I am coming to the end of my maternity leave with mixed feelings and feel it might be a good idea to write down where this year has taken me to remind myself how LUCKY I have been to have the opportunity to take a full year (and a bit extra) of maternity leave before I embark on my next chapter as a working mama!
I finished up at my job (at a fashion recruitment agency) in November 2017 and managed to have almost 5 weeks of boxsets, naps, netflix, tea + cake dates, christmas shopping and pretty much doing nothing until Enzio’s arrival on Thursday 7th December.
The early days of motherhood are a complete blur to me now, I struggle to remember so many details and I wish I had treasured each day rather than wishing those long nights away. For what was a really happy exciting time soon turned to an incredibly tough and emotional time as we sadly lost my boyfriends dad very suddenly exactly one week after Enzio was born. He was with us a few hours before he passed away and I wish so much I had taken a photo of him holding Enzio but you never think something like that will happen. What was supposed to be a wonderful christmas with our new baby just turned into weeks of sadness, disbelief and grief while I desperately tried to navigate through the first few weeks of motherhood and recovering from a c-section whilst wanting to be there for my boyfriend who within a week had become a father himself and then suddenly lost his own father. I now look back and know he held out to meet his grandson and feel really lucky that he did get to meet Enzio and try and look at what happened in a positive light. *Talking of photos, I still don’t have ONE photo of me, Nath and Enz all together!
I took things slow after that, recovering at home, sleeping when the baby slept and just took things slow until I felt ready to go out on walks, ready to drive etc. I’ll never forget the first time trying to leave the house, it felt like the impossible task EVER. I started to love our daily walks, discovering podcasts, being at home – cleaning, cooking, washing and keeping on top of the house. We went to baby yoga, met friends for coffee, went on shopping trips – I was loving maternity leave life!
I also made it my mantra that every day I would do something for myself and it’s something I have really stuck to. I started planning days out by myself to try and get back to feeling like me again and it’s massively helped with the balance of being a mama and being an individual. I’ve taken myself to countless mums the word events (sometimes with the baby, sometimes alone). They’ve opened me up to a whole new world of women and I’ve made some really great friends this year.
The summer took us to Eastbourne, Baby Raves, Brighton, spending sunny afternoons in pub gardens drinking pimms, bbq’s in the garden, paddling pool days, family trips to cornwall, a holiday to Spain, a roadtrip to Italy, picnics in the park, hen dos, weddings, more beach trips, visits to farms, soft play dates, nights out with my insta mama friends, three of my best friends also becoming mamas, pumpkin picking, halloween parties and everything in between. Without a doubt, the BEST summer yet!
I trained as a Hypnobirthing Teacher and have launched my own business – The Hypnobirthing Babe. I became an MVP for Peanut, an app that connects you to likeminded mamas in your area. I finally got my head round going back to work in London only to be told two weeks before I was due to go back that I was being made redundant and the whole business was closing. Luckily for me, the stars aligned and I quickly secured a local job that really feels perfect for me.
Naturally I feel anxious and excited about going back to work but what adds to the anxiety is starting a completely new job, completely different set up, juggling the logistics etc so I am so ready to start and end my maternity leave on a high, embracing what’s to come in the year ahead.
WHAT A YEAR. I have to remind myself how lucky I have been to experience such an incredible year, spent with the best bunch of girls (old friends and new) and all the memories I have made along the way.
If you are just starting out on maternity leave, my advice is to find magic in every single day – even when you are SO sleep deprived. If you don’t feel like going out, don’t do it, listen to your body and do what feels right. Be open to meeting new people, venture to places you wouldn’t usually go to. Find your tribe! Attend events, push yourself out of your comfort zone. Do something for you every day and just enjoy every single day because it will be over before you know it!
Here’s to the next chapter, wish me luck.
PEACE, LOVE + COCONUTS.