Mama in the City

A blog about raising my family in downtown Vancouver

I'm starting to countdown my remaining shifts at the hospital! I can't believe that I'm actually at the point of being able to countdown and that there is indeed an end in sight. It feels a little bit surreal actually and I'm now in single digits of remaining shifts. I'm so excited and determined to finish things up and plug through the chaotic 12 hour shifts.

I feel like I'm being rather smart this time around by going off of work early and am really happy with my decision. Of course I am also really fortunate that I am able to do this and know so many women who have no choice but to work up until the very last minute. I've got some paid vacation and some pre booked paid sick time and live in a country that has a pretty awesome maternity leave. One reason why I'm leaving work early is super obvious, taking care of my health, but the other reason is that I'm really wanting to enjoy the Holiday season nestled snugly at home with my family! Surprisingly, I am getting a lot of support and love from people about my decision to leave work early. Quite different than my last time around!

When I was pregnant with Ben I heard a lot of opinions from fellow mamas. They told me how they had worked up until the day before they gave birth and how they didn't use up one single sick day as they grew their baby. They told me how they didn't start their maternity leave one second early and worked worked worked through their own long hospital shifts. One person told me how she was up and about shopping 2 days after having a Cesarean birth (ridiculous in my opinion!).

Through my professional practice and my personal experience, I've come to learn you don't win any special brownie points by pushing yourself through pregnancy, especially towards the end of it. Instead, pushing yourself and not giving your mind and body a break can actually make things harder for you and your labour and your ultimate recovery. Not allowing yourself the opportunity to slow down can even effect your pregnancy and how you deal with stress.

This time around I've become really excellent at saying no to various things. I've said no to traveling out of the country in my third trimester, even though it would have been lovely to see my husbands family and enjoy some time with them. I've said no to going out of town over Christmas to spend the Holidays with my own family in our usual tradition filled way. Instead, I am putting myself, my health and my little family as first priority and for me that means to slow down.

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The sweet sweet slow down captured amongst minutes from the past

Creating slow moments by reading a book with children piled all around

Bedtime rituals have a way of making you change your pace

Most likely this will be my last pregnancy and I want to savour my growing bump with quiet afternoons lounging at home with Ben while marvelling at baby kicks and movements. I want to slow things down and live in the moment of right now and not have to be filled up with worry from external stressors, like travel or getting through one more long shift with a huge belly.

I am so aware that life is soon going to change in a big way and I am so appreciative that I have the means to say no and the ability to take the time to slow things down. I wish all pregnant mamas could change the pace in their life and increase the moments of stillness while they can.


kristin said...

Excellent!  Such a great decision Andrea!  Enjoy every second of your approach to having two children, no stress or strain necessary!  How lovely!  

November 8, 2011 at 8:52 PM  
Ashley said...

Oh I wish someone would have told me that the first and second time around. It wasn't till I was done being pregnant and our girls were past the hard beginning of babyhood that I realized, there were no trophies for Mommies who never rested, took a break asked for help...I'm so glad you are taking it easy and taking the time off!

November 9, 2011 at 2:28 PM  

I am so sure that there will be stress and strain in the months to come...that I will try very hard to live the quite while I can ;)

November 9, 2011 at 9:03 PM  

It is one big advantage of the work that I do. I get to see the mum that worked up until the day she gave birth. The one managing her work from her postpartum bed or who has to go home to four other kids. It's like a lot of things in pregnancy and birth...seeing different people go through it, gives me a lot of chance to make a really good choice for myself!

November 9, 2011 at 9:05 PM  
Kristen said...

That's quite wise of you Andrea and I commend you for it!

November 11, 2011 at 11:15 AM  
harriet glynn fancott said...

It is truly ridiculous not to take time off before the birth especially if you have another child. This is your only opporunity to rest prior to the birth and then you're "on." Good decision IMO!

November 13, 2011 at 8:54 PM  
Sarah M. said...

You have made the best choice!!  You are looking out for #1 and that is so important.  I am so happy for you that you will have so much time to relax and enjoy the things you feel are necessary for you.  Every woman is different and there is no reward for who can last the longest.  I had a few months of time off for each of my pregnancies b/c my back was so sore, it was so hard to stand much longer than an hour.  It ended up being so enjoyable and much easier to bear the dreaded last 3 weeks when it came time.

I hope that you indulge in all that suits your fancy and rest up as much as you can b/c you are right, everything is going to turn upside down in your house soon enough!  I love your last line, it's so true and should be mandatory.  =)  

November 14, 2011 at 3:06 PM  

Thanks for the love Sarah. I am really really happy to have decided to go off work early. Especially so as I've already started to book all the crazy medical appointments and WHOA..I will still be at the hospital an awful lot it seems. At least I'll be sitting ;)

November 16, 2011 at 8:50 PM  

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