Maternity leave the second time around

77 days. This is how long I have been on maternity leave. When I was pregnant in 2007 with Owen, I went through the same thing as this time around with Luke: preparing to go on leave, spending hours at work getting ready and planning for my temporary replacement, writing ‘how to’ manuals on how to do my job, marketing plans, back-up plans, making lists upon lists, and so much more.

There is so much to do, and at the same time there is a definite “due date” of when you need to finish, wrap things up, and go home to wait – wait for that little bundle to arrive. In your last few weeks everyone seems to be asking you “When are you due?” or “Are you ready?”

Taking off for 3+ months takes a little getting used to. I have worked pretty much since I was 15 years old. I took a big break from work when Paul and I got married 9 years ago and then a 3 month leave when I had Owen in 2007, but other than that, I have pretty much been working for the better part of 20 years.

20 years. Wow, that sounds like a long time!

So, how do you get ready for a baby to come into your life? Sure there is the baby room, getting everything decorated, putting the shower gifts away, washing and folding all the tiny clothes, reading all the books, checking out all the mommy blogs, talking to all your mommy friends, but there is so much more to motherhood than all that stuff and all the advice everyone loves to give you.

I thought I would be a little more prepared this time around – heck, this was my second child and I had some very good practice these past three years with Owen. But nothing I think can prepare you – really prepare you for what it’s like to bring a baby into this world. Regardless of how the baby was born – the fact is – you created life!

Created life. How amazing is that?

Nothing quite prepares you for the moment you meet your child and you look into their eyes and realize they are a part of you and your husband, that moments earlier they were nestled inside of you, and that this small baby is a very big part of your legacy.

There is also the ’round the clock demands that regardless of your experience will throw your perfect organized life into a tailspin. Want to take a shower? How about at 11 :00 at night when everyone is finally asleep? Do you like your shirts – too bad they all have spit up on them now and oops, the baby just “did something” on my lap! And nothing prepares you for the middle of the night feedings. Thank goodness I have a wonderful husband who is there in the middle of the night – sometimes more so than I am.

Try getting 4 hours a sleep a night – then try that every day for a week and then for a month. Luke is now 2 months old and he’s done a few 6-7 hour stretches, but he’s still a little guy! On top of that, we don’t just have a 2 month old, we have a 3 year old who we are potty training and is used to being the center of our lives.

I remember a good friend of mine, when she was about to go on maternity leave asked me “What am I going to do with myself? The baby just eats and sleeps, I’m going to be so bored.” I remember smirking and saying “Yea… right!”

Having a little baby depend on you for everything can be overwhelming.

When all the friends and family have seen the baby, and the visitors stop visiting, it is just you and that little baby. Sometimes I feel bad – I can’t give Luke the 110% undivided attention I gave Owen. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been holding Luke feeding him and at the same time helping Owen on the potty or helping him get dressed or doing some other form of multi-tasking. I also chuckle at how I’m much more laid back with Luke.

So 77 days in, I finally feel like I’m in my groove.

I’ve cooked my 1st dinner ever, and I even enjoy trying to keep the house clean and tidy (‘try’ is the operative word here)! I spend long afternoons holding and cuddling with Luke, relishing in days where there is no task list and we can stay in our comfy clothes all day.

On one hand I am really, really looking forward to going back to work. I absolutely love my job and the people I work with; but then, I have moments like today. I took a walk with Luke to get a sandwich and I look down in his stroller and he’s looking back at me with his big blue eyes and I melt. How could I possibly leave this little guy?

25 days left until I go back to work.

But whose counting, right?

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