2020 covid-19 maternity Pregnancy #4

A Different Kind of Maternity Leave

I went into the office today to get some assistance with a few IT issues on my work computer.  I’d had them consecutively for 2 days and desperately needed to be able to log on and get work done.  It was about to be a wasted trip before my lead stepped in and saved the day.  It still isn’t where I would like it to be, but I’m functioning again and that’s what counts. 

On the way out, I stopped by a colleague’s desk who is a fellow mommy and we chatted about the state of affairs with this pandemic having schools closed and in-house work limited.  She and I conversed about our children and how it’s becoming necessary to come in just to get a bit of sanity and work accomplished.  She then told me that she held sympathies for my upcoming maternity leave because she knew it wouldn’t be the traditional leave.  She’s absolutely right.

In my past pregnancies, maternity leave has traditionally consisted of  two weeks of personal time off followed by six to seven weeks of Short Term Disability.  This is the same plan, more or less, in this pregnancy.  Usually, this would be a great amount of time (albeit paltry in comparison to our other countries worldwide), but in a pandemic…things are definitely different.

First, COVID policy at the local hospitals has mothers discharged about 24 hours after vaginal birth and 48 hours after Caesarean section.  This policy has not been widely publicized but several of my fellow birthing mothers in the last few weeks are being released in this time frame and I was told to “not be surprised if an early release occurs if mom and baby are healthy”.  Traditionally, there has always been a 2.5-3 day stay for me allowing time for bonding, tests to be run, and a little extra rest as I will be returning to a home full of littles who will definitely need some mommy assistance…not to mention this little one.

newborn baby on warming tray

Second, pre-pandemic the other children and S. have always been physically in work, school and/or daycare.  They are outside of the home for several hours and that allows me time to bond with the youngest, establish a workable schedule with the newest addition, get a little rest as my body recuperates, and mentally prepare myself for the rush of children when they return.  I don’t get that this time. The older children are up every morning by 7.  They have breakfast and then are in their respective online classes for several hours.  If it is a teacher led day, then they have several hours of adult time with the teacher for lessons, but if it is an asynchronous I need to be on hand to assist the younger ones with their lesson plans for the day.

Third,  S. is home all day as well.  Though this sounds great in theory, it doesn’t lend much help.  My wonderful husband is completing two Masters degrees and has a deadline-sensitive job that requires him to sequester himself in the office working office taskers all day.  It’s not unusual for me to see him for our Bible study time and then not again until we say good night to each other.  This means, having additional assistance will be out of the question in terms of assisting with the littles’ school work and trying to make sure the house runs semi-smoothly.  Don’t get me wrong.  If he can help, he does and will.  But, in short, there really won’t be maternity leave at all.

I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of weeks now.  Let’s be very real.  I am not Martha Stewart meaning I am not the pristine housekeeper with immaculate organization and detailed skills and the patience of Job.  I’m a mom who occasionally has to sit outside on the porch to collect her thoughts because the 14 and 6 year old are having yet another argument and the 3 and 1 year old are screaming in sheer delight at the top of their lungs while playing.

The alone time with just newborn and I is something I truly look forward to and relish.  I am planning to nurse and there is something so perfect about being able to do so in complete silence staring at each other and getting to know one another.  I have a feeling this leave will have me surrounded by a curious 3 year old and a possibly envious 1 year old as he still likes snuggles when he wakes up or is tired. While that is a beautiful bonding experiences on one hand, it is a bit disappointing on the other as it has always been nice with the previous pregnancies to have a little alone time before sharing baby bonding experiences with everyone later.

That being said.  We have modified a lot throughout this pandemic so this is just another aspect of it.  We will adjust with this as well.  We’ll definitely keep you in the loop.  Have a fantastic day!


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