Like with many pregnant women, I had made these extravagant plans for my last couple of days being baby-free. I had even drafted a blog post re: all the home projects and chores I was going to complete during my maternity leave (this draft is now deleted).
Technically, maternity leave starts at 36 weeks. For many third trimester prego’s, this means you spending 4 weeks at home to prepare, then baby comes and you have about 3 months to spend with your baby. I tried, as much as I was able to, to stay at work for as long as possible, so that I would have more time post birth to spend with my baby. But alas, not all plans work out.
At 36 weeks, I was completing my last few work tasks and projects and starting to organise my office so that my replacement would not be totally lost in what I like to call my “organised chaos”. In preparation for my maternity leave, I had gone to the plastic store to get some organisational plastic containers to help with the home projects. My husband and I had just re-arranged the our guest room and my dressing room to make space for a baby room, which was about 80% complete.
At the beginning of 37 weeks, I had made plans for the week that would help me prepare for the arrival of my baby. I had an appointment with my gynae, a nail appointment, had planned to re-organise my wardrobe and needed to pack my hospital bag. I was feeling good, and felt ready to tackle all these tasks. Unfortunately, my day did not go as planned. I had gone to my gynae/obst for my check-up, and that’s where my plans were all cancelled. My blood pressure was high, this was worrisome, as an early labour could be on the cards if it did not normalise soon.
An early labour for me, meant:
- The baby room isn’t ready.
- I haven’t packed my hospital bag.
- My wardrobe is still a mess.
- All my home projects and chores won’t be done.
- I’ll miss my nail appointment and have raggedy nails when my baby arrives.
I realised that in this uncertain time of ones pregnancy, maybe I should have been more prepared – mentally and physically. I don’t think I was ready – ready to be in the hospital, ready to give birth or ready to be a parent. When I tell people this, I often get the response “you will be ready when the time comes”, and I get it, it makes sense, but it doesn’t take the away any of the anxiety that comes with it.
The truth is, we all think we are as prepared as we want we to be, but that is not always the case. Everyone will have a different experience, and it is difficult to prepare for the unknown. We can only prepare for as much as we can. if anything, this experience has taught me to be more patient and plan to prepare a little better than I have this time.
When I was younger and into my adulthood, I would always make these handwritten lists. There would be a list for everything, but during my pregnancy , I have minimised these lists as I thought that my multitasking skills were superior than my “preggie-brain”, but the “preggie-brain” has shown me once again, that it should not be underestimated.
One day, in the far future, if I get the opportunity to give my little one a sibling, I think I will try a different strategy when planning and preparing. Next time, before the 36 weeks comes, I will do more to prepare sooner and rest more once the 36 weeks arrives. Antennal classes can only help you so much.