Saturday, June 16, 2012

My nonadvice advice on maternity leave planning - and really anything else.

When I was pregnant with my son (forever ago in medical school) many people had advice for me; particularly regarding when I took off work and how long to take off. At first I listened to everyone. I had never had a kid before so what did I know.

And then I started reading mommy/doctor mommy blogs. At first it seemed like a horrible idea that was going to drive me crazy. There are stories of everything from doctors who had persisted, completing surgeries as they went into labour, to babies born early after a complicated pregnancy. I would feel like disaster was upon me and then that I was a wimp if I couldn't be a work horse until I was at 39 weeks.

Finally I realized that you can't have fixed expectations or rules about what your pregnancy is going to be. And you especially can't compare your experience to others, because every pregnancy is different. Just about everyone has advice, usually based on their experience, almost always given with the best of intentions. My only advice is to listen to people's point of view as it was intended and then decide for yourself. Your particular health/work/childcare/family/financial situation and a hundred other variables play into how you handle future planning. Even if you have never had a kid before, you are the expert of your life and no one can give you better advice than your gut can.

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