Special Thanks to Guest Blogger, Liz Sacks of DIYparenting.
Maternity leave is one of the most precious periods of our lives. It’s the beginning of another life, a foundation for our future parenting, and as such, we want to make the most of every moment. Here are just a few ways that you can get the most out of your leave before the inevitable return to work:
1.Think ahead. If you want a maternity leave that extends past 6 weeks, you may need to cover your expenses, as most employers pay for only a limited amount of time of maternity leave, if they offer pay at all. At the beginning of your pregnancy, begin cutting your budget down as much as possible, and saving money immediately. Law requires that your job must be held for a minimum of 12 weeks while you are on maternity leave. There are provisions for this law that you may need to know before starting maternity leave. Each employer is different, and may have more or less friendly policies regarding maternity leave. Know your rights. (Read about your maternity rights: Understanding Basic Maternity Leave Laws)
2. Surround yourself with a support group. Your mom, aunt, sister or friend may all want to take turns helping you out materially or emotionally. Decide what kind of help you want, when you want it, and put your ducks in a row now. If you don’t want people traipsing through your house inspecting your toilets, cook and freeze meals ahead of time, so you can get through the first two weeks on your own with a minimum of stress! This is perhaps the most important thing you can do!
3. Don’t stress. During maternity leave, don’t stress about the state of your house, or the kind of meals you are eating, (just be sure that you’re eating is enough). Worry about holding, cuddling, snuggling and bonding with your baby. When your newest little one is sleeping– and it will be a lot– take time to nap, take a bubble bath, watch a grown-up movie, or chat with another adult. This will help stave off those baby blues.
4. Watch out for postpartum depression. Tell your husband, doctor or support persons if you are feeling sad, overwhelmed or are having disturbing thoughts. This is a time when hormones try to get the best of you. Don’t let them! You can do this, and one day it will be enjoyable, rewarding and precious! Don’t be afraid to get some help!
5. Connect with other mommas. Try to connect with another momma who is close to you in your pregnancy. I was able to get through some mild postpartum depression without medication, simply because I had another mom going through the same things as I did. Some days her emails were all that kept me sane. I was so glad to go through maternity leave with someone who was experiencing what I was, and who understood things in a way my husband never could. My doctor was thrilled that I made such progress in so short a time.
6. Don’t believe everything you read. No matter how tempting, resist the urge to research your questions on the Internet. If you have questions about parenthood, medical needs, baby habits or choices to be made, ask your support team. Grandma, mom, pediatrician and your obstetrician, all know you and your baby. The Internet does not. It will only cause unnecessary worry.
Special Thanks to Guest Blogger, Liz Sacks.
Liz Sacks is a mom blogger who writes about managing motherhood at DIYparenting. She enjoys juggling three children, a job and being a student.