Mama in the City

A blog about raising my family in downtown Vancouver

My Ode to Maternity Leave

At this time last summer I was big, pregnant, swollen and hot. I was in my last month of work and was dreaming about being on maternity leave. The 12 hour shifts were getting to me and I couldn't move around very fast during a birth. I dreamed about the upcoming year off and it seemed endless and potentially amazing.

I pretty much envisioned my new mother self traveling with our new amazing baby all over the place. Off to Florida to see my husbands family and maybe to France to just live and experience! I had great aspirations of studying and doing some course work for my nursing career. I'm not sure what happened but I have not done either of these things and I have a work schedule looming around the corner.

I'm not totally shocked and don't feel too badly about not getting these things done. I am just surprised that the year off is on its way to being over and I am feeling a little stumped. Where did it go? There was a full year off ahead of me and now there is about 6 weeks. There are things I didn't get done but I know that there is so much more that I did get do. This last year has been exhausting but also so amazing.

Since Ben was so screechy as a little baby we never did do any big plane travel and because he needed lots of love and attention the idea of studying was also sort of nixed. Of course over the months I often thought about my 'to do' list often but more important stuff kept popping up. The year is almost over and I already have started reflecting back on what I actually did get done.

So, what did I get done besides being a mama to a busy boy? Well, I was in two wedding parties as a bridesmaid all before Ben was 9 weeks old. At one of the weddings, as I stood up at the front, my baby screamed loudly throughout the vows (sorry Krista and Lance!). I took him on a float plane and traveled from Vancouver to Victoria alone with him first at 9 weeks and again a few months later. We walked the whole city together. Back and forth, back and forth. Something I never did before I had a baby and a stroller and days 'off'. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone at baby music class and sung my heart out and wiggled and moved just to make my boy happy. I had many wonderful baby dates with fellow mama friends and friends alike! So wonderful and sweet.

I guess I over planned my year off and didn't really account for all the real life factors to come into play. Like the fact that being a new mum is all consuming. No matter how I slice it I have loved my year off on maternity leave and it sort of feels like a gigantic gift. I'm curious how things will all work out but I don't want to over think it. I guess they will just work out how ever they do.


Melanie said...

It is hard going back to work. How pregnant were you in those pictures?

July 21, 2009 at 10:17 PM  
Mama in the City said...

In the first picture I was 32 weeks and the last one was 1 week before Ben was born. Man I was HUGE in that last picture!

July 22, 2009 at 8:16 PM  
Heather said...

Good luck heading back to work and balancing life as a working mom. The thing about being a mom is that you just keep on expanding. Somehow you fit the stuff in even when it seems impossible.

July 22, 2009 at 8:48 PM  
Sarah Mauza said...

andrea, you may not have gotten to your list of things to do while on maternity leave, but look at this AMAZING blog! seriously i am so moved by what you write everytime i check in. you have such a gracefullness about you and it comes through in your writing. ben must know how lucky he is to have such a devoted mummy that keeps his days filled with happiness (and i am sure it goes the other way too)

can't wait to find out what's next! =)

July 22, 2009 at 9:20 PM  
Amy said...

You are such a cool mama and make motherhood look so fun.

July 23, 2009 at 12:04 PM  
Jillian said...

Is that second picture your family? I see a resembelance. I would like to hear more about Mama in City's family members! Sisters?

July 23, 2009 at 8:13 PM  
Stephanie M. said...

I think that you actually did get a lot done on your year of leave. I know it is obvious but you have a baby! you were a mom! you did stuff!

July 24, 2009 at 3:57 PM  
Vivianwell said...

Wow...1 year maternity. I work for hospital and here we get a whopping 6 weeks maternity leave and they pay that from your PTO days (vacation, sick etc) until you out (usually 2 weeks) and rest unpaid. 3 months would of been a blessing let alone a year. I'm envious!

March 19, 2012 at 8:39 AM  

This is the great thing about Canada. We have our job secured for 1 year after baby is born. The mother or the father can take the time off. We get paid about 56% of our income, so it is time off but not full pay and there is a cap on how much they will pay you. My work tops me up to about 85% for the first 16 weeks of my leave. I can't imagine going back to work when the baby was 6 weeks old. Especially if you had a difficult birth and weren't yet recovered or a fussy high needs baby. I am loving my time off and am so happy I can take it.

March 19, 2012 at 2:43 PM  

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