Today is the day that, after 2 and a bit months I head back to work. Admittedly, my soiree back into the world of grown ups is only for one day a week (for now), but this got me thinking about what my maternity leave has meant to me.
I worked until I was due (give or take a few days) for a few reasons: I wanted a welcome distraction from my ever increasing aching pregnant body, I love my job and the people I work with, lastly, I wanted to savour every moment of leave to get to know our new addition. Unfortunately, little man arrived a week late, which to me felt like a week of maternity leave wasted, as from day one every second has felt like a magical golden bean not to be frittered away carelessly.
Casper’s now 9 weeks old, and this 9 week long journey we’ve ventured on together now includes complete recognition of his “inner circle” of VIPs, smiles and a little (and very occaisional) giggle. Days are spent feeding, napping, sterilising, making the vital oink-oink noise/blowing raspberries that procure the aforementioned giggle and, if I’m lucky a very quick shower and getting dressed!
I’ve been a mother for 8+ years now, and love it – however, my first two were born a mere 13 months apart, which meant every day felt like a huge achievement when they were little. I’ll admit, the first 4 years of their tiny lives were not enjoyed as your children should be – it was chaotic and stressful. I suffered from post-natal depression which I “hid” for 3 years, came close to a break-down and ended my marriage to the boys’ father. That said, there were happy moments, fun times and they seem to have come out the other end relatively well! I love my children, they melt my heart and I would do anything for them, but that hasn’t come without challenges and struggles along the way, all of which have helped me grow as a mother and person.
This time, with all the other boys at school and a 7 year age gap between youngest child and baby – I’ve had time to truly appreciate Casper and really enjoy being a new mum again. I love who I have become because of Casper. Being a 30 year old baby-mama suits me. He is my bliss and makes me complete. I’ve used my maternity leave to hold, smell, stroke and generally just be with Casper. I’ve memorised every little milk spot on his face like a familiar stellar constellation. I’ve watched him grow so fast in front of my eyes. And, some, including my mother, may think this one is pretty gross- I’ve picked out his toe jam to smell the cheesiness – I even love this!! Yes, I’m completely besotted!
So, on this day when I hand my precious dude to his grandma for a full 9 hours straight, it is not an easy task – but I rest assured in knowing that not only is he having a great time being doted on by Grandma, I also get to go to the work I love which makes me me and in order to really cherish the baby days I have to have non-baby days. Through experience I’ve learnt in order to be the best mummy I can be, I need to let go a little and take time for myself too.