I returned to work this week. A new job no less, so a bit more stressful than the usual going back to work after having a baby. Not to mention moving and almost dying along the way. At some point (ok multiple points…) I was overwhelmed and probably met criteria for postpartum anxiety.
I spoke to a psychiatrist friend who pointed out that I pretty much experienced all the top life stressors except death of a loved one (and let’s keep it that way!) within a 4 month period:
- New baby (especially the first one)
- New Job
- Serious illness
She also pointed out that what’s especially hard for new mothers is that no one is taking care of us. We are always taking care of baby (and spouse). I feel lucky that my mother lives nearby enough and has been with us most weeks.
So, I decided to give myself a pass on pretty much everything. I stopped worrying too much about what I was eating. I stopped worrying about posting consistently on this blog. I stopped worrying (well not really) about my new postpartum figure. I stopped worrying about spending too much especially if it made my life easier during this time. I am still trying to worry less about the not fully unpacked apartment. Oh, and I finally figured out the biggest fallacy of “maternity leave” – nothing gets done despite not “going to work.”
Throughout my leave I was often asked how are we able to afford taking 16 weeks of mostly unpaid leave (6 weeks paid at my old base salary was all I got). The answer is simple – we live below our means and we saved for it. Remember, you have about 9 months to save for maternity leave! In other words, we do not need our whole paycheck to live on. I stopped making extra payments to loans in favor of saving for this time. It definitely didn’t feel good to watch my checking account balance only decrease during this time, but seeing his face daily more than made up for it.
Isn’t this what it’s all about moms? I hope everyone about to have a baby can have the freedom to spend more than the typical 4-6 weeks of doctor maternity leave.
What do you think? Comment below!