Sunday, 6 January 2013

Maternity Leave: A reflection on that which has past.

I'm just coming to the end of mine so I thought I'd have a look back at the reality of this period.

1.    Do take the pre-birth time to have a well earned break. You have been growing a baby and that is hard work. Watch some films, read a book, eat cake, go for a pamper (pregnancy friendly, of course) and take it easy.
8 months and time to put the feet up!

2.    People might mention getting as much sleep as possible before the baby arrives however most women find sleep in the third trimester uncomfortable so instead of worrying about lack of sleep, just chill out. Try a You Tube guided meditation to have a power nap. Or have little snoozes when you feel like it.

3.    After the baby is born, please rest. Adrenaline and excitement tend to course through the veins days after the baby is born and you will be on full alert. I found I wanted to get back to life as quickly as possible but I should have been resting and letting my partner do more.

Brand new baby Boo-boo!

4.    You are allowed to say no to visitors. Your guests will all want to turn up when the baby arrives and you might not be in the mood for it, so put them off for another day.

5.    There are lots of free things for babies to do such as the one o'clock clubs, Sure Start centres and library story times. You don't have to feel obliged to go along if you are just enjoying the peace with your baby at home. If you do intend to visit one of these places, I recommend phoning to check whether things are on.

6.    Eat, cake or lunch and sip coffee with friends (other mummies or otherwise). And remember that you need a break - most mother's are spending lots of the night time up with their baby and deserve a treat!

Coffee, cake and baby Boo-boo

7.   It's ok to feel a little stir crazy in this period. Day in, day out, night in, night out of baby, baby, baby can make you feel a little irrational and yearning to have a grown up conversation. If you can find an outlet to keeping you sane, try and make a bit of time for it whether that be writing a blog, a regular evening out with friends or doing some sports.

8.   It is likely that there will be times when you feel hugely resentful of your partner. Sometimes, I think it's the hormones othertimes it's because he thinks I'm playing with the baby and having fun all day. The level of anger is a new emotion to me. I understand these things fade with time.

9.   It goes past very quickly. And it will be hard to step back and reflex on it all. People say that kids grow up so quickly and to remember these times but most parents (particularly the main carer) don't always have the energy to enjoy these moments.

I feel there  is lots more I could say on this subject! But what do others think? What have I missed? Or anything that you disagree with. Post comments below!


  1. Hi Ruth,your list is very sensible well done!

    I have been following your tweets and didn't realise you were on mat leave while you are keeping the blog (very actively). I know it takes a lot of effort to look after a baby, mine is now 19 months old and i have gone back to work since he was 6 months and a half. So your bullet points apply to me. One thing i enjoyed most was being at home in the early days and getting to know the baby slowly day after day. But I also appreciated a lot other mums' company - good for mental health!!

    I live in lambeth and have consulted your blog for things to do and reviews so thanks for the effort.

    I also keep a blog and have recently writen a piece on 'fashion styles and what it means for new mummies' as i struggled with the return to 'normal size body' and the fact that i no longer knew what my style was (i still do though...) here it is, I would like to hear your thoughts

  2. I love this post, I totally agree with number 8, I would find myself getting so resentful too and didn't understand why, it's more tiring than you realise its going to be, and sometimes when they come home from work you feel they assume you've been 'chilling' all day - as if! It's lovely though to have that time, I wish I could go back to the start of it again with hindsight and relax more into it and savour it more. It goes by SO fast. x

  3. Hi Laura,

    Thanks for reading my post! First day back at work doesn't feel so bad so far (apart from missing the baby).

    I enjoyed reading your blog - post pregnancy body is difficult to dress for until you've had a chance to get to grips with what the long term changes are. I am still breast feeding and that makes my figure more hour glass and less pear. However it isn't going to stay that way. I do have some dresses packed away for when my shape changes!

  4. Totally hear you on number 8 there!

  5. what a fabulous list! I wish Id had a longer leave to make better use of it...

  6. Fill up your freezer with home cooked foods and invest in a slow cooker.Ask visitors who arrive to see the baby to come with shopping like bread, milk, fresh fruit and vegetables or a home cooked meal.Enjoy your maternity leave and your new baby.

  7. Hi Ruth,
    I am pleased to hear that return back to work is going well. As long as baby is safe and happy with the childcare you have chosen, there are no other major issues with adapting back to work. I even find it restful, much more than if i was at home. When you look after baby it never stops whereas at work you can sit down and have a coffee and a few minutes to yourself.

    I like Aly's recommendations. Even after mat leave it is so useful when friends or family bring a cooked meal or fruits/drinks etc, it saves time and effort!

  8. Number 8 was a real shocker for me too!

    I'm on day 2 of being back at work and so far, so chaotic! But everyone says it will calm down and a routine will establish itself. Here's hoping! Good luck with going back to work Ruth. And well done on such a great blog. I noticed you're looking for contributors and would be happy to pen a piece for you.