My mission is to disrupt Maternity Leaves the world over. I want to shift the dialogue to one of self-identity, confidence, personal growth, happiness and fulfillment.
I have spent years studying great people and great minds, and have applied many of their lessons to my own two maternity leaves.
I also started my own bucket list that led to the most fulfilling 2 years of my life.
On the Great Maternity Leave (GML) I am sharing all of these pieces with you.
I’m not here to give you parenting tips. I’m not here to talk about babies.
I’m here to ask how YOU are doing and help YOU have a great year.
I think everyone needs to figure out what gives them the chills, then do it – either full time or on the side. The world would be a profoundly different place if we all had passion side projects. This is mine.
I’d always kept a bucket list of super sweet projects, experiences and challenges that I enjoyed achieving. I am a goal setter, researcher, disruptor, thinker, and life hacker. Not to mention self-experimenter.
As I accomplished each fun experience (many of them very challenging) I wound up having the best.time.of.my.life. I came out the happiest I have ever been in my life. I moved from profound grief to profound happiness and fulfilment.
Here’s a sample of what helped me:
-Retaining my self identity with the pursuit of hobbies, activities, and education
-Physical and mental wellness practices
-Minimal research of parenting techniques. Picking and choosing a few that worked and then only allowing myself to research cognitive & physical development.
-Researching successful people who have achieved great success and translating it to maternity leave
-Growth in self confidence with the accomplishment of small challenges
-Having something to look forward to each week
-Specifically deciding to ignore the pressure from outside on what makes a perfect parent, hiring and working with a life coach and designing my own style of being a parent. And a healthy, happy me is the best parent she can be.
-And let’s not kid ourselves, sleeping or napping EVERY chance I could get. I really made that one an important one and a priority.
The Great Maternity Leave is my place to share the things I did, the mindsets developed through study of others, and perspectives that helped me have an amazing year.
This page isn’t about parenting.
I believe that by focusing on the best person you can be (pursuing fulfillment, personal development, growth in your own life) you will naturally be an amazing earthly guide to your children. Take care of you. That is what I am here to help you do.
There’s a Tough Backstory to the Great Maternity Leave.
Going into my first maternity leave I was terrified. Terrified, I tell you! My husband and I weren’t sold on the idea of kids – we found society’s dialogue just too negative and it didn’t seem appealing. People seemed so intense about parenting and we kept thinking, isn’t it supposed to be fun? What do you mean I can’t travel? What do you mean I have to martyr myself on the pillar of motherhood? I’m too selfish for that!
Silly humans, life is already planned out for you….
I came back from a great trip to Las Vegas where I danced each night away to some of the worlds’ best djs. Feeling awful, I went to the hospital thinking I had food poisoning. Definitely not food poisoning. More like little soul deciding we would be great parents for them, then taking up violent residence in my body.
As I sunk down into the doldrums of hyperemesis in 2013, we entered a very heavy year in every sense of the word. Emotionally, physically, psychically and intellectually.
My husband finally got on with the Fire Department and was going through intensive training in the academy, and I was taking care of my Mum who had Stage IV Lung Cancer and 3 months to live.
I started becoming even more scared about kids. I began so much googling and reading online in an attempt to understand what the hell I was getting into. I was just beginning to figure myself out at 29 and step into my own. I was excited about so many other things to come. The course I was taking, the intellectual development I was undergoing. The interests I was pursuing. The identity I was discovering.
I just couldn’t get excited. I just felt hot and bothered. All of the talk about loss of self identity, all the dialogue about losing confidence, all the times women said to me “oh sweetie, you’ll just change.”
What?! Call me vain, or selfish…but I had plans for a life of confidence! Adventure! Growth! And I was even more determined to do it as I saw my Mum departing the earth, day by day.
I’m actually not joking when I say I had nightmares about being in a basement doing laundry in my yoga pants drinking wine, crying and not being able to converse with anyone. Because that’s the picture that gets painted!
(Ok. That happened ONCE. And it’s because I put a diaper and all the crazy ass beads they are made with through the washer, and I just could not give a f*** about laundry and wanted to be done with it so I could go do something else.)
But THAT IS NOT what a maternity leave is. Contrary to the impression we get.
I am so determined to disrupt maternity leave and show people the other possibilities.
I was the worst baby shower attendee ever – and it was my own.
In June I was planning my Mum’s funeral and going to ultrasound appointments on my own.
I was so unprepared. I couldn’t bring myself to create a nursery, or even buy anything. Thank god my friends intervened with a baby shower. No birth and babies classes. Nothing. I had to ask my friends what each baby shower gift was, and that day I was in and out of being present, because my Mum’s ashes were being scattered out at sea as I unwrapped presents.
After going through the rollercoaster of baby blues, grief, and overwhelm the first few weeks of November 2013, and totally buying into all of this dialogue coming at me from society in general, I sat up one day and said RIGHT. THAT’S IT. You have the gift of a Canadian 1 year maternity leave and this lovely little human.
You don’t have to make your maternity leave the way people describe it.
Make it your own. Resist the pressure from outside to fit in to the group.