If you had told me a few months ago that buffering ample time out for maternity leave is a good idea because it’s hard to gauge energy levels as the birth date approaches, I would have given you an ambivalent, “I’ll see how it goes”. Normally I do consider myself as someone who has stamina and being able to “hang in there” when it comes to tolerating a bit of discomfort or fatigue. The past two days spent out of commission in bed, however, have made me realize how the final stretch of pregnancy can really take a toll on the body. Throw in a cold, slight ear infection that makes getting up quite woozy, and couple it with restless sleep due to the inability to find a comfortable position for this unrecognizable body, and it’s two embarrassing straight days of calling in sick to work.
While my anxiety spikes at the thought of emails and voice messages piling up, I cannot begin to imagine what it is like to for other pregnant women who have children and a larger household to take care of, regardless of whether they are feeling under the weather or not. Kudos to mommies and other devoted caregivers for being on-call 365 days a year. There’s no Blackberries to simply switch off, and you sure can’t tell a spouse or the kids to “leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible”. Over the course of these last eight months, I am often reminded by those who have traveled this road ahead of me to cherish the experience, as “afterwards” is yet another chapter that does not promise anything easy either, but with determination and devotion, it too can be an extremely rewarding journey.