When should you start your maternity leave?
Looking back at my maternity leave, it was a time I will remember and cherish. I will never have that time again, well not in the same way – when I started my maternity leave it was just me, and now I have bubs! (Obviously, as that’s why I was on maternity leave. Duh.). What I mean is, I shall never have that alone time, with myself, or with the baby in fact, again in such a way.
Choosing when to start your maternity leave can be a tricky choice. You want to spend as much time with your baby as possible, so many try to work as close to their due date as they can. However, I also wanted some me time. Selfish, perhaps, but getting your head around having a baby, making sure you’re ready, physically and mentally, is so important. Also, I just wanted to sleep a bit.
I was due on 3rd February 2013. I left work on 31st December 2012 – quite apt I think, new starts, new year, new beginnings. I took 2 weeks annual leave, so I didn’t actually start my Maternity Leave until 14 January. One tip I would say, is try to save as much annual leave as possible so that you can take some before the start of your maternity leave.
I had so much fun on those 2 weeks annual leave. I slept, I stayed in my pyjamas all day, I ate what I liked and I watched a lot of crappy TV. I washed all the little newborn baby clothes, and couldn’t even contemplate how this baby would look. I listened to a lot of music, and downloaded a lot from iTunes. I listened to a lot of music from the 90s – reminiscing of days past. Thinking of the last, eating food from my childhood, I really had a thing about that. I cleaned the house in a nesting fever. I thought a lot about what was going to happen. I was scared. I cried. I started to think I didn’t want a baby – what the hell was I doing?! I panicked. But talking to my partner,my family and friends, and having time to address these concerns was invaluable.
As my due date drew near, my sister spent the week with me. It was lovely. We went to Nandos more times than it was healthy to, we watched movies, went to Ikea and got lost, chatted about so many things. she dyed my hair and made me look pretty for Labour. We did all we could to try to get this baby out. I really enjoyed this time. It was nice, as I knew I’d never have that freedom or ability to be so spontaneous again. I knew my life would change, so I spent time enjoying it whilst I could.
I know for some people, this could be seen as time wasted. It certainly didn’t feel it to me. I am so glad I had a bit of time before the baby came to completely de-work, de-stress and to get ready for what was to come. As it was, I ended up being 2 weeks overdue and being induced. By the time she came, I was very ready to see her, and for my pregnancy to end. I think having all that time before really helped me to come to terms with this. By the time my waters had been broken, and the drip was set off in my arm, I was ready – to be a Mum, and to start my Maternity Leave really and truly.q