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One of many difficulties that women encounter when being professionally successful is deciding to claim maternity leave.
For those who don’t already know, maternity leave is an employee benefit that grants to-be mothers the right to take a certain number of months off from work during pregnancy and after childbirth while being entitled to their full salary.
At first glance, this seems like a great benefit for women who are expecting a child. Truthfully, it is. However, maternity leave represents a double-edged sword for women since it can also cause them to have some difficulties in their careers, making support from their partner, spouse, or family member particularly important.
Women experience fear of looking like they’re not dedicated enough to their job—just for being pregnant. Plenty of successful women also fear missing out on a major promotion while on maternity leave, making them understandably hesitant to claim the benefit. Some women are even afraid to tell their bosses that they are pregnant, as they feel they’ll be labelled as unfit for their jobs.
So, if you don’t want to add more stress to her day—and want her to enjoy a peaceful and memorable pregnancy that will result in one of life’s greatest miracles—here are five tips on how to support your wife or partner while she’s on maternity leave:
1. Make Her Feel Capable
“Leaving” their jobs temporarily may trigger women to feel like they’re not useful. This is caused by the drastic change in her everyday routine and the subsequent adaptation to a new one where she’s mostly subjected to resting.
This new phase is difficult for her, so the best you can do is help her find new opportunities to make her feel capable, useful, and efficient. It doesn’t have to be something too complicated; as long as she’s comfortable, having fun, and feeling useful, she’s going to have no reason to feel bad for being on maternity leave.
2. Help Her In Any Way You Can
This is a genuinely vital part of keeping her mind in a good place. Remember that even if she’s at home, that doesn’t mean that she can do all the chores, such as doing the dishes or the laundry, cleaning, cooking. You should do all you can to lighten the burden of taking care of the house.
Remember, both pregnancy and childbirth can be exhausting, and so can taking care of a newborn child. So, helping around the house in every way that you can (before and after delivery) makes all the difference in the world.
3. Ask For A Leave Yourself
In some countries, the legislation also grants the father a paternity leave, although it is generally shorter than the mother’s time. If that’s the case in your country and both of you are becoming parents, it’s a good idea to ask for paternity leave as well. If there are two of you making this decision, she’ll feel supported, which will make the whole process much easier for both of you.
Having said that, it’s important to note that when both parents choose this option, there can be some complications. One possible drawback is that, in some cases, paternity leave isn’t fully paid: the couple will see a reduced income while having a baby on the way. However, this shouldn’t be a problem if you handle your personal finances intelligently.
Besides this complication, many soon-to-be fathers have also stated their fear of missing out on future work-related opportunities, which is one of the main reasons they don’t tend to ask for paternity leave. Still, if you take this step with her, the pros will outweigh the cons, and never forget that the top priority in both your lives should be the baby that’s on its way.
4. Focus On Her, Not On Yourself
You need to understand that women go through intense hormonal changes that will affect their mood and energy during pregnancy. All of this means that she won’t be available all the time to take care of you the way she used to or listen to you after a long day at work. Don’t take this as a lack of love or a change in your relationship; it’s something pregnant women sometimes simply can’t control.
When you get home and scream out loud that you had a terrible day or are so tired, you should keep in mind that she may not have had an easy day either. There are many chances that her energy is at a minimum, and the least she wants to do is focus on listening to complaints and whining. That’s why you should focus on listening to her and let her know you fully love and support her.
5. Keep Yourselves Productive
Lastly, one important thing to remember is that being on maternity or paternity leave doesn’t mean you’re on vacation or that you should just lie down and wait for the baby to come. Try to make yourself as useful and productive as possible during your leave at home, and help her become productive as well. I suggest taking up a part-time job that you can work from home. This will take her mind off whatever financial worries she may have while at the same time generating some extra income.
It’s usually easy to find many great opportunities, especially if both of you are working professionals in your field. From proofreading to being a virtual assistant, there are plenty of jobs that you can find online and fit a mom’s lifestyle.
When it comes to maternity leave, you need to show the future mother of your child all the support you can since it’s not an easy choice to make. Remember, you are a team, and as a team, you have to work together to keep things running smoothly until the child is born and beyond.
It may seem hard at first. But following these simple pieces of advice can mean the difference between a nerve-wracking and stressful experience that will stretch your relationship to the breaking point and enjoying one of the most wonderful gifts life can throw your way.
The choice is up to you.