Pros and Cons of Winter Maternity Leave

While I didn’t time my pregnancy according to the seasons (or at all …!) I know many women do … and I have to say, my pregnancy (March-December) was a beautiful nine months. Given the opportunity to time things for a future baby, I’d plan it for the same exact time-frame.

Why? A couple reasons. First, I didn’t even really show til mid to late summer. I was never ridiculously hot and miserable … nor was I really swollen and bloated. During the fall, my favorite season, I could wear cute jeans and sweaters and still was able to wear (sensible!) tall boots. And then the kicker: I could be home and nest/bond with my baby during the most drab months of the year (Jan-March) when no one wants to go out or do much of anything.

To be honest, a small part of me worried I’d be depressed being home during the winter, or that I’d miss the hustle and bustle of work … but it has been a great experience so far.

I love my job and know I’ll be back (March 14!) but for now, I’m enjoying being away from the fray. With Facebook, email, texting, etc., I feel like I’m in the loop without actually participating. And my days are quite full–I’ve yet to have a day when I’m bored. Some days I’m content just staring at Maya and watching her observe the world around her — but between feedings, changing, play and sleep times … there’s barely any time for anything else.

Now that Maya is a month old, I feel like I can say with some degree of authority that there are some definite pros and cons to being on maternity leave in the dead of winter in Michigan — particularly during these nearly five weeks where I’ve not been able to do any physical activity.

PRO:

1) I can stay in yoga pants all day if I so desire (though I rarely do — and I always shower, do my hair, put on a little mascara — even if I’m not going anywhere).

2)  I don’t have to leave the house at all if I don’t have somewhere we “have” to be.

3) My husband comes home at lunch and/or I can meet friends for lunch.

4) Target has become my “track” — since it’s too cold/snowy/icy to risk long stroller walks with Maya just yet.

5) My husband shovels & takes out the trash … not that he didn’t do these things before (he always has), but I’d help out from time to time.  Now I have an excuse not to (“C-section recovery”).

6) It’s still dark out early in the AM so I don’t feel rushed to rise and shine.

CONS:

1) Some days I don’t want to leave the house but create errands to run so I don’t get cabin fever.

2) It’s too cold to bring Maya out for long walks. If I were on leave during the spring, I’d easily be getting in daily walks (even post-C-section).

3) Sometimes the roads are too dangerous, which means plans need to be flexible.

On the whole, I am happy with the timing of my leave and am looking forward to the next 7+ weeks — including one week when I’ll be taking Maya home to NJ!! 🙂

How about you? Did the timing of your pregnancy or maternity leave influence how you felt about either?

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2 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Winter Maternity Leave

  1. I love my son, but the timing of my pregnancy was miserable 🙂 If we have a second, we will not aim for a mid-summer baby!

    I was due in mid-August, and he was born July 26.

    At the beginning of my pregnancy (early winter) I was really sick, and craved fresh air and sunshine. The only time I felt OK during the first trimester was when I was in FL for a business trip and got to spend some time outside.

    The last 2 months of my pregnancy were in the dead of summer, June and July. We don’t have central air in our house, and I was so hot, sweaty and swollen day in and day out. Most days it was too hot for me to exercise outside and I was too big for gym machines.

    And after my son was born, I didn’t get to do as much cuddling with him as I’d have liked because it was so hot! We did walk a lot outside, but it had to be early in the morning or close to sundown because the middle of the day was too warm and sunny. I was always worried about him getting overheated at night because he wouldn’t sleep without a swaddle — so we swaddled him in just a diaper most nights!

    It was such a relief in mid-September when the weather started to cool down.

    If I do it again, I’d “aim” (haha) for a spring birth, like April or May.

  2. I had one baby at the end of September and one at the end of October. Fortunately, fall was beautiful in Michigan for both of my maternity leaves. We were able to take long walks every day. Even though we didn’t have air conditioning at the time, the summers didn’t bother me any more than they usually did.

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