‘I always thought that maternity leave was a kind of vacation, but the opposite turned out to be true’

Diana called the phenomenon of leave ‘mysterious’ when she had no children of her own. ‘Colleagues who went on leave just left one day,’ she says. Shortly afterwards we were told they had a baby and a few months later they came back tired but proud to show pictures of their baby. I realized that nobody really talked about what those days really were like. ‘

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Work really hard

When Diana herself became pregnant, she looked forward to her own leave. ‘The image of my colleagues made me think that my leave would be a kind of vacation. Sure, I had to take care of my baby, but wow – being off for a few weeks seemed wonderful too. ‘

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And then she gave birth. ‘And everything turned out to be different’, Diana admits. ‘Leave was not a holiday at all. It was hard work – I had no days off, my ‘little boss’ called me repeatedly when I was just asleep and in the meantime I tried to recover from the delivery.’

Recovery time

In addition, Diana found out that she missed her real job. ‘I hadn’t counted on that. I missed my colleagues and having adult conversations. I also learned that the leave is not just about taking care of your baby. My body also needed to recover – physically it was the most intense thing I’ve ever done. ‘

The fact that she would get her old body back on leave – as she thought during her pregnancy – turned out to be a wrong thought. “I was completely wrong,” she says now. The hormones were rushing through my body. As a result, I was much less comfortable in my own skin during my leave than when I was pregnant ‘.

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