I am struggling with my feelings about Maternity Leave. I submitted a plan to my employer 5 weeks ago, at their request. Included in the plan was the following requests:
- 2 weeks off prior to my delivery date
- 12 weeks off after my delivery date
- 1 day off a week for at least 12 weeks for baby bonding
- A lock on my office door so I can pump during work hours after my return
Hubby and spent many hours talking the plan over, thinking about what would be best for the baby, what we could afford, reading up on PDL, CFRA, and FMLA. As well as considering what would be fair to a small company, that I will have worked at for exactly 1 year on my due date.
I submitted the plan, like I said 5 weeks ago. Last Friday, I sent a 4 week follow up email to my boss asking for a status, since he hasn’t provided me with any details or information yet.
Today, he called me and said he reviewed it with the big dogs, and they came back with this:
- they will give me whatever I am legally allowed to have (his opening statement)
- I must provide a doctors note for the 2 weeks prior to my delivery date (otherwise it is declined)
- I must take my sick days prior to any state or federal leave
- I can work from home 1 day a week after I return from maternity leave, but I have to take vacation hours to do so, and once they run out–I need to come back to work
- And they will not put a lock on my office door, and instead suggest that I alert the other office employees to not enter my office while I am pumping, and also suggested that I lock the main office door to prevent other people from entering the suite unannounced
I don’t know what I was expecting, but I feel disappointed and slighted. And as much as I am trying not to take it personally, I am. I can see now why women don’t return to work after their leave. I am not sure how other women I know navigated their leave, but I would interested to hear about it.
Looking back over my life, I think this is the most difficult decision I have ever had to make (second would be not inviting my mom to our wedding-that one took weeks of therapy). I know that I have to put my son’s well being above mine, and that this time in both of our lives is only temporary, and so short in the grand scheme of things. My career should not be this important to me when juxtaposed with the wonderful human life inside of me.
I feel guilty for wanting it all, and thinking I can have it, even more guilty for thinking that I deserve it. I have a bad taste in my mouth with regards to the company knowing that it is all men in positions of power, and feeling like they don’t understand the choices a professional woman has to make when she decides to bring a life into this world. I feel angry at a society that doesn’t value the contribution of women, that doesn’t acknowledge the sacrifice we have to make-personally, professionally, emotionally, and willingly for our children. I also feel sad. I do not want my son to be in day care from birth (starting at 3 months!). I want to be there for him during this critical development and growth period. I don’t want someone else to raise him, to show him life’s daily lessons, or to feed him from a bottle. I want to be that person.
Now, the logical side of me says-you will be there for him. For 12 weeks every day you will be there for him. Then when he is 3 months old (just barely older than a kitten when its eligible for adoption…**sigh**), I will hand him off to a nanny who will tend to his daily needs 3 days a week. Hubby will be with him 1 work day a week, and I will be with him one work day a week for 7 weeks. Then after that time well, …we will have to wait and see. Maybe the company will allow me to take the time unpaid.
I should be grateful that I have a great job, at an awesome company, making a good salary. I should feel appreciative that I don’t have to go back to work right away, and that I can take 12 wonderful weeks off after his birth. I am lucky to have a husband who is willing to take a day off a week to parent his son. I guess I need some time to let it digest. Maybe I am just bitter that I didn’t get everyone I wanted…or maybe I feel like I deserved it somehow.
Thoughts, suggestions, or opinions are welcome-as always.