This Is How Maternity Leave Should Be

I am a lucky mother for so many reasons. This time around, with baby number 2, I am so very lucky to be eligible for a crazy maternity leave package. My luck is accentuated as I read story after story from mothers who had their babies the same month as I did and are preparing to return to work in the next two weeks. I can’t imagine returning to work at this point, just when things are starting to get good. Just when the smiles are flowing and the cooing is turning to babbling and she is sleeping longer and I am less of a zombie and more of a mom.

I was lucky enough to be able to stay home with Peatuk and work from home. I wasn’t in a paid maternity leave, so it wasn’t quite as stable and there were some times that I was stressed about money. But I still recognize that I was in a position that so many mothers are not in. With Jojo, it is unbelievable. It is my job to love her. To cuddle her. To give her the attention she needs to flourish. It is my job to lay in bed with her and work on those lovely little coos. It is an awesome job. (Sure, the laundry piles on and the dishes need to be done and I might have to cook more than I would like… but it is still a lovely job).

I am lucky because I can let my body recover slowly from birth. American moms have hit the ground running. Me, I am still at a lazy stroll. Today I took Jojo out in her stroller. We walked down by the river, bought a present for Peatuk, and ambled to a cafe. Everything was slow and steady. It was a quiet, fun little walk and I felt so completely in my body, reconnecting to the blood and muscles and skin that are me. I had a beer and a stuffed cabbage while Jojo napped. I wrote in my journal and thought about her and Peatuk and my life in general. All I could keep coming back to was that I am lucky.

So many women do not have this unhurried time with their babies. I wish they did. (Father’s, too). Even the ones who do have this often seem unsatisfied. I hear so many Bulgarian women complain that maternity is not enough- that they want more. I guess that is just the way we are programmed- to always want more.

I suppose I want more, too. I want a house in the countryside with a big yard for my children to play in. I want the scent of sunshine and dirt all over me throughout the summer. I want long bike rides with my family– to far away cities where I will sip coffee and the kids will play in a park. Yes. I want.

But I am still so thankful that I am living here and now and I have these amazing opportunities. And now, as the sun starts to fall, Jojo is waking up and I will go cuddle her and feed her from my breast and love my life just a little more.

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