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Maternity Leave

August 19, 2011

Yesterday, after many conversations and much personal angst, I found out that my maternity leave from work had been approved in full.

Words cannot describe the relief that I felt upon hearing those words come out of my boss’ mouth.

I never thought much about the emotions I would feel even before my child was born surrounding the need to be a full-time working mom. After all, my own mother did it (with grace and success, I might add), as do millions of moms in this country. I have never thought of myself as someone who would want to be a full time “stay-at- home-mom”, mostly because I really do enjoy working outside of the house and pulling in a paycheck. But, when I became pregnant and the reality of putting my son into full-time daycare became more than just a fleeting thought in my head, my emotions took over and I found myself in an absolute panic about the situation.

I requested to work from home for a few months after my maternity leave, but my employer turned that request down pretty much right away. I was devastated and angry. Then I began to wonder if they would turn down my request for full maternity leave (4 weeks before my due date and 12 weeks after he is born), too and force me to come back to the office full time when my son is only 6 weeks old. The thought turned my blood cold. Again, I know many, many women who have done this, my own wonderful mother included. But I just couldn’t imagine myself leaving my 6 week old child in full time daycare with no family around as a safety net. The thought was overwhelming.

It took about a month for my employer to approve my maternity leave, and they did approve it in full, which means that I will be home with my son for 12 weeks after his birth. This seems like an amazing gift, a luxury I am so grateful for and I know many, many women do not get. While it would have been ideal to have even more time with him (is there ever enough time in the day to spend with your children?), I find myself completely at peace with what has been offered to me, and I’m going to cherish every single second of my full time stay-at-home-mom title while it lasts.

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