Post # 1
Good morning bees!
H and I have recently made the decision to TTC for our 1st. Although it is exciting and scary at the same time, we are anxious to see where this process takes us!
We feel well prepared in all aspects, besides one detail of uncertainty. We don’t have a defined maternity leave policy (grad student) and it largely depends on the time of year how much time I would get. The best I’ve gotten from the school is that it can range from 6 weeks to the full 3 months or even a year, if you want to be behind in the program. The office can’t give me a better time frame until we have a EDD, which is understandable.
Although taking a year off is an option, it’s not really one I want to consider unless I have to. I’m mostly seeking your experiences if you had to, or elected to, take a shorter maternity leave and if that’s a reasonable possibility.
For background, if needed, if I do have to go back early, Darling Husband has the ability to be flexible with his work and do some work part time/at home. Also, my parents are retired and would be able to come to our home and help out. Plus, my program is very pumping friendly and lets Boyfriend or Best Friend moms take care of business and pump when needed.
Post # 2
I had the traditional 12 week maternity leave with my first. It didn’t feel like nearly enough time to me. I sobbed on my way to work my first day back. She was so little and just needed me so much, and I felt so sad. It was super hard on me. I think it’s a shame that the US is so behind the rest of the world on maternity leave.
I’m a Stay-At-Home Mom now, so I will be home with Dear Daughter and our new baby this time around.
Everyone is different, and some people are super excited to jump back into work soon after having a baby. I think a lot of it depends on your personality, as well as your baby’s personality.
Post # 3
I have 4 1/2 months, and I’m getting ready to go back in two weeks. I’m not itching to get back, and in a perfect world I think I’d be a Stay-At-Home Mom for the next couple of years, but I also don’t feel like it’s way too soon. At six weeks, ten weeks or even twelve weeks, I think I would have had a really hard time leaving my son. He just seemed so small and needy still. He’ll be more like 19 or 20 weeks when I go back, and he’s already so much more independent. I know that’s a weird thing to say about a baby, but it’s like – he can play by himself for a while, he’s sleeping really well, he just seems stronger and sturdier.
But yes, everyone is different and it can be tough to know how you’ll feel until you’re actually there. I thought I’d go nuts being home all day with a baby, but I actually really love it. Some women think it’ll be amazing and find themselves super ready to go back to work.
Post # 4
IowaDDS13: I haven’t gone on my leave yet, but I’m due in late October and I work on the academic calendar. The start of the spring semester just is what it is, and I imagine my employer would work with me if I wanted or needed to start my classes a couple weeks late, but I am a control freak and would prefer not to do that.
So if the kid comes a week or two early, I might get the full 12 weeks of leave, although of course I am not hoping to deliver early. If he’s on time or late, I’ll have between 9-11 weeks of leave. I already know it will not feel like enough, but I’m not too broken up about it yet because I also know that I couldn’t stay at home much longer than a few months without going nuts. I am very much one of those people who needs to work, for my sanity and the sanity of those around me.
Weird as it sounds, grad school was one of the more flexible times in my career. It sounds like you have a pretty flexible program as well. I’m confident you can make it work for your family 🙂
Post # 5
brlabrat: Thanks for the insight! At first I was hesitant to start our family in grad school, but after talking to students ahead of me who have done it and getting advice from people in the profession, it seems like it will be more flexible than I thought! I’m starting to believe that it’s true that there really is no perfect time for a baby!
Thanks to everyone else’s insight as well, I really do think it’s a shame that the US has such a short maternity leave compared to the rest of the world!
Post # 6
I had a full year and I am starting back to work next week. I didn’t even think of work while I was away and I really enjoyed that time. Not just because I was there for my daughter, but for me, I needed that time to recover from birth and pregnancy. I think it took till I was almost 6-7months post-partum to start feeling like me again mentally, physically, and emotionally. Now a year later, I’m not necessarily thrilled to be going back, but I’m ready to go back in a sense. Plus at this age, my daughter could use more than just mommy for interaction. And I fully admit I could use more adult interation too. I know thats not what work’s for, but to know that I’m about to go back to doing something else meaningful than just raising my daughter is a good thing for me.
There’s no real right answer here, but what works for you. Be happy you have options. A lot of women don’t!
