Maternity leave: 1 year on

A year ago today, I began my maternity leave. How long ago that feels now.

It’s been a long year in many ways.  There’s been insatiable highs, there’s been tears – from all three of us, there’s been uncontrollable laughter, disbelief, exhaustion; there’s been more bodily fluids & functions that we knew possible & we’ve learnt more than I could ever fit into a blog post (or bore you with), not just about babies, childbirth & parenting but also about ourselves, our families, & sadly about the pitfalls of renting.

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first bath & first Mother’s Day: 2 weeks

In numbers, I’ve;

  1. Given birth once. (And thank god it was only once.)
  2. Written 178 blog posts.
  3. Changed approximately 112,198 diapers.
  4. Expressed approximately 480oz of breastmilk.
  5. Filled approximately 858 bottles of formula.
  6. Performed the baby Heimlich manoeuvre once.
  7. Been to A&E once (not including childbirth).
  8. Been shit on, in the most literal sense, 5 times, I think.
  9. Been weed on twice.
  10. Prised one poo log out of an extremely constipated baby’s bum
  11. Sung on the tube at least 8 times.
  12. Lost it with a complete stranger: once. Actually, maybe twice.
  13. Watched 5 seasons of Breaking Bad.
  14. Watched 2 seasons of House of Cards.
  15. Watched 2 seasons of Orange is the New Black.
  16. Watched 5.5 seasons of Vampire Diaries.
  17. Watched 2.5 seasons of Once Upon A Time.
  18. Watched 5.5 seasons of Pretty Little Liers.
  19. Watched 3 seasons of Greek.
  20. Watched nearly 1 season of The Originals.
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 the puzzle piece flooring was our best idea all year (4 months)

Before I continue, one quick thing; the effort to produce that much extra breastmilk felt like I expressed a damn sight more breastmilk than 480oz!

Also, I’m aware I may have a slight TV addiction. Please remember I had 5 weeks to fill before Baby Girl arrived & I do just leave the TV on whilst I do other things… I also have barely watched any TV in the day since Baby Girl stopped breastfeeding just before 6 months… honest…

But this week, I feel very emotional. I’ve been dreading this week for most of the year.

Obviously, I feel the usual Mama troubles of returning to work;  leaving Baby Girl; wanting to be at home with her, etc, etc. But in truth, I can already see Baby Girl getting bored. She’s so active & requires an immense amount of stimulation. I can see I’m not enough. And if I don’t return to work, we can’t afford to take her to all the little clubs & classes that would stimulate. Which isn’t fair on her. So nursery or a childminder with other children seems the best solution for her.

And everyone tells me, ‘once you’re back in the office, you’ll appreciate the time as an adult again. You’ll enjoy using your brain ‘fully’ again & cherish the time you do spend with Baby Girl all the more. Her little face when you pick her up at the end of the day will make it all worthwhile.’

And so I start to think about going back to work. But you see, it’s not quite that straightforward for me. I don’t have a job to go back to.

The week I went on maternity leave, like all the contractors in the business, I got made redundant. Yes, yes, I know, it could be considered a bit dodgy but actually, taking the redundancy meant I could take the year off. A luxury we couldn’t have otherwise afforded.

That being said, I had a two hour commute to Slough (west of London), while the Other Half worked outside London in the opposite direction. (East London bizarrely was sort of in the middle for us.) We’d already been wondering how it would work with a nursery run as well. ‘Kindly,’ my employer made the decision for us.

So, I’ve had a year off. And it’s been amazing. But now, I’m job hunting. And it’s not so amazing.

swimming

learning to swim with Water Babies

The uncertainty of when I’ll return to work makes planning anything difficult. Whether it’s booking a holiday or deciding whether to book onto the next course of Water Babies. And of course, the question, ‘what happens if I don’t find anything’ lingers like a bad smell in the background. (Or maybe that’s the diaper bin…)

I’m of the school, ‘it’ll come right in the end.’ Because it usually does. And life is pretty miserable if you think anything else. So that’s what I keep thinking. Something will come up.

Just a question of what. And when?

minions

From what I remember, work doesn’t seem so bad…

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