Maternity Leave Laws F&#* S!€%!!! Gaaaaahhh!!

I don’t live in the US, but I still find this incredibly frustrating! As the (currently) most powerful country in the world, shouldn’t you be setting a much better example? Much of the world still needs fairer parental leave laws which are harder to justify and demand when the US is famously lagging so far behind. A lot of developing nations do look at the US as an example to follow in many aspects. Get your act together please!

It’s things like this that have had a lot of us women (myself included) worried about “leaning in” in the world of work, because when the time comes, will we have any support? Will we even have the time to enjoy raising our own families? Or would we just have to pay someone else to do that?

Another thing: I do not call it maternity leave. That puts a lot of unfair pressure on women who may lose out on opportunities because an employer may not want to hire a woman who could, at any moment, “run away for a year to have children”. I actually read about an employer saying this when discussing why not as many women are hired for high level positions (read Darling, You Can’t Do Both: And Other Noise To Ignore on Your Way Up, AMAZING book!) It also does not favour families where the woman may actually be the main bread winner or have the more demanding job.

Call it parental leave, and do like some central European countries where a very decent amount of time (say… one year) is allocated to a couple to split between themselves as they see fit! Yes, there are cultural norms and yes, the majority of families may swing one way, but leave room for change. Leave room for flexibility because not everyone is the same. Our societies are shifting and those in power need to catch up!

Time to be Cheerful Again

In Preparation

In Preparation

It’s been a while – and I realise the year has almost finished and I have only written TWO full blog posts!

Well what can I say? 2014 has been so incredibly up and so incredibly down. I will say that this is the year that I turned 25, and then turned 30. About 5 years of aging… seems about right? Hopefully it was only mental – having a 54 year old mother who is frequently mistaken for 34 means pressure – I have some very youthful shoes to fill (sexy strappy sandals with a 5″ heel, to be precise). And the only things she credits are: sun block, excercise, and plenty of fruits and vegetables! Thanks Mum. :P

A’s due date is fast approaching. We named her. It is a beautiful name and I will tell you that it begins with the letter A. I worried that I would be falling apart this month but really – I have reached a space. Memories of my pregnancy are filled with joy, so I feel joy when I remember. Memories of my miscarriage and the months following are filled with pain, so I feel pain when remembering. I can feel both emotions fully and completely and still continue to feel and experience what is present, whatever that is. Thoughts of the future… well I have so many scenarios in my head with so many different emotions.

I take care of my health more. I’m more paranoid about pills, herbs and meds. I was never a big drinker of caffeine or alcohol but I have cut down even more now. And I feel kinda weird around 2nd hand smoke – like – the Crazy in me starts to yell out “GETAWAYFROMMEYOUAREKILLINGMYOVARIES” even though my logical brain knows that 2nd hand smoke exposure has been found to be dangerous during pregnancy when experienced daily, I think the number was about 4 packs of 2nd hand smoke a day?? YES I have checked the facts. A couple hours outdoors, around smokers, one day a week, is not going to hurt me or any unborn babies – according to the research.

But generally speaking, I am more paranoid about my health. I spent 25 years with a strong sense of trust in my own body and that suffered a major blow. I question EVERYTHING.

The miscarriage and the months following were the hardest in my life so far. I got a crash course in emotional management. That is: cry 1 hour before work – go to work and go HAM – go home and cry for another hour… or however long I need to for the evening. I actually allocated slots of time for myself to just cry non-stop… I had no idea I had that much control in me but it’s what I had to do, so I did it. Eventually, that daily schedule turned into an every-other-day schedule. Now its more like an evening once or twice a week. There were some adjustments along the road as well. Eventually I had to toughen up for my husband who was also suffering but differently. I’m not saying anything very new here but it should be said nonetheless: two different people in a relationship will react to everything differently. Relationships survive when you understand this fact and do not try to fight it. The emotional consequence of losing a baby can be equally as painful for men as it is for women. Because of our macho culture, men can feel very caught off guard to be feeling such pain after a miscarriage (not that we aren’t caught off guard, it’s just that the emotional pain is a little more expected of us), but for many men it is still there nonetheless. They may not all show it the same ways we do, but it’s still there and it still hurts.

To say work was crazy when I went back after my week off is an understatement! Whether this is coincidence or not – I have no idea. But professionally, I have grown a LOT. Once again – out of necessity, being thrown into the deep end and all. My boss resigned days before I found out I was pregnant and for the next couple months it was all easy and quiet despite being the only employee in my department. Then, somehow, I came back and major presentations and deadlines just APPEARED! I worked a tonne of extra hours that first month in order to take part in my first ever presentation as a professional. I’ve been going to fancy meetings, taking control of several projects… I have crossed several milestones in just 6 months… and I am very impressed with myself. I can even say the same for my husband experiencing the same thing! All this acheived while sorting through so much pain. I actually felt like I was losing my mind through all of this and that is not an exaggeration. Seriously considered going to therapy, however that would have meant taking more time off work as NO ONE makes appointments past 4pm. Plus, that sh*t is EXPENSIVE. Husband and I decided to tough it out with friends and family. Whether we would have benefited from therapy, I don’t know, but we have survived.

The reason why I have named this post “Time to be Cheerful Again” is because finally, I feel like my husband and I are in sync again. I feel so loving towards him and I feel so loved by him. After months of distance between us when neither of us felt much of these things towards each other, I feel so blessed to be back here again. We are not perfect, we never will be, but we work and we are in love again.

My parents and brother are coming to visit in 5 days and I cannot wait. I have missed them more than ever, I just wish my sister was coming too but she has a dissertation to write :P so I understand completely, having been there before!

Praying for health and love through the next step.

A’s Mother.

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