I read heaps of books when I was pregnant. I re-read them again in the months after Adelyn was born. I Googled things to prepare for what changes to expect. I remembered things from TV shows (for the record, Catastrophe has been pretty accurate in terms of tone). I had a vision of how I’d spend Maternity Leave and as it draws to a close, I had a little look back at how that panned out…
EXPECTATION: A whole year to get down the gym to regain and then surpass my pre-pregnancy physique.
REALITY: have not stepped foot in a gym. Went to a swimming pool a bunch of times though but holding a baby in the water doesn’t really get the ol’ heart pumping.
EXPECTATION: Worrying about not being able to produce enough milk and stocking up on foodstuff to help with milk production.
REALITY: Surprisingly leaky. Had to read up on how to reduce milk production as I ended up having the opposite issue (which I had no idea could happen) where I had a little TOO much milk going on.
EXPECTATION: Whole days spent soaking up culture in the V&A/Natural History/Science Museum.
REALITY: The thought of trying to get Adelyn up London and then across it by Tube and walking around and carrying stuff and…do you see where I’m going with this? It’s logistically exhausting trying to plan it let alone execute on it. And what if she has a crabby day and doesn’t want to sit in her pram? Or won’t nap? Or won’t eat? Or won’t stop eating and I run out of food?
EXPECTATION: Chatting and Knitting with Yummy Mummy groups in local cafes and baby groups.
REALITY: Finding that my local playgroups were oddly cliquey amongst the mothers so only attend them occasionally. Spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to distract Adelyn to steer her clear of the snot-streaming babies.
EXPECTATION: Plenty of free time to travel the world and not have to rush to get back home because you’re on Maternity Leave for a whole year yay!
REALITY: The most f**king stressful experience I’ve had. Going away is not a holiday any more. It is an inconvenience and a chore and exactly the same routine as being at home only you have none of the comforts of being at home and a crabby, probably ill baby. And you’re paying for it!
EXPECTATION: Being too tired/baby-focused to get dressed/wash/brush hair.
REALITY: Even when trying to avoid touching or looking at my C-Section wound in the early weeks and not really knowing what time it was any more, I always maintained personal hygiene. The only thing that changed is my love of elasticated pants to the point that my Mum expressed surprise that “oh wow you’re wearing actual bottoms for once”.
EXPECTATION: Being adamant that we would not become a household drowning in baby things.
REALITY: I have bubbles, wet wipes, a baby nail clipper, two sets of baby slippers, the baby Elf hat, a baby sock (just one) and a baby cardigan all within arms length from the computer chair.
EXPECTATION: That I’d have the time to pick up new crafting hobbies/finish old projects.
REALITY: There is a cross-stitch tapestry that I have had since before we even got married that is still sitting next to the sofa in it’s bag, untouched since I was pregnant. I have not picked up a crochet or knitting needle since the birth because solid pointy things are not baby-friendly and also because when I do get time to myself, I’m generally dozing. Or writing things like this when I should probably actually be sleeping.
EXPECTATION: That I’d quite like being a Mum.
REALITY: I F**KING LOVE IT 🙂