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    Maternity Leave in India: What all can you do?

    Chhavi


    A woman grows up in the true sense when she realizes the new life growing inside of her. Bringing and nurturing new life transforms us into MOTHERs. 

    Motherhood is all about giving, and it’s always been. I keep looking at my mom and think “What is her life without me?” And if I ask her this, she’ll say, “Nothing!” without a thought. Daughters don’t understand, not until we ourselves become mothers. 

    Sure, there’s a lot that goes on in your mind when you realize that you’re pregnant; one of the first things that come to a working woman’s mind is ‘maternity leave’. Isn’t it? We know we can only sustain if given this super important break from work, from career, from life, basically, and venture into the new life of nourishing the new life.

    Maternity leave is all about taking care of the newborn and the new you. But how can you make good use of it? When should you take it and for how long should you be on it? Also, if you don’t work that entire time, and if you’re lucky, still be paid for it, how do you keep up with your professional life? There’s obviously a lot of things that need to be taken care of in addition to you and your baby. And for this, we have some wonderful tips on how you can make your maternity leave worthwhile. We will also tip you on how you can keep yourself updated with respect to your career so that when you actually join back, you’re ready for it. 

    Now, without further ado, let’s begin!

    How long is maternity leave in India?

    Under the new law passed by the Lok Sabha in 2017, the maternity leave for first and second-time mothers is now 26-week long (6.5 months). For mothers with at least two children, the length is 12 weeks. 

    For adopting mothers as well as those opting for surrogacy, the duration of maternity leave is 12 weeks, beginning from the day the child is handed over to them. 

    What is the best time to start my maternity leave? 

    You are entitled to 26 weeks of maternity leave, and when you start it is up to you. However, you can’t take more than 8 weeks before your due date. 

    The best time to start your maternity leave actually depends on your comfort. If you’re okay working even until 2-3 weeks to your due date, it’s your best (honestly don’t risk it, the good news might come early!). It’s always good to have plans and precautions, though. Better consult your gynaecologist to know when you should stop working and take complete rest.

    Things you can do on Maternity Leave, in the right order

    • Plan and organize

    When you begin your maternity leave, assumingly at least 4 weeks before you’re due, you can start planning and organizing. 

    You should sort things at the workplace and start handing them over to your colleagues. So, by the time your leave begins, you would have completely deboarded to stay off the stress. 

    Moreover, it’s time when you can work around baby proofing your house, stocking up essentials such as diapers, swaddles, cot, feeding bottles, and clothes for the baby. You also need to start preparing yourself for the big life change you’re about to go through. It’s not easy, you will have to learn to accept it. Now is the best time for that! So, think and have everything sorted. It will save a lot of time and energy. Trust the guts! 

    • Keep a baby journal or photo book

    Moving ahead and believing that by this time, you’ve already given birth to your child. I think that the best thing you can do, apart from feeding and changing their nappies, is keeping a journal! Write things down. Monitor the changes in your body and thoughts and take pictures! The baby will grow so fast and you’ll regret not taking the pics then. Please don’t miss this one, it’s precious and makes the initial postpartum days exciting, which are otherwise usually tiresome. 

    • Exercise

    Forgive me if it breaks your heart, but you’ll most likely still look pregnant even after you deliver. Apologies!

    I understand you’ve just birthed a baby and the extra body weight and fat is justified, but you can start exercising whenever you feel like it. There’s no perfect timing to it.  

    • Take care of YOU

    Snuggling and cuddling is going to remain for the next few years of your life. But the one thing you must not forget doing is taking care of yourself! Remember, the child feeds off you, literally, and this also includes your energies. So, pamper yourself as much as you do your child and make sure that only the best and positive vibes touch your baby. Happy mommy = Happy Child, always! 

    • Meditate 

    As there’s a thing called postpartum depression, you might want to consider meditating even before you deliver. 

    Mindfulness and meditation have plenty of benefits for pregnant women and the growing child backed by science. You won’t only stay calm, but also understand how meditation changes your life. Besides, it has many long term benefits

    • Join a mommy group

    You might be surrounded by your partner throughout, especially if they’re on paternity leave, but still feel alone. Primarily because they don’t understand. Pregnant and new mother’s often feel the need to vent to women at the same stage of their lives to share their feelings and emotions. This is essentially because you feel connected, comforted, and surrounded. Additionally, it will also keep your social life active, which otherwise takes a hit around this time.

    • Go on a date with your spouse

    Aah, yes! With all the baby and mommy things going, you could actually even just completely forget your husband/partner! LOL. Come on, don’t laugh, it isn’t funny. Plan a date with your partner and keep giving yourselves an “away-baby” time so you know that you have a life beyond them. 

    This will keep your romance game on, and you’ll never feel like you’re missing your partner. This is another must! 

    All these things are important as you’ll be home 24*7, which is something you wouldn’t have done in years. It’s nobody’s but your duty to keep things light as you begin your maternity leave, instead of taking everything on your head. 

    Let it, keep it, rocking! 

    How to prepare going back to work post maternity leave?

    Damn! Did I have to join back? 

    Err. Yep. Maybe. Completely up to you. Whether you want to extend your leave, join from home, or drop the idea of going back to work is your choice. However, if you do join, you’ll see a lot of things changed at your workplace. Some people (the newbies) may or may not recognise you, you might feel that you aren’t respected the same way just because you haven’t been keeping up. 

    Depending on the type of job you have, there’s a thing or two you can do about it. 

    First, on your leave, you can have regular Skype or Zoom calls with your colleagues, say once or twice a week so you know exactly what’s happening in the office. It doesn’t have to be about work but more of a social, keep-up thing. 

    Second, if your company’s HR allows you to, you can continue working flexible part-time from home to stay connected to your profession and work-life. 

    EndNote

    In addition to the pregnancy, it’s the maternity leave that is exciting because it offers you to stay and bond with your baby. Moreover, it’s an absolutely amazing time that you can spend at home with your family and most importantly, yourself. Your otherwise busy schedule would’ve never allowed you to live so freely. Take the time to love your new family, your partner, and yourself.

    Take it, don’t lose it. 

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