Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Rant About Maternity Leave


This is probably not going to be what you expect, and I acknowledge in advance that I may be eating my words...

For those who don't know, I'm Canadian. From Canada. Big cold state up north. In addition to being the land of socialized healthcare, with a good education system, and a bunch of other things, it is a country which over a decade ago introduced a year long paid maternity leave. You're not fully paid, but you're paid 55% of up to the national average salary for one year, and your employer must hold your job or give you an equivalent one upon your return. Pretty sweet deal right?
Image Source: http://www.someecards.com/

I live in America now. How long was my maternity leave in America? 12 weeks. It was not fully paid, in fact the legally don't have to pay me at all. Many women are only get (or can only afford) to take 6 weeks. My life ain't bad. However, it is always met with objections about how ridiculous it is - how could I leave my 12 week old baby to go back to work!? It's inhumane!

I try to be diplomatic, I really do. "Well, it is what it is." And I guess that's why I'm now writing a passive aggressive blog post haha. 

But here is the thing: I want to work. And while I think 16 weeks would have been nice, I was ready to go back when I did at 12 weeks. I happen to really like what I do. I spent a lot of time doing what I do and on my career. This is what happens when you do something you love. 

I get that having 52 weeks at home to cuddle and be a stay at home mom is a great option - and I totally do not judge anyone for taking that option when it's available and it works for them. There are obvious upsides (see: cuddles). But, to me, there are obvious downsides too. From a personal point of view, a 1 year old is cognizant of you leaving. When you suddenly do it everyday that's not easy on them (or you). A three month old doesn't grasp it the same way and grows up with that being normal. 

Professionally, working in the industry I do, I cannot imagine taking a year off and being about to perform in my role. I had a hard time stepping out for 12 weeks - gearing up to leave and then adjusting to coming back and trying to catch up on everything I missed (even though I didn't totally disengage from work). And that's not just my opinion, many studies show women's career trajectory falling off post-child - I can't imagine basically starting from scratch when they return is of any help to that statistic.

I can't tell you the number of times I heard: "But how will you bond with your chiiiilllldddd?" Ummm, in all of the other hours when I'm not working. You saying that to me implies that it is not possible for me and my child to be bonded, which we are, and proves that you are an ignorant asshat. And I'm being snippy on that one because it is just straight up offensive. 

Don't get me wrong, I was excited to go back, but really sad to not hang out with my dude all day. I even more sad when we ended up putting him in daycare. I cried for literally a day about it. But I got over the latter, and now he's in it and he's super happy and he has even more people who love him and will make baby friends. Do I want to stay home with him instead of going to work some days. Yes... well, rather I wish I could bring him to work with me.

What don't I agree with? 

I don't agree that maternity leave by law does not need to be paid. I think it's terrible when women are forced back to work, sometimes days after giving birth, because they cannot afford the time off. Be pissed off about that. Object to that. Feel bad for those women. Don't feel terrible for me because I'm doing exactly what I've chosen to do and what is right for me and my family.

Or feel terrible for your one year old who understands that you're leaving them for the first time, has separation anxiety and no real concept of time, and cries all day for the first week(s). My dude will be the one rocking out wondering what's wrong with your dude.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Operation MILF | Day One

I have the c section shelf (so gross) plus a tummy pouch for a repulsive ripple effect. As the first phase in Operation MILF, I decided to do the 30 Day Abs Challenge

Source: http://30dayfitnesschallenges.com/30-day-abs-challenge/
My core muscles have always been strong and my stomach has (almost) always been flat. During pregnancy and my c section, abdominal muscles were separated from their homes so to speak. In fact, post-op you cannot use your ab muscles at all (and you discover how much you need them!). I know rebuilding these muscles will help me achieve my shelf-free objective. I did not anticipate how much strength I lost in those muscles! This morning I did day one and was thinking 'wow, this is going to be so easy - guess I will do it a few times'. 10 situps, 5 crunches, 5 leg raises and a 10 second plank. Please. That is not an ab workout, that's an easy set.

It was not easy. It was the most challenging one of my life. 

It became apparent there is still a lot of healing going on in my abs - and I'm kind of questioning if I will be able to complete this 30 day challenge. But at the same time, letting those muscles atrophy further will not solution anything. So I'm going to see how far I can go, and if it becomes genuinely painful I will certainly stop.

I will check back in next week with an update!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Getting my Body Back (AKA - Operation MILF)

Six weeks post-partum I am one pound off of my pre-pregnancy weight (yay!), but in no way near my pre-pregnancy shape. Extra inches are loitering on my hips/thighs/tummy - not cool! I don't want to feel bad about it and complain and not do anything about it, so I decided to do something about it. So I'm starting Operation MILF. 

