Friday, June 27, 2008

Denial turns to Resignation

I've been ignoring the fact that my maternity leave ends very soon. With that end comes the return to work. I've been saying "I have leave for 12 weeks " for a while. I'm about to begin week 12 this Monday. A friend of mine suggested I talk to my husband about him paying me to stay home, which is what she and her husband did. I can't bring myself to do it, because I already know the answer is no. It's not because he's a heartless bastard, but we can't afford another nine months on one salary.

I don't want to go back, but I gotta. Especially since my credit card company called to ask if I was ok because I missed a payment, which is so unlike me. I explained that I am on unpaid leave and my money ran out before June's payment was due. The woman on the other end wasn't too sad for me. My account is in the red, and the bills are only going to keep piling up.

There is nothing I'd rather do than stay at home with my baby. To care for the baby I've waited for, the one we planned to have. (Though many of you would say not carefully enough. If you knew you wanted to be able to stay home with her for a while, why didn't you plan for that?) I don't want someone else taking care of her. I don't want a stranger watching my baby. It's taken me almost twelve weeks to learn who she is now. I don't want to hand her over to someone else who will become her caretaker, and get to know her better than me.

Tallu can't talk, she can't tell me how good or bad her day was, or if anything happened to her. I know I'm being paranoid, and maybe looking to make excuses. But I really want to be with her.
I want to be at home with her, changing her diaper, taking her for walks, watching her grow. My mom stayed home with my sister and me, and I swore I would do that for my children.

As I was telling Tallu, being an adult means you do things because you have to, not because you want to. I have to go back to work, so I have to hand my child over to someone else to care for her while I am at work. Women do it every day with babies younger than mine. I will just have to suck it up and trust that Tallu will be okay in someone else's care. Babies are very adaptable. She will be fine. She'll love it, even. She'll wake up looking forward to going to daycare, and she'll cry when she has to come home.

I've got to prepare for this inevitability both mentally and phsyically. I have to start pumping a hell of a lot of milk and freezing it. I'll have to start a feeding schedule and feeding her from a bottle at home, so she's really used it. I'll also have to feed her less, and stop offering her the boob every time she cries. (Many breastfed babies use the boob as a pacifier, and want to nurse because it's comforting as well as nourishing.) That leads to picking her up every time she cries, for which the church ladies have already chided me, which will also have to cease.

I'm not ready for this, but I did it to myself.

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