So I am reaching what I believe to be the halfway point of my maternity leave. And I am falling deeper into a depression about it. I thought I’d be bored or annoyed by crying and or feeling like I am not getting anything done, but instead, I am loving it.
This is vastly different from my second maternity leave. My second maternity leave I wasn’t sleeping, I was annoyed, frustrated, and hated everything about it. I thought I wanted more time, but I didn’t. I was granted the extra time by my OB but she told me that it would be better for me to go back, but with support. That was when I realized I had PPD, and it was awful. I got help, I got meds, I talked about it. It got better over time, and I realized just how regretful I had become on the loss of my time with my baby. My friends all thought I was crazy, but they weren’t ME. They didn’t know what was happening in my head, driving me absolutely batty. More time wasn’t what I needed, normality was what I needed. And my first maternity leave, well that was great. I was able to sleep at the drop of a hat, I only had one child to worry about, and I felt ready when it was time to go back (which is good because I couldn’t get my OB nurse to agree to extra time).
This time, though, I feel like I am more balanced. I am getting some semblance of sleep, I am enjoying doing nothing before my other two get home, and a return to normalcy isn’t what I really want. Sure, I still get annoyed with the baby (or the other two) crying and frustrated with lack of sleep at times, but overall, I am enjoying being at home. I am loving cuddling with my baby, watching bad tv, and maybe getting one thing done at a time (today, my biggest accomplishments were unloading the clean dishwasher and doing a load of laundry). And through it all, I think to myself, why didn’t I enjoy this as much before?? Why did it take me until my third pregnancy before I figured out how amazing being a home, doing nothing, letting go can be? Yes, I am sure Lexapro has something to do with my anxiety ease, but I feel like there is something more that I can’t put my finger on. Then, my brain goes to that spot: how can I get more time? How can I convince my OB that I need a few extra weeks, especially because I have the time from work, I just need her ok? My husband doesn’t think I will get it, and he is trying to mentally prepare me to hear those words, but I am working on my acting.
This is one of the few things that makes me actually sad to be an American. Everywhere else in the world, you hear about people being able to take off 6 months to a year to be home with their child, with the job security in tact. Me? I have to think about ACTING like I need even a mere 2 more weeks because my stress level has started to return and I feel like my time with my infant is vanishing before my eyes. It’s a sad world we live in when a mother has to pretend like she medically needs more time off just to spend time with her child. Until I have to go back, I will try to cuddle and enjoy my time with my infant and push the stress aside.