I can’t believe it’s that time already. My maternity leave ends tomorrow. It’s the strangest feeling, in some ways the time has flown and in others it feels like an eternity since I was last anything other than ‘just mum’.
I started maternity leave 2 days before Meggy was born and have taken just under 9 months off work in total. It’s been amazing. I’ve loved being there for both my babies and am so lucky to have had the time I did. If I’m honest though, part of me is ready to go back. Don’t get me wrong, being a full time mummy is incredible but I love my job and I’ve missed having skills other than just changing nappies and lactating.
When Harry was a baby I returned to work when he was 7 months old. He was Mr Independent and completely unphased by the change. Meggy is completely different. She’s clingy, a real mummy’s girl and still seems so young for some reason. She’s still breastfed too and isn’t a fan of formula. She’ll take it but only sometimes and after she’s worked herself up into a state.
I’ve spent a long time thinking about how I can make the transition easier for her and the obvious solution was to express milk to leave her while I’m away. When I tried though I was shocked to find that I couldn’t get any milk using the pump that I had in the early days. I sat, feeling like a cow, for over 40 minutes while the pump made loud mooing noises and didn’t get a single drop of milk. I was gutted.
Not long after I saw the lovely Ardo team at The Baby and Toddler Show in Manchester and got talking to a lovely lady called Irene . She was passionate about supporting breastfeeding mums with pumping and showed me the Ardo calypso breast pumps. They are so quiet (no mooing sounds) and are one of the brands that hospitals make available for mothers who need to express. Irene also took the time to give me lots of tips for how to express more milk and told me where I could find more information online. She offered to send me a pump to try and I gratefully accepted.
Using the pumps and her advice I was able to pump about 50ml milk in about 10 minutes. Not lots but not bad for a first attempt. I’m hoping that if she’s distressed and refusing formula this will be an ace card that will help to give her some comfort. I’m also going to take my pump with me as, although I don’t think I’ll need to use it, I’m not used to being away from Meg for so long and she still feeds several times a day so it will come in handy if I start to feel uncomfortable.
Thankfully, Alistair and my mum are able to have the children on the days I work for the first few months. After that I’ll have a few weeks off then Harry will get his free hours at nursery school and Megan will go to a childminder. We went to meet her yesterday and I’m so so happy with our choice. She’s such a lovely lady and I feel really calm and secure leaving my little lady with her.
How I’m feeling
Before maternity leave I had a lot of time off work sick. Hyperemesis Gravidarum made it impossible to do the most basic things and left me feeling useless and like I was letting everyone down. I felt like people would think I was lazy and ‘not pulling my weight’ when all the time I was pushing myself to the point where I was hospitalised on a drip twice because I couldn’t keep anything down, not even water. I really struggled with the guilt of that and I think that is the main thing that’s making me nervous about going back to work. I feel like I have more to prove because I ‘let everyone down by getting pregnant and being so ill’ (my words not theirs). I think that, coupled with the anxiety of leaving Megan for so long is what’s giving me butterflies.
The lack of sleep I’m getting worries me too. Megan still wakes regularly and I can’t remember the last time I got a decent night’s sleep. I’m used to getting up early and running around with Harry though so hopefully it’ll be fine.
On the whole though, I feel positive. I’m lucky to only work 2 days a week in a job that I love. I know that once I’m back I’ll realise that I was worrying over nothing and I know I’ll enjoy myself.
I’m organised, my bag is packed, my Klean Kanteen has a teabag in it ready for the morning and I have new a new notebook (because there is NOTHING better in life than new stationary). I’ve been in twice this week already for short visits which have made me feel more prepared and dare I say it excited so all that’s left to do now is take the plunge back into working life! A mum of two this time with a few more stretch marks and slightly bigger eye bags, but hopefully still the worker bee I once was.
And to my darling Meggy. I have adored every second of being 100% yours and your brothers. It’s been hard but I wouldn’t change a second. I hope you understand one day that it’s ok to want more and that you can be a good mummy and have a career and totally kick ass at both those things. You may not understand tomorrow when I walk out that door, tear in my eye, for the longest time we’ve spent apart but I’m doing this for both of us (and Harry and Daddy too).
I hope I make you proud.