So, on the 23rd February our beautiful Babe turned one. 365 days ago, we were in hospital giving birth to our bambino. We knew it would change everything, but I was not prepared for all the emotions that would last well, well past the early stages.Now I am a pretty emotional person anyway but pregnancy and then becoming a mother has put these on a whole other level. I have always cried at films, heart-warming youtube videos etc. But now I just need to be told about something or have a little think and I can genuinely be in floods of tears. This doesn’t bode well for this amazingly significant point of O’s first birthday.
I have, I would say since Christmas, been thinking about the time left before O turned one. A LOT. Counting down the days if you want, but not in a ‘can’t wait for that’ kinda way, but in a ‘oh my goodness, its coming way too fast’ kinda way. Not only in relation to her birthday itself, but what that means afterwards.
In one way it feels as though this little bean has been with us forever, but in another it was just yesterday that we were bringing her home for the first time. Everyone tells you that it all goes so fast, and you politely nod, and say ‘yes, so everyone says’ but in your mind thinking, I’m sure the perimeters of time will stay the same as they have been. But they were right, it does. It goes so fast. Faster than any other passage of time I have ever experienced. I can’t believe that we have written the cards, opened the gifts and had the gathering with our family already. And it’s done. Our first year is over. My maternity leave is coming to an end. And we are booking settling in days for nursery. How has this even happened?
Christmas and new year was a poignant point for me. Up until then I was always going back to work ‘next year’. When we hit the first of January, not only was it only about 8 weeks until O’s birthday, but I was now going back to work ‘this year’. I can’t sit here and say that this hasn’t played on my mind for months as it has. I met with my work in November to have some initial conversations about my return to work and part-time working, and that settled my mind for a few weeks but as soon as we hit the 1st January, all of those worries rose to the surface again, weaving their way into many of my daily thoughts and conversations, like a really persistent weed in a garden shadowing all the beautiful flowers right in front of your eyes.
Speaking to my friends, I do not think that this is uncommon amongst those who are returning to work after maternity leave. But is it ever really spoken about, except within your social circle? Does everyone worry about this at the same level as I do? I wish it hadn’t consumed so much of my mind space during this time I have had off with our Babe, but I am sad to say it has.
I worry about a lot. A lot of the time. And this particular internal angst has a few different directions, it starts with, how O will find nursery? How I will find nursery? What if she doesn’t like it? How will we juggle everything? What will I miss of Ottilie’s development? How will we get up and out on time with a baby, drop her off and get to work? – Let’s face it we just get up when we get up currently and sometimes, even a year in, still don’t get out of the house until gone midday!
Then the thought process changes. Do I actually need to go back now? What if I didn’t go back? How would we cope? Could we afford to live, pay bills etc. But what about all the other stuff? Then I change direction again. I think about what else may happen in our future. We want to move house, when – will depend on schooling and that seems miles away. But when I think how quickly this last 12 months has gone, I’m sure it’s just around the corner. We want to have another baby, and god knows IVF costs more than just a few pennies. We want to be able to take O on family holidays to make memories that will stay with her forever as my childhood memories do.
And then there is breastfeeding. We are 12 months in with no signs of stopping. It has been the most amazing journey and I don’t want it to end. But how will that even work if I am at work and O is at Nursery? This is one of my biggest worries as I don’t want to force O to stop feeding before she is ready to. Just add that to the list of worries.I am on this constant state of what if’s and it is exhausting.
Otti’s birthday was last week. The only reminders are the collapsed pile of ceiling hangers and some left over cake, which although amazing on the day, is definitely on the wrong side of great now. The day itself, was a lovely celebration with all of our best people. The emotions seemed to be far stronger in the lead up as opposed to the aftermath which is a bit of a relief.
I will always be a worrier. I will always have a list of ‘what if’s’ looming in the background and occasionally they take over and take up too much of my time. However I think as a mother, the pressure to have everything just so and to be on top of it all is enormous. And I know I do this to myself. I am sure that everything will work itself out eventually, says my rational mind but sometimes that’s easier said than done. For now, I want to let myself enjoy the last few weeks with our Babe, savouring every second – even those 3am wake-ups!
Whatever happens, if it isn’t right for our family, then we can always change it up – I need to remember that. Right now though I’m off to give my girls a squeeze and maybe go out and play in snow!