You've probably heard the jokes or had a few people make barbed comments about how your maternity leave is basically a vacation.
Well, we're here to tell you it's far from it!
It's important to start out by saying that having a baby and that baby bubble after you bring them home is the most magical experience you'll ever ever.
But it's also extremely mentally and physically challenging, and some women find it more difficult than others to adjust.
So, while you may be off work, no new mom is on vacation - and there are days you'll definitely wish you were back at work!
7 reasons why maternity leave is not a vacation
Not to put too fine a point on it, but here are 7 reasons why maternity leave is not a vacation.
- Baby business: Becoming a mom - whether it's your first or your fifth - is hard work and it's physically and mentally tougher than any job. You need to be prepared for that and the fact that breaks or time to eat lunch will become distant memories for a while!
- It's a rollercoaster ride of emotions: There's obviously the hormone crash, then the MAJOR adjustment to your new life, the sleeplessness, not to mention the recovery from giving birth.
- There is no rest: It would be laughable if it wasn't so serious, but where to people get off thinking maternity leave is a vacation? Any mom will tell you that this period is actually the busiest and most exhausting they've ever experienced. Yes, of course it's magical. But it is hard work, and to make it worse you're often functioning on little to no sleep so that doesn't help matters.
- You won't necessarily get paid: You should get paid, but not all women do. Make sure you know your rights and speak to your employer if you're pregnant or are planning a family.
- It will be a stressful time: This is not to take away from the fact that it will be the most amazing, rewarding and special time in your life. But it will be hard; it is a HUGE adjustment; babies don't come with a manual; and you will be sore, tired, and possibly also suffering from the baby blues or postpartum depression. Be kind to yourself, ask for help, and accept help when it's offered.
- Your relationship with your partner will take a hit: Bringing a baby into the world will most definitely bring a new closeness to your relationship, but it will also put strain on you both. There'll be the sleepless nights, possibly an unsettled baby, the loss of freedom, and less time for you to grapple with. Just remember that you both need each other more than ever, you're both learning in your own way, and ultimately the baby will (hopefully) bring you closer than ever.
- Feeding is a full-time job in itself: During a baby's first month of life, for example, he or she will feed eight to 12 times within a 24-hour period, spending as long as 20 minutes on each breast, according to KidsHealth. This means that, during that first month, a mom could end up nursing anywhere from roughly five to eight hours per day. Even if you're not breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, sterilising, and making bottles take a lot of time.