Out in the Open

When you can't wait for mat leave to end

August 03, 2017

For some mother's mat leave can't end soon enough.

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What happens when you can't wait for mat leave to end?  3:58

'I felt like I had been smacked in the face by a truck.'

This is how University of Toronto history professor Rebecca Wittmann describes her experience of maternity leave.


"I went from feeling like a professional, travelling, independent, free, scholar to feeling like a cow. It's the only way I can describe it." 

While other mothers she talked to were worried about leaving their kids at day care for longer than half a day, Wittmann could not relate.

"I don't understand what planet you're living on. I can't wait to sit at my desk, drink a coffee without fearing that's going to spill on your precious little head, go to the bathroom and maybe collect my thoughts enough to be able to write a coherent sentence."

And yet, for most women, sharing that feeling of excitement about getting back to paid work — and away from the baby — is far from socially acceptable.

Of course, the stigma cuts both ways. Hear about how it feels to choose to stay at home with your kids here.

This story originally aired on January 22, 2017