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  • Writer's pictureKate O'Sullivan

Maternity Leave

Before going on maternity leave how I envisioned it (from what others had described) was a sort of extended holiday and would include regular mummy and baby play dates, mummy brunches and lunches. Great I thought this sounds ideal – getting paid to be on holidays and spending time with my friends, what’s not to love?

Unfortunately (well for me anyway) this is not the case, especially when you have post-natal depression and don’t want to meet anyone as you can’t bear to talk about how overjoyed you are to have a newborn baby when this is not next nor near how you are feeling. Throw a pandemic into the mix also.

For me maternity leave initially involved me struggling through the day with the baby occasionally calling out to my partner for help (as he was working from home). When the PND really kicked in I needed to get all the help I could get – both our mums have weighed in and I also have some outside help, this has been instrumental in helping me as I recover. Getting that bit of time to myself (for self-care, even if it’s just a walk by myself) is allowing me to recover (and sleep which is so important for anxiety and depression). I have heard it so many times and it’s so true – healthy mum, healthy baby. How can I look after a newborn if I am so unwell myself?

My partner is now back in the office, and I am both jealous and resentful of him for getting to get away from the house (and away from me and the baby), getting to see his friends and colleagues while I am at home by myself doing the housework and looking after the baby and the dog. I find it lonely and isolating. You may think that its selfish of me, that I should love being off work getting to spend every hour of the day with George and to be “enjoying him”. Unfortunately, PND doesn’t allow me to enjoy him, and I am sure one day I will look back with sadness at this time that I should have been treasuring with him – I feel the PND has taken this from me.

I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I am a do-er and I like to keep busy – I find keeping busy is a good distraction from the PND so whether its art, cooking or doing college work (I am in the middle of an MBA) so on the days I have a minder for George I try to give my day some structure. On the days its just me and George I need to plan some excursions and dates with friends and see if I can turn this maternity leave even slightly in the direction it was advertised to me as! Now that things are opening back up (post pandemic) hopefully there will be more in person groups and classes – any recommendations let me know!


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