Maternity Leave Musings

Tomorrow marks Oreo’s second month. It also means that 2/3 of my maternity leave has already passed – only one more month now and I’ll be back to work.

Before I gave birth I had such different expectations about what I would be doing during my 3-month leave. I thought I’d have so much time to myself that I can do anything and everything to straighten out my life  & more – while my baby naps on my SaYa carrier, I will work, clean, become a skilled wifey, write, draw, take online courses, start a business, exercise, and still have time for endless nap myself.

But as it turns out, 2 months has come & gone, and everyday I still barely have time to shower & wolf down my lunch before I have to attend to my little one again. And that’s already with the yaya acting as household help, taking most of the cooking & cleaning duties off my hands.

So much for getting this done.

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But then again, I am doing what I’m meant to do – mother my child.

Mothering meaning waking up before dawn cracks to feed my baby, then struggle to get back to sleep again as he effortlessly slips back to lalaland. Mothering as in trying to squeeze in morning coffee and a very very quick bath before he wakes up for his own breakfast. And then a very slippery bath after, followed by a loooong nursing session. And then a day long cycle of, napping, nursing, diaper changing, pumping, burping, cleaning, crying, and then nursing again.

I feel terrible having to admit this, but by the end of each day I’m more than willing to hand over my baby to hubby so that they can play and I can finally comb my hair and get some rest.

But at the same time, I really won’t do anything differently. Well, maybe Facebook less and take more daily photos and videos, but even if yaya is just within an arm’s reach, I’m glad I spent entire days singing lullabies and dancing my baby to sleep. I’m glad it was my arm he slept on everyday until my shoulders hurt, that it was my smell he breathed and my warmth he felt whenever he needed to feel secure and wanted to be carried. I’m glad it was me he saw when he nursed, when he drifted to sleep, when he looked around to check if anyone was with him. And I’m proud that I’m the one who clipped his fingernails and cleaned his ears, that I learned to burp him, and that it was me who bathed him and held him above his wash basin although he cried loudly and I was terrified he’d slip, until my arms stopped shaking and we both grew confident at it. Now, bath is both our favorite part of the day.

I’ll be going back to work next month and I’ve started his bottle-training. And as relieved as I am that he is starting to take the bottle from his lola and yaya, I feel sad that I’m preparing him to become less attached to me. But no matter how many hours I spend away from him, no matter how many bottles he take from anyone else, there were these two terrifying, gruelling, magical months when I was no one else but his mother, and I will always be his only mom.

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