16 Weeks of Maternity Leave

Having a baby and becoming a mom is stressful. There’s no denying that. Planning for a maternity leave can be stressful, too. If you’re expecting your first baby (or even a second or a third!), you might be wondering what a longer maternity leave looks like. Here’s how I spent (and funded!) 16 weeks of maternity leave.

A Word About Stress

Everyone handles stress differently. No two births are the same. There are so many variables when it comes to maternity leaves.

For me, well, my leave was pretty stressful.

There was moving and almost dying along the way. At some point (OK, multiple points), I was overwhelmed and probably met criteria for postpartum anxiety. I spoke to a psychiatrist friend who pointed out that I pretty much experienced all the top life stressors except death of a loved one (and let’s keep it that way!) within a 4 month period:

  • New baby (especially the first one)
  • Moving
  • New Job
  • Serious illness

She also pointed out that what’s especially hard for new mothers is that no one is taking care of us. We are always taking care of baby (and spouse).

A Look at 16 Weeks of Maternity Leave

I feel lucky that my mother lives nearby enough and has been with us most weeks.

Breakfast of Champions – home cooked Korean food

So, I decided to give myself a pass on pretty much everything. For me, that meant a lot of stopping.

I stopped worrying about…

  • Posting consistently on this blog.
  • My new postpartum figure (well, kind of).
  • Every single bit of what I was eating.
  • Spending too much especially if it made my life easier during this time.

I am still trying to worry less about the not fully unpacked apartment.

Oh, and I finally figured out the biggest fallacy of “maternity leave” — nothing gets done despite not “going to work.”

Funding a Longer Maternity Leave

Throughout my leave, I was often asked how are we able to afford taking 16 weeks of mostly unpaid leave.

Let’s back up and actually look at my leave. I took 16 weeks of leave, and it was only very partially paid. 6 weeks paid at my old base salary was all I got.

So how did we swing the full 16 weeks of maternity leave?

The answer is simple: We lived below our means, and we saved for it. Remember, you have about 9 months to save for maternity leave!

Let’s go back to the idea of living below our means. In other words, we do not need our whole paycheck to get by. While I was pregnant, I stopped making extra payments to loans in favor of saving for this time.

Then, I had a cushion to pay for my maternity leave.

It definitely didn’t feel good to watch my checking account balance only decrease during my leave, but seeing his face daily more than made up for it.

What are you looking at?

Final Thoughts on 16 Weeks of Maternity Leave

Isn’t this what it’s all about, Moms? I hope everyone about to have a baby can have the freedom to spend more than the typical 4-6 weeks of doctor maternity leave.

Look hard at your budget while your expecting, and see what you can do to save a bit extra. Even if you can’t fund 16 weeks of leave, anything extra counts. You won’t regret it.

What do you think of funding a longer leave? Comment below!]]>


  1. Hatton1 on February 8, 2018 at 7:57 am

    The real stress is not the pregnancy but caring for the new baby. You certainly have gone through a stressful time. Hopefully things will calm down.

    • Miss Bonnie MD on February 9, 2018 at 8:50 am

      I have an easy baby too and it is still a lot of work! I can’t imagine if I had a colicky baby or a baby who didn’t sleep all night!

  2. Quynh on February 8, 2018 at 9:59 am

    Welcome to motherhood! I don’t have any kids yet but am planning to in a year or two. One of my colleagues said that she buys short term insurance and gets paid during maternity leave. She’s on her third pregnancy now. Have you heard of that? I need to look into that for next year. I also need to move closer to my mom. Grandmothers are the best, aren’t they?

    • Miss Bonnie MD on February 9, 2018 at 8:48 am

      Sounds like short term disability insurance. Generally not worth buying. My paid leave was through STDI from my last job (employer paid).And you can’t buy it right before the baby, lots of rules. Generally better to self insure.

  3. Laura on February 8, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    What a cutie! Congratulations. I agree, moms should be able to have more time at home after delivering or adopting a baby. Our society does not value this. As you have just experienced, this time is hard, emotional, exhausting, and it takes time to recover, let alone return to a demanding job. I took 5ish weeks with my first as that was all we could afford just out of training and hubby still in grad school, 2 months with my last since we could save up ahead of time.

    • Miss Bonnie MD on February 9, 2018 at 8:49 am

      Yes definitely a bit backwards here compared to most of Europe…I honestly am now amazed at all the physician moms out there now!

  4. RocDoc on February 9, 2018 at 12:36 am

    Whar a cutey! I hope you are doing better health wise.

    • Miss Bonnie MD on February 15, 2018 at 7:14 am

      Thank you! And yes I am pretty muck back to normal.

  5. PiggyBanki on February 27, 2018 at 10:16 am

    I don’t know how you guys do it in the States with hardly any maternity leave.. At 12 weeks I was still soooo tired! I managed to take 7 months (5 fully paid and 2 partially paid) but most mums here in Germany take 1 full year. I think it is so unfair that some people can only take 6 weeks! I am glad you were able to take at least 16 weeks, you need that time to take care of your baby and to prepare yourself for your new life.
    Good luck with all, I just found your blog by chance and I will definitely keep on reading more posts 🙂

    • Miss Bonnie MD on February 28, 2018 at 6:46 am

      Thanks for stopping by! Yes it is unfortunate.

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