Maternity Leave, Antenatal Classes + Labour Pains

I couldn’t wait to go on maternity leave. When I first got pregnant I assumed that maternity leave meant that your employer continued to pay your wages for 12 months so you could experience the ‘stay-at-home-mum’ dream of which I thought would be WAY easier then getting up and going to work every day. I didn’t find out until half way through my pregnancy that you only get paid the minimum wage for 18 weeks and man was I bummed. How did they expect me to pay for my mortgage?? 

On top of the financial stresses, work was becoming completely overwhelming. Without disclosing to you what my job actually was, picture this: I was basically the middle man in a situation where both sides of the clientele blamed me for every issue possible. I was the one that they would hate, the one they would yell at when things went wrong and as we were heading into a market that was less then desirable in my industry, it was of course my fault that they weren’t achieving the same success that I had previously gained for them. I was starting work an hour and a half early every day  to catch up and often leaving late. I barely ever got a lunch break and put up with assholes in my ear all day, everyday, coming home absolutely exhausted.

Although I was knackered every day, I wasn’t sleeping. In fact, I remember thinking one day that 4hours sleep was the most I had gotten all week. My doctor kept telling me that stress and lack of sleep was no good for the baby and if I had to I should quit (because that’s possible when you have bills to pay!!). So with about 4 months to go, finally I cracked. I had a mental breakdown in front of my department manager and told her I couldn’t take it anymore. I was lucky enough to be offered a shit-kicker position to take me through until my maternity leave started. It was lower pay and I was basically everyone’s slave for the last 2 months but I absolutely LOVED it. 

Finally I could slack off a little and not be run off my feet. I would slowly complete the paperwork given to me throughout the day and in between would have in depth chats with our 18 year old receptionist about makeup and celeb gossip. She regularly gave me advise on labour and babies, of which I smiled politely and then later on would laugh my head off that she thought she knew more then me. I thought I knew all there was to know because I had been googling every single possible question that popped into my head since I found out I was pregnant but it wasn’t until antenatal classes that I really learnt a lot.

Antenatal classes were both fantastic and scary as hell. I initially thought my partner wouldnt pay attention and more then likely fall asleep during the classes but was pleasantly surprised to see that he was more interested then me! It was me that was holding back a yawn for the 16th time, wriggling in my seat and looking at the clock every half hour. 2 hour sessions were too long for a tired pregnant woman to sit down and concentrate on a midwife who had been talking non stop. 

The one session I paid attention to the most was when she was talking about the drugs for the birth. I sat up in my chair thinking ‘what will my drug cocktail be for my labour’ and could picture myself drugged off my head for the entire labour.  But who knew that drugs are actually BAD for the baby? Der. So I left our final class thinking that maybe I would try to do it natural and only ask for an epidural if I truly felt it was needed.

At 36 weeks I had decided that I’d had enough of work and started my maternity leave. I was certain that my baby was going to come a little earlier considering both my mum and sisters baby’s came a week or 2 early so I made sure I got everything that needed doing the first week of my leave. To my suprise, I had not yet gone into labour after that first week so I took on everyone’s advice and slept while I could. I couldn’t sleep much during the night for some reason so I would sleep during the day. I woke up to watch a bit of Netflix and have something to eat every now and then, but mostly I would just sleep.

At around 37 weeks I woke up with contractions and I thought ‘well, this is it’. No. It wasn’t. They stopped after 3 contractions. I was utterly disappointed. This continued to happen to me for the next 2 weeks. It was then that I decided that enough was enough and it was time to try to bring on this labour. 

First I tried walking… or rather, waddling. This just made my feet sore and me more tired then ever. Then I got a fit ball to bounce on. I bounced on that damn thing all night long for 4 days straight with no success. Next was spicy food. That just made my bubba kick me in the vagina harder then usual. 

After no luck I finally looked over at my partner and pleaded defeat. I had decided to seduce him. By seduce I mean we hadn’t had sex in a couple of weeks because it was way too much hard work so I rolled my eyes and gave him the nod for us to do it. He was thrilled. I was uncomfortable. 

It was 5 o’clock in the morning and we’d both been awake since midnight because we couldn’t sleep. We did the dead and went back to bed, only shortly after at 6 o’clock I was woken up by contractions. ‘Yeah right, I’m not falling for that again’ I laughed to myself and rolled over to sleep again. But the contractions didn’t stop… and they started getting worse. This actually was it!

My first thought was ‘Fuckin hell, it really did work!’


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