Mommy Moments: I’ll Miss These Blurry, Sleepless, Hormonal Maternity-Leave Days

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Our new columnist, Jennifer Kissane, is going back to work soon after maternity leave and it’s a time filled with emotion…

“On the day a baby is born, so too is a mother. She never existed before.”– Rajneesh.

My baby is 6 months old and the hazy, fog-filled daze I’ve been living in is lifting. A tentative routine of a night’s sleep has prevailed and I feel like me again.

In fact, it’s like the universe is plotting, as my maternity leave is officially over. I am on annual leave and due back to work next month.

The thoughts that have overcome me as I think of this are fear at such a change, ( I barely have a minute in the day as it, how will I fit a job in?!), guilt and anxiety of leaving my baby, while I leave to go to work is overwhelming.

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I’m certainly not the first woman to be a mother and have a career. Pre-baby, I have spent the last third of my life studying to become and working as a Social Care Worker.

I am currently seconded as Acting Centre Manager, a challenging role, within Day and Residential services for people with intellectual disabilities.

I love my job, and I’ve always strived to give and be 100%. Likewise as a mother, I expect to be no less and give no less. The dilemma I face is, can you really be both, a mother and a career woman?

Is it possible to be two people?  (Not to mind being a wife and just being me!) Not only that, I feel the 26 weeks was really about 16, surely if you don’t sleep through a few weeks you should get them reimbursed as sometimes the days of the week were very unclear!

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The options facing women after the 26 weeks maternity leave are an additional 16 weeks unpaid maternity leave.

Parental leave is also an option to help mothers with a work life balance. Of course a positive change in Ireland has been the two weeks paternity leave for new fathers, introduced from September 2016.

Figures released only last week have highlighted a very poor uptake of this leave by fathers, particularly in Kerry. Perhaps unused leave by fathers could be added on to the mother’s leave?

I write this wistfully thinking, why Ireland didn’t look to Scandinavian countries like Norway or Sweden, where you have a full year maternity leave.

All in all, new mothers and new families have a juggling act ahead – time-wise,  financially and in their overall familial well-being as you balance work,  family,  child care costs and basically striving for overall happiness.

Whether you choose to be a stay-at-home mom, work from home or work outside the home, there are choices to make and those 26 weeks of blissful blurry sleepless hormonal days are over far too quickly.

• Jennifer Kissane is mommy to Fionn aged six months and stepmom to Jordan aged 13

One Comment

  1. When I had my first baby 24 years ago the leave entitlement was 2 weeks before and 4 weeks after,didnt give you long to recover!