I am winding down from an extended maternity leave. I decided after having my third kid in April of this year that it was time to take some time off from being doctor, and focus on just being Mom. I am now in my 7th month and I have had a wonderful time. It's amazing how fast time has flown. I found a list yesterday that I made before I had my baby, of all the things I wanted to do in my time off. Fortunately, I have done most things on the list - the last thing on the list is to make a scrap-book for the kids, which I'm not sure will get done.
I spent most of my time being Mom - doing activities with the kids, thinking about their diets, their sleeping habits, organizing their toys and arranging play dates (most of which I could barely find time for in my juggling act prior to leave).
Over and above being Mom, I seemed to have gone through various phases during my leave:
The first couple months I spent in a post-partum state. Sleepy, emotionally labile, sensitive about my weight and just trying to establish new coping mechanisms with three kids. Fortunately, that phase seemed to go by quickly.
The next two months, while my baby was temporarily sleeping through the night, I spent most of my time on me - I worked out every morning, read a book, started a global health blog, established a presence on twitter, got involved in some volunteer work...yes, a busy couple of months.
The next phase was in the fall, flu season started and the baby stopped sleeping through the night. I spent at least one month again sleepy and this time driving to doctor's appointments or vaccine appointments all of which seemed to be inefficiently staggered.
Last month, I focused on doing research on schools (since my eldest will start kindergarten next academic year). I'm trying to determine my answer to public vs, private school and get to know the options in my area. I had been meaning to do this for the last year and I finally made this a priority.
Finally, in the home stretch, I am now interviewing for a full-time nanny. I've met at least a dozen ladies from all walks of life and have yet to find the right match. This process has taken much more time that I anticipated and after spending the last 7 months with my little one, I'm much more attached than I expected.
After deliberately neglecting my medical journals for the last few months, it's now time to dust them off and get reaquainted with the medical world. I'm nervous about all that I must have forgotten and all the patient follow-up that always follows me home. Yet, I'm excited to start being a doctor again - having spent so much time on myself, it will be nice to focus on my patients.