Maternity Leave

I had almost forgotten why mothers are given maternity leave to take care of their newborns and fathers given paternity leave to help the mothers out until the baby finally arrived.

It’s my third pregnancy and I thought I was a seasoned veteran, well-prepared to deal with what lay ahead.

After barely 2 hours of sleep, I woke up abruptly at 4 am to contraction pains which were coming every 5 minutes or so. I woke everyone in the family up and told them we had to head to the hospital immediately. B1 compliantly woke up and got into his school uniform while Papa took G1’s school uniform and carried her to the car.

Shortly before 5 am, I walked into the delivery ward, where the nurses, upon learning that it’s my third pregnancy, sent me straight to a delivery room.

“Your husband is parking the car?”

“No, he has to take care of the other two kids.”

“Oh, you’re so brave to come in alone.”

“After he puts the other kids in school, he will come here.”

Actually I later found out that when you’re in extreme labour pain, you don’t really notice who’s next to you. You’re so consumed by the pain that all you really need is professional advice (i.e. the nurses telling you when you’re pushing right or wrong so you can just get on with the programme) and spectators are optional.

Especially if the spectator has more important things to do, like making sure B1 and G2 are well-taken care of.

Even after delivery, although slightly delirious from lack of sleep and taking in too much of the laughing gas, I still couldn’t fall asleep.

Many hours later, as the adrenaline starts to wear off, the weariness is quickly catching up with me. I am starting to feel the tiredness set in and find myself dozing off even as the baby is latching.

I’m starting to recall how much work it is to take care of a newborn, and how precious sleep is during this period. I’m starting to recall how I would put aside eating / washing / cleaning / showering etc just to sleep when the baby was sleeping.

I’m starting to recall how the 4 months of maternity leave was not really a vacation or any kind of break, but really just a blur of milk, bottles, poop, and diapers.

It’s going to be the start of another tiring journey ahead but I’m excited all the same.