Only Moms Know How Much Time They Need With Their Babies
When Yahoo’s new CEO, Marissa Mayer, discussed her decision to have an abbreviated maternity leave, the Internet was quick to accuse her of being a heartless mother. In reality, it’s an unfair statement, as some mothers prefer not to take a long maternity leave. They have invested a lot of time and effort in building their career, and they want to manage motherhood and career at the same time. Unfortunately, for most people, their intentions are often wrongly interpreted. Going back to work soon after the birth of your child is not an indication that you are not ready to become a fantastic mother. It’s simply your way to deal with the transformations in your life. However, it’s best for new mothers to address the physical and emotional changes in their life with significant time off. Why do you need to spend as much time as possible with your baby? Because it’s key to tackling your new life.
You need a break legally
If you’re an employee, you can enjoy up to 52 weeks leave from work, according to the employer/employee maternity leave guide, and still come back to a guaranteed position within your company. Besides, if you work in an office, you have an obligatory break of 2 weeks – or 4 weeks if your work involves manual labour – after birth. However, if you are self-employed, you are not entitled to any maternity leave – or more exactly you can take all the leave you want, but you can’t receive compensation for the weeks off. In other countries, such as Norway, parents have up to 52 weeks off that can be shared equally between the mother and the father – minus the necessary time off after birth that mothers need for medical reasons. So, if you’re considering having a child, it might sound like our Nordic neighbours are a lot family-friendlier than the British society.
You need a break physically
Let address the elephant in the room. Unless you’re Nicole Kidman and have access to a personal trainer, it’s likely that the physical transformation that happened in your body during the pregnancy will stay with you for a little while. In fact, there’s a love/hate relationship between young mothers and their bodies. On the one hand, it’s a body that gave birth to a human being, and that’s magical. On the other end, your body is deformed and feels unsexy. Did you know that 71% of women have received negative comments about their post-baby bodies? But that’s nothing compared to how they feel about their bodies. So you will need time to adjust to your new body, and while it’s possible to go back to your previous weight, it won’t happen overnight. Your body went through a lot during the past nine months, and it needs a rest.
You need a break emotionally
You can’t go through pregnancy without hearing about the postpartum depression. The baby blues, as some call it – which is a cute name for a difficult time – touches almost 70% of all mothers. It’s a natural struggle as your hormonal imbalance is adjusting itself, but it means that concretely you can be crying for no reason during the first 3 weeks following the birth. Emotionally, it’s a very hard time for mothers. There is no solution for it. Only rest and taking it easy can help you, but you know that with a baby it’s impossible to do any of these things. Your mind needs time to go back to normal, that’s why you need a break from any other obligations when you’ve had a baby. If you can’t think rationally, you can’t be of any use at work.
It’s a new life that begins
For first-time mothers having a baby is the beginning of a new life. You will need some time to get used to the changes in your lifestyle – even if you’ve had months to think about the baby, it’s still a big change to go from two to three – and to get to know your baby. Some mothers are under so much stress that they find it difficult to bond with their babies during the first months. Other might not experience any of the “love at first sight” feelings that they’ve heard about. Don’t panic. You are going through a lot, and it’s natural to find it tricky at first to embrace the transformation of your new life. Things will come in time as long as you don’t rush it.
New moms should not feel guilty about taking a lot of time off to be with their babies. Your body, your mind and your household have been transformed with the birth. Take the time you need to feel good in your new skin as a mommy.