Looking back over the last 11 months I think about the many opinions and thoughts I had about what it would be like to be home on maternity leave, and boy was I wrong! I was worried that I would be bored, well the last thing you are with a premature baby is bored. I thought I would not know how to play with my son because I didn’t really play myself when I was little and how exactly does one play trucks?!? I was worried I would I would not feel fulfilled and feel like I needed to be back at the office, because I have basically been working, in school or both for the past 16 years of my life. But really most of these thoughts came out of fear of not wanting to be a bad, or “lazy” parent. I wanted to be the best parent I could be for my son I didn’t want to settle for second rate. And thankfully I am never bored, I get the biggest laughs from a round of peek-a-boo at the table and trucks a easy, so much less dialogue than dolls so thank goodness I had a son, and raising my son challenges me in new ways every day making want to be better and feel more fulfilled than I ever did at work.
Thankfully, for the majority of the experiences I was wrong about turned out to be very positive and I am thankful for them. Sadly one expectation inhad that I thought would be so positive turned out to be very megative. I didn’t expect how isolating it can be to be on maternity leave. How you can go weeks… even months without another adult initiating conversation with you. That going to mommy and me every week does not guarantee that you will form friendships with any other adult and a time will come when you look around the room and realize that you only know that adults as “Keira’s mom” and “Bradly’s grandma”. And yes much of this is because everyone is busy with their own lives and many are going through the motions powering through until bedtime so they can crash at 7pm with the little in hopes of a few hours of rest; but that doesn’t make the feeling of isolation any less overwhelming.
So to my many pregnant friends and family out there I will be texting, calling, messaging you from time to time when you are home maternity leave. Don’t feel like you need to reply right away, but know I will chat about the weather, your baby’s poo-explosion or the latest episode of the Bachelor whenever you are ready, because it’s the one thing I needed the most over this last year, to feel like I entered someone’s thoughts and they decided to reach out. Because no one should have been as excited as I was to go to a medical appointment because they are the only person who you would speak to that week that would respond with adult conversation.
How did you fight the isolation of maternity leave? Let me know in the comments below!