Friday, January 10, 2014

Maternity Leave Guilt

There are just 6 weeks left until Baby #3 is scheduled to arrive.  Maybe it's wishful thinking, but I'm assuming it won't actually be 6 more weeks.  It's been an insanely easy pregnancy, but I am noticing that things are getting more challenging (putting shoes on, not having to pee constantly, etc) and the baby's hanging out so far down that her kicks catch me off guard.

This was just a few weeks ago, but I swear I've doubled in size!

At my last prenatal appointment, however, I was a mess.  The holidays, losing my sweet aunt to pancreatic cancer on Christmas Eve, sick just was more than I could handle all at once.  So when I met with the nurse practitioner and asked about maternity leave, my desperation was coming through loud and clear.
Christmas morning--I miss caffeine.
Having her say that I might be able to go on maternity leave at 36, rather than 38 weeks, was such a relief.  Just knowing that it was a possibility made me instantly feel better.  There's a nap in sight?  Oh, thank God!

If you read my first birth story, then you may remember that my first daughter arrived prior to going on maternity leave.  That morning I made my mom the longest and most bizarre shopping list, because I had planned on using the last 2 weeks to get ready.  I don't want that to happen again!

After meeting with the nurse, I started stressing about work.  That's only 3 more weeks.  I've got two months of lesson plans to do, piles of grading I'm behind on, I still don't know who will be teaching my class, and I told the parents I'd stay as long as possible.    My worries about not being ready for the baby have been replaced with pangs of guilt for abandoning my classroom.  It's the difference of 2 weeks, but the way I play it out in my head you'd think I was forcing my students into slave labor.

To add to the guilt, I'm fine.  Exhausted, drowning in to-do lists, and feeling unprepared for this baby...but, physically, I'm fine.  I feel lazy for being so darn tickled at the idea of a few extra weeks to be at home.

Such is the life of a working mama.  I feel bad for working when I should be focusing on the arrival of the baby and taking better care of myself.  I feel equally as bad for wanting to not work anymore and leaving my class for 2 additional weeks.  Just wait until the going back to work guilt sets in!

What's a girl to do?