vital for this) and spent the time feeling like I had woken up trapped in somebody else's life. And their post-labour body. 

I was not ill with PND. 

I was uninspired. Bored. 

I was fucking knackered at having a baby who never slept or fed properly (he was born with a floppy larynx). I was jealous of my husband who got to LEAVE THE HOUSE for the bulk of the day and converse with adults. I was unhappy.

This time, I'm wondering if my expectations might change this picture slightly. The only way is up, right? 

'This baby will probably be an angel' they say. He might be. He might not.

Either way, there will be no 'sleeping when he sleeps' with a nap-refusing toddler at large in the living room. The all consuming tiredness, therefore, is guaranteed. 

And the enjoyment factor? Well I just can't see it.

I will love cuddles with the new arrival, and I can imagine the magic of seeing his big brother fall in love with him too. 

But this won't change who I am. 

I am just not mumsy. I prefer team meetings to mothers' meetings. I hate being stuck indoors but don't much like trips to the park. Catching up with other mums to discuss sleep routines and weaning bores me TO TEARS. 

Six months will, I realise, zoom by. And for logistical childcare juggling issues going back to work will be tough. But I work part-time, and I know I will enjoy Home Days with my boys a whole lot more when they are not the totality of my weekly existence.

I'm not sure what the point of this post was. Other than honesty. 

Lesson 27: Maternity leave is not for me. I realise this runs the risk of making me sound like a bad mother, but I think it is important that we are allowed to speak as we find. Here's hoping I find something different this time. 

The Unmumsy Mum.


  1. So glad I found this blog!
    I didn't enjoy my mat leave as much as I thought I would. A partner who works as a chef meant 14 hour days at home with a newborn!! Back to work after 4 months tomorrow and looking forward to a lunch break!

  2. My one thought - this is how I feIt although I didn't expect it. It goes without saying that I love my little one dearly but oh the boredom... Thanks, love your blog

  3. I could have written this post myself. Every word of it. Maternity leave is a pain in the ...

  4. This post is like a blessing ot me. My work-me does not cope well with this whole baby business. I have 4 weeks to go until I embark on this journey as well and just the thought of it makes me miserable. Maternity leave does not start the day you leave, mine feels like it has started already 2 month ago.