Five things I can’t wait to do on maternity leave

Rachel is our newest contributor. She and her partner Heather are expecting their first baby. We asked her to introduce herself by way of reflecting on the countdown before her maternity leave begins. Here is her first post.

I have a stressful job, and it’s no one’s fault but my own. I’m pretty sure there are receptionists who read magazines between phone calls, but I’ve managed to make a customer-service hell for myself by working so hard, and now that I’m knocked up, it’s mere purgatory.

To relieve the stress while I’m still working, I started building a list of what’s going to be awesome about maternity leave. Every now and again, when a customer tells me he’s been waiting for someone to call him back, or another one is upset her order hasn’t come in yet, I breathe deep and pull up the list.

#1: Having Pregnancy Symptoms in the Safety of My Own Home
This relief will be short-lived, depending on how long it takes for our newest family member to make her appearance, but, after nearly seven months of sharing morning sickness with my repulsed co-workers, it seems like a privilege to vomit at home.

The first time I got sick, actually, was at work, and I did not make it to the bathroom on that occasion. Now that the little one is getting bigger– and hey, guys, I’m not going to sugarcoat this — my bladder hasn’t been able to withstand violent sickness, so getting to the bathroom (and hoping no one else is in there) is all the more important. I can’t pretend the process is any more glamorous at home, but there’s no one around to wonder why I’m mopping up the floor.

#2: Hiding from Well-Wishers
The other reason work shouldn’t stress me out is that I have a lot of really kind, supportive co-workers. I think any pregnant woman would tell you, though, that it gets to a point where if someone else asks her how she feels, she’s going to start screaming the details. “I feel uncontrollably grumpy and my back hurts! Stop talking to me!” But they don’t.

“Got a name picked out?”

“Have you started decorating the nursery?”

The questions are inevitably followed by advice, and the advice is as nauseating as the smell of broccoli during my first trimester. That’s saying something.

#3: Finding Out If All The Gear Is Worth It
We’ve had a SnotSucker sitting in the house since Christmas. I just have to know.

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#4: Finding Out If Homebirth Is Worth It
Giving birth doesn’t sound any better than mechanical snot-sucking, but, again, I just have to know. Will this be a moving, sacred experience that bonds our little family, or will I remember nothing but cursing and the rim of fire in my lady-parts? After 20 hours of class and dozens of YouTube videos, I’m ready to face my demons and torment others with the details.

#5: Finding Out If The Baby Is Worth It
What’s the deal, universe? Were 40 weeks of discomfort and anxiety, preceded by three years of charting and anxiety, worth the effort? Are babies really all that terrific? Will she make us better people? Will she cry until I unravel? Will she need the SnotSucker?

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