I want to be healthy not only for me, but to set a good example for my son, but also for my husband who did not marry a slightly pudgy frumpy lady (no, he has not said this, and has been very complimentary of my post-baby body, and in fairness I have always worn leggings an awful lot, just not daily). And did I mention I had a respectable (and not inexpensive) wardrobe I would like to fit into again.

Armed with clearance from my doctor to resume exercise, I'm excited to resume an active lifestyle beyond walking, and to tone my body. I'm settling into life with my new one and figuring out how to mind the baby and return to doing my own meal preparation the majority of the time (when the baby is not sleeping in the kitchen - he loves that fan!). 

To keep accountable, and for anyone else who's trying to get back to normal post-pregnancy / post-c section, I'm blogging about it! I will do my best with posts, photos, etc, apologies in advance if I fall off the wagon - a good amount of time I am working from my phone while feeding the little one! And I still have a return to work and a move which will make me have to recalibrate everything again in a few weeks.

If you're working on getting your pre-pregnancy body back post-pregnancy, or if you already have, tell me about it in the comments!

Wish me luck! 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Gluten Free Pregnancy | Week 39

 How far along? 39 Weeks / 40 when this posts :S
Total weight gain: None
Maternity clothes? Yep!
Stretch marks? Nope!
Sleep: So bad again! Except one day I was sick, I am very good at sleeping when I am sick!
Best moment this week: Since Bricklet chose not to arrive, my husband and I took advantage of another weekend of it being the two of us - we went for a nice dinner, went to a Broadway show (Chicago), and my hubby finally took me for a horse carriage ride in Central Park! 
Miss anything? Breathing through both nostrils, being able to speak! And still my flat stomach.
Movement: Yes, he continues to be beat me up from the inside.  
Food cravings: Nope.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Well, I was sick this week. We actually thought that maybe I was in early labor on Tuesday, but it turns out I was just really ill and having related aches and pains. Being sick and 39 weeks pregnant is not fun by the way!
Gender: Boy.
Labor signs: Again, maybe some Braxton Hicks, but I'm still not sure that I'm feeling them. Other than that Bricklet is apparently dropped a bit more, but he seems to be comfortable and hasn't made his evacuation attempt yet.
Symptoms: Sore back, swelling/puffiness, general discomfort caused by being a hippopotamus.
Belly button in or out? Mostly in, but a bit of it is out which is really freaky (I am omphalophobic)  .
Wedding rings on or off? Mostly off, I still do not want to risk them getting stuck!
Happy or moody most of the time: Moody! I was sick, am massive, and just want Bricklet out. 
What are you looking forward to? Not being pregnant anymore! The end is in sight one way or another, the day this posts is my actual due date, and my OB will be scheduling induction if I don't have him. I'm terrified of pitocin, so really hoping it does not come to that, but whatever gets him out at this point.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Gluten Free Bumpdate | Week 38

How far along?  38 weeks / 39 when this posts 
Total weight gain: At least week's appointment I had lost 1 lbs.
Maternity clothes? Certainly.
Stretch marks? Still none!
Sleep: This weekend has probably been the best sleep I've had all pregnancy. I actually slept 10 hours one night (minus about 30 minutes or so when I did have to get up to go to the loo and didn't fall asleep immediately). 
Best moment this week: Being told labor was imminent (more on this later) and my husband gave me my push present early (and it is gorg!!)
Miss anything? In a nutshell I miss not being a hippopotamus. I'm so huge!
Movement: Still lots!
Food cravings: Not really, but having a lot of mango popsicles and pineapple.
Anything making you queasy or sick: I still had a bit of reflux this week and felt really nauseous on Saturday. 
Gender: A boy until proven otherwise.
Labor signs: He seems to have 'dropped' - can feel it when moving around and my bladder is probably the size of a peanut now. My doctor informed me at my checkup last week that I am 3cm dilated, and his guess was labor was 4-5 days away. *TMI altert - please skip to Symptoms if you are grossed out by gross stuff* I had 'show' this week, which is thoroughly disgusting, but made me really helpful for labor being imminent. Sadly I'm on day 5 since my last appointment and Bricklet is still quite cozy, unless something happens overnight once I've posted this. 
Symptoms: Sore back, pregnancy acne flared up a bit, and my feet and hands are definitely swollen.
Belly button in or out? Still in mostly!
Wedding rings on or off? Mostly off. I did force on either my wedding band or engagement ring a couple of times, but have mostly been home and have just left them off for the fear of them getting stuck.
Happy or moody most of the time: Happy, until Saturday. Saturday was very moody (i.e. there were tears) since Bricklet hadn't shown up yet. Once mid-day, and once in the evening. I really thought he was going to come this week. I'm very done with being pregnant and I am very ready to meet him.
What are you looking forward to? Meeting Bricklet and seeing what he's like. My husband getting to hold him. The next part of the adventure really!

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