One of the things that really get to me during my so-called maternity leave is that it can get awfully lonely during the day.
Picture this: I’m home alone with Aidan all day. If we are not nursing, I am trying my darnest to get him to nap. That can take HOURS, during which he can be screaming the house down. I’m walking, rocking, soothing, singing, patting. And when he finally caves and falls asleep, I heave a sigh of relief and go settle my basic human needs like PEE or SHOWER or EAT. But because the little bugger is such a shitty sleeper, he is up 30 minutes later and I have to shovel the last bit of instant noodles or rice into my mouth and go comfort him. That takes 30 minutes or, hmm, another hour. Maybe TWO. Sometimes it works and he goes back to sleep. Sometimes it doesn’t and we end up wrestling till it’s time for him to have his boob juice again. And then the whole cycle happens all over again. In between, I change his diapers, wipe his ass clean, bathe him, burp him and kiss his cute cheeks.
By the time Mr Thick arrives home, I am exhausted beyond belief and ready to drop the baby into his willing arms.
Rinse, repeat, for the past nine weeks.
It’s not surprising that many women suffer from postpartum depression, really.
These past nine weeks have been like an extended roller coaster ride for me. The highs are rewarding and exhilarating but the lows are debilitating and painful. Some days, I find myself curled up in a fetal position next to my crying child, wondering what I can do to make this go away. When he is fighting sleep for the third hour, I wish he could just close his eyes and slip into slumberland.
And in the past nine weeks, there have been moments when I felt so stupid and anti-intellectual. I don’t know what is happening in the world, my hours and minutes and seconds center around my little man and I haven’t cooked or baked at all.
So no. Maternity leave is not LEAVE at all and it gets me mad when people automatically assume that new moms are having cushy lives.
And motherhood can be a very lonely journey.