Monday, November 17, 2008

6 weeks is not long enough

I'm not sure who decided that 6 weeks is an appropriate amount of time to expect a new mother to return to work. I mean, sure, that's a month and a half it should be fine! Right? NO WAY! - There are too many new changes in this part of life that both baby and mommy are going through that do not get resolved by the time the 6 week mark hits. Let's examine this a little more closely:

A 6 week old baby is still VERY needy and needs his mommy.
A 6 week old mommy is still VERY needy and needs her baby.

A 6 week old baby does not typically sleep through the night yet, therefore
A 6 week old mommy does not typically sleep through the night.

A 6 week old baby may not have many worries but
A 6 week old mommy not only worries for herself, but multiply it by 100x and that's the tip of the iceberg of a new mommy's daily worries.

A 6 week old baby's body is changing rapidly - gaining weight, features are developing more distinctly and even forming a personality!
A 6 week old mommy's body is still bouncing back from the 9 months of gaining weight, changing features and even the change in personality from being a cranky pregnant woman to a cranky new mommy!!

A 6 week old baby cries when he's hungry, wet, tired and sometimes for no reason.
A crying baby makes it hard for mommy to eat, use the bathroom and sleep - therefore
A 6 week old mommy cries when she's hungry, wet, tired and sometimes for no reason!

As the evidence above suggests, there is way too much going on in the life, body and mind of a new mommy is so consumed with her new bundle of joy there is no way she is mentally or physically ready to return to work - yet, many of us must. As I did today. It was a very hard day. It's hard to explain what the separation from your new baby is like - it is very sad, but its really not just your typical "oh, I'm sad" feeling, it becomes almost a physical emotion - I could feel the separation from my little one and that's why it hurts so bad.

I'm sure that if I stayed home until 12 weeks, or 30 weeks, or 52 weeks it wouldn't be any easier emotionally but perhaps some of the other stuff would have worked itself out by then.


Brandie said...

I completely and totally agree with you. I am actually really worried about this for when my husband and I have our first child. I have always disagreed with the fact that my work only pays for 6 weeks. We can take up to 12 - but we have to use vacation pay or not get paid at all. Which I can't afford. It's really unfair! And it's not enough time with your baby! I'm sorry you have to go through this.

Leslie said...

This is why the european countries have it figured out...

Love you...

Laurie said...

i agree with leslie.. here in italy, you get 5 months paid materity leave.. 2 months before the baby is born and 3 after.. then you can opt to take additional maternity leave at 30% of your stipend for an additional 6 months. and should you decide to return to work when you baby is 3 months old, you can work part-time hours but still receiving your full pay.. not bad.. it's one of the few things that actually work in this country!