Pascale, Montréal-Nord (2/4)
"My first year with him went well. Of course, there were some down times. The first month without any sleep is torture. There were nights when I sat on the floor of his bedroom in a fetal position and cried ‘Why did I do this? I’m exhausted! No more kids ever!’ But after a while, it got better. In Quebec, dads are entitled to five weeks of paternity leave. I know in the US it’s non-existent – it’s appalling. My partner took two full weeks when our son was born, and three more a couple of months later. We used this time to travel to Spain as a family. This first trip with our son is one of the most beautiful moments of my life. He was perfect. When we came back, it was November and the cold was settling in. Loneliness too. My partner was no longer with me. It was difficult. I almost went back to work teaching French, because it felt like I was just a mother, a wife, and there was no social recognition for what I was doing. And let’s be honest, before five or six months, babies are quite boring. Finally, after the Holidays, things got better. He started to crawl and was interacting more. He was laughing a lot. I loved it so much that I decided to extend my maternity leave for six more months – from twelve to eighteen months. Financially it was hard, but I felt he was too little to be put in daycare. I did not feel ready. But I never regretted it."