Some woman has the idea that she feels like females who have decided NOT to have a baby still deserve an extended paid leave. Rather than MAternity leave, she has coined it MEternity. Time that is all hers, where she can revamp, rejuvenate and revitalize her life, while getting paid. A time where she can rest, relax and vacation without fear of losing her job. 12 weeks of ME time, then heading back to work feeling nice and refreshed…..
Here is the thing, all of those things DO NOT happen during a maternity leave. In fact, the many weeks after giving birth are some of the most difficult, painful, and emotional time of a woman’s life. Going through the many hours of painful contractions, then pushing a human being out of your vagina and having your insides completely explode is a fucking cake walk compared to the weeks ahead of you. So if this women thinks that starting her MEternity means taking a deep breath and letting the relaxation begin, she is dead wrong.
Once your maternity leaves begin, your new life as a mom begins as well. Here you are, with a baby. Pregnancy is over and those months and months (for some women years) of waiting for this little bundle is over and he/she has arrived. Now comes the “relaxation” right?!
When maternity leave begins, all the fucking fun begins too. First off, your breasts. Nothing says rejuvenation like having your milk come in. Seriously, I was so relaxed as my breasts swelled to an abnormal size, became rock hard and discolored. Then after the agony of learning how to actually breast feed my child, the fun time of mastitis kicked in and my vacation was in full swing.
Next the real party of exhaustion starts. It took a couple days to greet me, but after having my vagina ripped open, breast engorged and bringing home a human being, tiredness had arrived (and has never really left.) But for real. I hope whoever takes a “MEternity” sets their alarm to go off every two hours. Because that is what happens during maternity leave. EVERY TWO HOURS. It doesn’t matter if it is 2 pm or 2 am, when that baby needs food, you must wake up to nourish it. And that whole ‘you nap while they nap’??? BULLSHIT. During maternity leave, sleep does not exist.
Next up on the refreshing our lives agenda, is the arrival of hormones. Up and down, then back up, then back down. You’ve never been so in love, yet you also feel so lost. This new role of “mom” is so confusing and frustrating. You are suppose to be so happy, but you can’t stop crying. You are so in love, but you just want to scream. You have so many visitors but you just want to be alone. You look at your baby and just want to smile. But all of your hormones are making you worried about if they will get picked on in high school. If they will ever find true love. If this 5 day old will have a good career path. Your partner is trying to help, but they are doing everything wrong and you really just want to claw their eyes out. Oh those hormones. I hope they give injections of those during MEternity.
Maternity leave is full of trial and error. Once you think you have mastered one thing, something new appears. And you are doing this all while trying to heal your own stitches on your lady parts. Every hour your new baby has a surprise for you and it is your job to keep up with it. All you do is care take, nurture and give. And you are doing it…GLADLY. But there is absolutely nothing ME about maternity. Once you become a mom, me goes out the window…for a long time. Me is a shadow that is waiting in the background. A longing you have to feel again, but you can’t. Me is now and forever a you and us. You know you will find your me again, but you certainly will not see her during the beginning stages. And when you do reconnect, it will never feel the same. Me time, as a parent means always having in the back of your head that you are not there with your child. That freedom of me is gone. FOREVER.
Yes, I know, being a mom is the most amazing thing in the world, but this shit is hard. A constant battle. And having been through 3 maternity leaves (of course without pay) I now see moms going through it and feel a twinge of sadness for them. The pain, the body changes, the exhaustion, the loneliness. I see it all and just want to tell them it is all about survival. One day you will sleep again. Your stitches will heal and sex will sound fun. You will be the master mom of your child. Just ride this wave right now and survive.