8 of the hardest things about maternity leave

maternity leave

What you were never told about taking maternity leave.


Having a baby is such an exciting experience, but sometimes we tend to forget it’s a massive lifestyle change for everyone involved. Dad is still trying to figure out “how to dad”, your baby is adjusting to the outside world, and you are probably feeling overwhelmed by the lack of sleep, midnight feeds, and new responsibilities! It is important to make sure you are not pressuring yourself too much. Try to enjoy these first few weeks with your family, because in the blink of an eye, your baby will be crawling!

2.Feeling isolated

You are probably feeling a bit isolated from the outside world right now, and that’s perfectly understandable. A great way to avoid this feeling is finding new mums nearby who are in the same boat. Meeting up with a friend or group once a week for a coffee and chat is the perfect way to get your mind off everything and share stories about being new parents. This is a great way to form connections and create friendships that will last many years.

3.Stressing about what’s going on at work

Although you may not want to admit it, you will probably have work-related thoughts during your maternity leave. As the weeks go by, you might start to think you will have been replaced and the work you left behind isn’t getting taken care of! At the end of the day, this is out of your control, and it is important your energy is focused on yourself and your baby before you are stuck back at work. Being a mother will actually help you with your organisation and prioritisation skills, which can have a positive influence on your work ethic. 

4.Worrying about childcare

After taking care of a number of nappy changes, screaming marathons, and cuddles, it is inevitable you will form a strong attachment to your newborn. But preparing for childcare is important, as it will put you at ease when handing your baby over to someone else to care for. Researching and visiting a range of childcare centres and asking friends for recommendations are ways of ensuring you are confident to leave your baby in the care of qualified, experienced caregivers who will look after him well and allow you to get on with work without worry.

5.Feeling rested

Being tired 24/7 is a completely normal feeling after your child is born, and although you have two people to care, for now, it is crucial you rest when you can! Reading a magazine, having a hot coffee, or indulging in a bath while your newborn is napping are just some of the ways you will feel better at the end of the day.

6.Getting back into your pre-pregnancy clothes

You may expect to fit into your old work clothes straightaway, but unfortunately, this is rarely the case. It may be time to go out and buy yourself some new clothes that will fit your temporary post-pregnancy body. Popping down to Glassons, Farmers, or Kmart are just some of the shops where you can find nice outfits that won’t break the bank, and will make you feel 10 times better!  

7.Admitting where your day went

You wake up at 5am, and suddenly it’s 7pm and you feel like you’ve achieved nothing except for a few nappy changes and feeds. As days pass by, you might feel as though each day is becoming repetitive, but you must remember that bonding with your child is a full-time job. It’s okay if you didn’t manage to hang all the washing up because your baby wouldn’t stop crying. There is always tomorrow!

8.Being envious of your partner

Your partner may be the best co-parent to your newborn, but envying them is not an unusual feeling. As much as you may want in their position, going to work or having the freedom to see friends, remember that they probably want to be home spending quality time with you and your baby. Supporting your partner and enjoying the special memories you create with your little one are key to getting through this time.

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BUMP & baby is New Zealand’s only magazine for pregnancy and early babyhood. Our team of mums and mums-to-be understand what it’s like to be pregnant in this connected age, and that’s why BUMP & Baby online is geared toward what pregnant women and new mums really want to know.

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