Maternity leave is 16 weeks for Singapore citizens. You can take up to 4 weeks out of the 16 weeks prior to your EDD to rest and prepare for the arrival of your little one. I started my maternity leave shortly after entering my week 37. Normally, women have gestation periods of 40 to 42 weeks. You are considered full term by the time you reach 37 weeks. I was hoping to rest for a week and then prepare for the arrival of my bubs from week 38 onwards. Unfortunately, things don’t usually work your way when it comes to giving birth and my baby isn’t here yet.
My grouse is about how some people, this usually includes men who don’t and never will get pregnant (lucky them!) as well as women who are not mothers yet. They think or act like you are going on a long 16 weeks vacation. While pregnancy is a miracle and wonderful gift God has bestowed onto mankind. It isn’t a smooth and enjoyable journey at all. I think I’ve ranted enough about the numerous pregnancy symptoms in my previous blog entry. So I guess I would leave it as that.
I’d decided to take my leave slightly earlier because for the past 1 month I was suffering from pregnancy insomnia. This made me very tired out at work and I’m glad now I am able to nap in the day. So while people are picturing me enjoying my free time strolling in shopping malls or waking up late around noon. I’m actually going to bed at 12 midnight (my usual) and then managing to fall asleep only around 3-4am, waking up around every 1-2 hours subsequently till dawn breaks. And only managing to have proper sleep when I get those power naps during the afternoon.
Other than those naps, there’s no other perks I can think of while being on leave. In fact, if not for the lethargy, I won’t mind working till I go into labour. My belly has grown so big, I usually get tired out after 30mins of walking around a mall. I feel like a whale and probably look like one. In fact, I have ran out of clothes that can comfortably fit me. Other than insomnia keeping me up at night, I suffer from heartburn even though I have been avoiding spicy food. Trust me, it’s an unpleasant feeling to get in the middle of the night when you are trying to fall asleep.
And once the baby is born, the real test of faith begins. I’ve been reading up a lot on forums and newborns usually require hourly feeding. That’s if you are pro-breastfeeding. So for the first 2 months at least, and that’s optimistically speaking, I will be a walking zombie wreck.
So no, the 16 weeks of maternity leave is not a time where a mom-to-be or mother (once her baby pops out) enjoys life like a diva. There’s nothing to be envious, especially if you are a man. Be glad you don’t have to carry a baby for 9 months and spend the next year (or longer) with sore nipples breast-feeding your little one.
It’ll be a grueling 16 weeks of hard work and endurance. Though the pay off is definitely worth it whenever you look into the eyes of your sweet, little angel. And yes, I can’t wait to see bubs in my arms.