Happily Adjusting to Motherhood during Maternity Leave
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As I sit here watching my Baby Bear play on her play gym on the last day of my maternity leave, I am filled with overwhelming love, joy, sadness, and absolute guilt. She’s laying there happy as a lamb, punching that insipid monkey rattle right in his pompous face and giving the puppy teether a what-for; and I can’t help but wonder what will be going through her mind when someone else is sitting on this cold floor next to her cheering on the battle to the death with Mothra (also known as Freddy the Firefly). Will she miss me? Will she boycott naps, or organize a sit in? (She’s highly advanced!) Will I survive? Will I just cry so hard that my eyes fall out? Even worse, will I enjoy it? Will I be happy to go back to work and leave her in the hands of another? Am I a bad mother? So many things speeding through my brain some thoughts rational, some of them completely asinine! I take a moment to look back on the last three and a half months.
Baby bear was two weeks past due, and the last two weeks of my pregnancy I worked tirelessly preparing our home for a new edition, doing ALL the old-wives tales to induce labor, and managing my own anxiety related to labor and caring for a newborn. I spent my last night before the hospital walking the steps, eating steak, and hyperventilating intermittently between sobs wondering if I was doing something wrong, or right, that this baby refused to come to meet us! Then there was the labor and the hospital stay (which we will discuss in a different post!). Then we were home, with this tiny, completely dependent, beautiful little blob of a person. Papa Bear and I spent three weeks together learning how to care for a newborn, how to perfect the perfect swaddle and losing our voice SHUSHing this little girl to sleep. Then I was alone (luckily only 3 days a week), to create my own routine. I was so nervous, but eventually I fell into my own routine, and after a week or so, I LOVED IT.
How, you ask? Well here’s my advice to ENJOY your maternity: