2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 03:30
How do you experience maternity leave? Is it the great happiness of having time with baby or is it a period full of questioning?
The maternity leave in Quebec is a precious moment and a privilege. It allows you to discover your child during his first year of life. It also allows mom to recover from her pregnancy and from her childbirth without having the stress of going back to work like our mothers (or grand- mothers) had to do after a few weeks of baby life.
This maternity leave obviously has several advantages ranging from rest to the possibility of prolonging breastfeeding. It gives the opportunity to be present and to witness the stages of development of your child. Sounds gratifying and full of fulfillment doesn't it? Did you experience it like this?
Indeed, some new mothers only see this state of tune with their babies. Outings, courses, activities, nothing stops these new mothers in fullness! But reading these few sentences, many others sigh, thinking that this is how they imagined their maternity leave before it revealed a less fulfilling side than expected. Why were they not en titled to these emotions of ecstasy? They haverather felt bitterness, anger, disappointment, guilt, even a feeling of not being an accomplished woman in their motherhood. Added to this can be financial stress related to the change in salary that maternity leave will bring. Certain emotional patterns emerge for these women who experienced their maternity leave in this way. Three main stages emerge:
The striking loneliness
You have stopped working, but people around you keep leaving in the morning to go to work. They come back late and are also caught up in their evening routine. You don't leave in the morning anymore. Your spouse, yes. Baby and you then become two inseparable accomplices, but sometimes this lack of adult-to-adult discussion becomes heavy. The days can seem long for some women. Even if they wanted to have a friend visit, the latter works and therefore is not available during the day. And in the evening, it's the supper-bath-sleep routine for you and for your friends with children. Loneliness brings its vagaries of sadness and melancholy. It is not bearable for all, especially when it sets in on a daily basis. It is even a risk factor for postnatal depression when it becomes too heavy.
Crumbling personal value
During maternity leave, you stay at home and therefore, you develop your routine with baby and with the daily tasks to be accomplished. He iseasy in our society today to find valorization through work or in other activities. The first months of life with baby often make moms feel confined at home. Whether it's for close feedings or fatigue resulting from short interrupted nights. This feeling of becoming at the service of everyone or of becoming your baby's only object of dependency can be a blow to his self-worth. Women do not like to feel like the housekeeper and lack the challenge to take up. This leads to a feeling of uselessness, even worthlessness. Body image and the lack of time to take care of yourself can also contribute to this decrease in body esteem. Returning to work can seem like a huge challenge when self-esteem is lost. Even more, this decimated esteem can increase the difficulty in socializing and therefore, by the same token, lead you to the loneliness described above.
There are women who, for their part, completely question themselves. The career choice, the life plan, the romantic relationship, everything goes there or in part. It can be quite insecure when initially you only had to take a year off from work and get back to normal after your leave. Is it the fact of having felt like you were useless, lacked valuation, stopped to take stock and therefore thought carefully about what you really want and love? These assumptionsmay turn out to be true for you and for many women who experience deep questioning. You are no longer in the fast flow of your work routine and your downtime may have allowed you to focus on what you love. So you were able to clarify your choices for the future. Another very common phenomenon is wanting to leave work for good to devote yourself to the education of your child. It is true that at one year old, your little one may seem very young to start daycare. The majority of mothers feel a pang in the heart of having to leave part of the education of their child to a stranger in whom they will have to learn to trust. This apprehension can be very heartbreaking. This is why mothers will question going back to work. What if she was the one living with the baby? Thinking about a career change or a reduction in working hours (four days a week, part-time work) can become an enticing option.
What can I do to thrive during my maternity leave?
First of all, even though maternity leave is called “holiday”, you will certainly find that it is not the nonchalance of the holidays. It is rather a time to allow you to facilitate the lifestyle that awaits you. But don't worry, the more the weeks go by, the more comfortable you will be and will be able to have a good time, combined with your parental responsibilities.
However, these few tips mayhelp you if you realize that for you, frustrations, sadness or bitterness take an important place in your daily life.
- Prepare a budget adapted to the new salary (ideally before giving birth) in order to avoid the stress caused by the reduction in income.
- Go out to the park, other moms also want to chat with adults.
- Register for parent/child activities, so you meet other mothers.
- Find a project (home improvement, crafts, gardening, workout, etc.) to keep you busy.
- Don't limit yourself to home because of your baby. Take out the stroller, baby carrier and diaper bag and continue doing the same activities as before.
- Mothers have found comfort groups on forums or blogs. However, you have to be vigilant since false information can circulate there and the anonymity of the forums can bring inconvenience (thoughts written without filter, identity theft, intimidation, etc.)
- If you're going through self-questioning, the good old pros and cons list model still comes in handy!
- Concerning the excessive questioning of your future, you can consult a counselor. This can allow you to see if you are made for this change or not.
- Remember to plan for couple outings and solo outings.
- Keep exercising your brain (strategy/logic games, lessons, etc.)
- For those who feel useless, youYou can volunteer or simply make yourself available as parent volunteers for your other children's daycare or school activities.
- Go to dinner with your former colleagues. This can entertain you or even allow you to help a colleague on a file, while increasing your feeling of usefulness. At worst, it may remind you to appreciate and take advantage of the time off you have left before you return!
- If you have dark thoughts or if you ruminate more and more, do not hesitate to consult, no one is immune to postnatal depression. The sooner you act, the better your chances of limiting the damage.