Post # 7
IowaDDS13: Definitely no perfect time. Not sure about your field, but in mine, it is still (unfortunately) very important for women to avoid the dreaded “baby gap” in employment or publication record if they want to be taken seriously in the hiring process. Looking back, the easiest time for me to have a baby and absorb the resulting hit to my productivity would have been during grad school. Of course I felt insanely busy all the time in grad school, but in hindsight I was a lot less busy than I am now. Too bad I was nowhere near ready to be a mom at the time 😉 It’s definitely not an ideal moment in my career to be doing this now, but I eventually got to a point professionally and mentally where I felt secure enough to stop caring, lol.
And yes about our dismal state of maternity leave in the US. It really lays bare our priorities as a culture, no?
Post # 8
My company’s standard is 6 weeks for maternity leave (and I’ve heard that’s common for many US companies). With my first baby, I added 2 weeks of vacation time, so I was off for 8 weeks. It really is a short period of time, but I was ready to go back and get adult interaction. It gave me enough time to be confident pumping milk to send to daycare each day, and baby was happy to take a bottle when I wasn’t around. I felt mostly recovered from delivery, although I wouldn’t say I really felt like myself until after I finished BFing. If I had a longer leave, I would have had to join some mommy groups or something to at least get out and do something, cause I’m one of those people who isn’t content to just stay home. All the women at my company (and many others) do fine with 6-8 weeks off, so I’m sure you’ll be fine with even the shortest option for your leave.
Post # 9
I did not get my “traditional” leave for where I live (Canada, one year), I went back to my phd at 6 months pp and I will be bitter about this FOREVER. I am always crazy jealous of moms on leave with their 9 month olds and whatnot. I’m pregnant now with #2 and I’m pulling out all the stops to get a full year this time and hopefully erase some of that bitterness. (Working full time while also a full time student, so I can pay enough into EI to get maternity leave money, and frankly just taking what I deserve. I didn’t have to go back to 6 months last time, I chose to. UGH.)
Post # 10
I’m pregnant now and as long as we are ok financially, I plan on taking the full year we are entitled to in aus. It isn’t paid, in fact I only geg the govt pay as my company is American owned so don’t give us conpany paid mat leave like most in Aus, but it’s great that at minimum my job will be held. I’m really looking forward to that year. Most people I know who went back earlier than the year have regretted it so I’m hoping financially hubby will be able to support Us.
Post # 11
- Wedding: December 2014 - Maui
Not pregnant yet, but I plan on taking 6 weeks before birth, and a year after birth, as entitled to me by Japanese law.
Post # 12
brlabrat: I’m in the same boat — only due at the beginning of Nov. If I give birth around my due date, my kiddo will be about 10 weeks old. I only have one class and an online class in the spring. I’m hoping to do most of my lesson prepping this fall, so I can just look over my lecture, print and go do my song and dance (and likely rush home to breastfeed). My husband should be able to work from home the days I am teaching. It might be nice to have more time before going back, but it’s only for 3.5 months — I will not be teaching a summer class!
Technically I don’t have any time off, as I am teaching an online class in the fall as well. Somehow, I’ll have to manage to grade a paper and final exams within the month I give birth. I’ll find a way to get by. It’s nice to have the extra money.
Post # 13
I had the traditional twelve weeks – however about a month in my work called because they had already been through 3 temps and none of my work had been done. I agreed to come back a day a week for the rest of my leave to catch up on stuff once my ST disability ran out so from 6-12 weeks. I actually liked the way that this worked because it let me kinda get my feet wet before running through a full week as soon as I went back – plus I was able to get my work in order so I didn’t come back to 3 months of papers and emails. I always wish I could spend more time with my son but at the same time I like going to work – gives me a sense of accomplishment and the feeling that I am providing for my family – plus it is nice to socialize with adults. Also – i think it was easier for me to come back b/c my son is with my sister in law (she has an at home daycare) so i know he is well taken care of and he is in love with his cousins.
Post # 14
Does your husband have a non-academic job? If he qualifies for FMLA (has been with the company a year and company has more than 50 employees) then he can take up to 12 weeks off and they have to hold his job. It doesn’t guarantee payment, but they have to give him the time and he can’t lose his job. So, if you take a shortened leave, he could take leave when you head back to work. I’m taking my full leave, but my husband is also taking 12 weeks, that will start at the end of my leave. Just something to consider, as it can be hard to find a daycare that takes babies at 6 weeks (not impossible, but can be difficult).