Saturday, 31 October 2009


I was having a discussion with a friend yesterday, which got me wondering if parents of same sex babies worry more for that child/ren due to the fact that they can identify more with that particular sex. Obviously being the parent of only one child (girl) I cannot say whether it is true or not but I realised that being a woman I do know for instance that many women worry (unrealistically) about their weight. I really hope that Maya will be happy in her own skin no matter what size or shape she is. All that matters is that she is healthy. So if she's overweight then that is a problem, but if she is healthily shaped and sized and thinks she's overweight then that is also a problem.

As a woman I have been worried about my weight at times. I have days where I think I am fat and after having Maya my body has changed in a way I am not all that happy with at the moment. I am so conscious of the fact that I don't want to pass these bad habits on to Maya. Realistically I can see that I am of normal weight for my height and though I have some extra bulges that weren't there pre-pregnancy I am a healthy weight.

How do I go about raising a daughter to be comfortable with who she is? I think it starts with me being comfortable with who I am and it does feel like I could be more of an influence in some ways on Maya than her father can. At the same time I am very aware that a father is extremely important to a daughter and also influences how she feels about herself. But is a mother a bigger influence on female mannerisms than a father? In the same way a father might be a bigger influence on male mannerisms than a mother?

So as the mother of a daughter do I have to be more mindful of how I behave, talk and act around my daughter in terms of my femininity than I would if I had a son?

Just something I'm currently thinking about.

Returning to work after maternity/paternity leave.

I didn't realise until recently that it is the exception, not the norm, for businesses to offer returning mothers part time work. I know that there is no requirement for businesses to offer part time work but I thought in this day and age it would be common place. Instead a couple of the mothers from my mothers group have quit their jobs because they were told that they had to return to full time work. So instead of the business valuing their employee and the expertise they hold they would rather invest money into employing (and training) someone full time.

I never realised just how lucky I am to a) receive any paid maternity leave at all and b) have the option to return part time (with as many or as little hours of my choosing). Really I believe that there should be paid maternity leave for at least 13 months (means tested and available to either parent) and an option for that parent to return on a part time basis. Why 13 months paid leave? Because that gives the mother time one month prior to birth and the ability for either parent to stay home until a child is one year old. Yes, either parent should have the opportunity to stay home with their child in his/her first year. I have known dads who have chosen to be the primary caregiver. One who was much older and had had his career already while his wife was just starting out. Another whose wife earned a lot more than he and valued her career more highly than he valued his. These are parents who value a parent staying home to raise their child and have planned and organised accordingly.

I read somewhere that in 2011 there will be a paid maternity leave scheme introduced in Australia but for a total of 18 weeks only. This is still behind some other countries which offer at least 12 months paid leave. I realise that the money will have to come from tax payers but at the moment the government supports a paid child care scheme to help parents return to work, which parents can access when their baby is just 6 weeks old. Why not instead put this money into supporting parents to stay at home for the first year of their child's life?

I'm not saying that the primary caregiver needs to stay home forever or until a child is in school - just for the first (most important) year of the child's life. In fact I think at some point a parent needs to return to the work force to keep a toe in their previous career (especially when looking at my mother's generation who stayed home till children were well into school and then couldn't return to their previous careers because of too many advances in the work force). A return to the work force can also give the care taker time out and more time with adults.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Maya's First Birthday Party.

I decided to have a first birthday party for Maya.. well for me really because she has no idea about birthdays or parties. I wanted to celebrate Maya's first year of life and the fact that we'd survived it. Not that I didn't think we'd survive it.. well mostly. :)

My little girl.

As mentioned in a previous post Maya is small for her age. At birth she was a big baby at the top of the percentile chart for height, weight and length. However, from there she has never really grown much and at the age of 12 months she is the size of an average 6 month old. This has caused me anguish at times wondering if I am starving her or if there is something wrong with her. Developmentally she is where she should be, she is happy and she is rarely ill. Looking at her, without charts or other babies to compare to, I know she is OK. But there has always been a doubt in my mind - what if there is something wrong?

Last week I took Maya to a paediatrician who said he was worried about her and ran many tests. While I hated the idea of putting Maya through tests, I had to know finally. I had to know if she was OK.

The results came back - she is a perfectly healthy girl. She is getting the right amount of food, the right nutritional balance and doesn't have any obvious medical conditions. She is just small. Maybe she's meant to be small? Maybe she'll have a growth spurt later in life? Maybe I should just stop comparing her to other babies and charts.

What a relief though to know that she is OK. :)

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Happy First Birthday Maya.

A year ago today I got up after barely sleeping - anxious and excited about what lay ahead. Your dad and I went to the hospital and took this last photo of pregnant me.

Then it was off to the theatre. I got a glimpse of you before they whisked you away to wrap you up warmly. Was that my baby I wondered? Then they brought you back and placed you on my chest. I stared at you. A stranger to me. Your dad whispered "Maya". Yes she was Maya.

They took you away with your father and I went to recovery. Every part of my being wanted to rush to your side. It was then that I knew that I loved you more than anything in the world.

It has certainly been a roller coaster ride my dear Maya. Those sleepless nights and seemingly endless crying. At times I thought they would never end and I would forever be a walking zombie. But all the time I loved you no matter what you did.

There was a huge learning curve for both you and I. I had to learn how to take care of you. You had to learn how to exist in the world. Before my eyes you started to grow and develop and you learnt more and more things all the time. Your personality developed too. A smiling, happy girl eager to explore her surroundings. I have loved watching you grow, learn and develop, while at the same time I have wished that I could hang on to this time for a little longer. The time really does go too quickly.

I love your hugs. I love your wet, sloppy kisses. I love your laugh. I love your smile.

I love you my darling daughter forever and always.

My life is better with you in it.

Happy FIRST Birthday from your Mum. xx

Wishing you a long, happy, fulfilling, healthy life. xx