All these things that I’ve done – Reflections on maternity leave

I am aware that in recent months I have kind of turned this into more of a photography blog. These things do just evolve to some extent and this blog has taken on various incarnations in the past 4 years. I hope to get into doing more race re-caps and training updates as running is something that is a really positive constant for me. Truth is, I also find it difficult to chat about stuff that isn’t upbeat or funny stories about cute pictures of the boys. I know the more real stuff sounds whiny and self pitying and desperately seeking attention and reassurance, so I made a bit of a decision a few months ago not to go there any more and just to stick to the glossy images with some commentary. Rest assured then that this reflective stuff won’t come around too often!

My maternity leave has now drawn to a close and I am heading back to work so I am looking back on this phase of my life and seeing what I have learned in the process. These are my main thoughts:

Time is incredibly fluid and deceptive

In some ways the past year feels like it has flown by in the blink of an eye. In other ways some things seem to have been going on for a long time. It feels like an eternity ago that Luke didn’t eat solid food, for example. Pregnancy feels like another lifetime. When I see a newborn I struggle to remember Luke being that size. That makes me sad. I have a real problem with just enjoying the present. My time away from the workplace has been blighted by the fear of knowing I will return!

What happened to those wonderful adventures, the places I had planned for us to go?

I didn’t fit in all the things I wanted. I didn’t savour the experience as I should have done. I kept to myself most of this leave and didn’t get Luke out and about with other babies enough.

My body ain’t much cut out for motherhood

I have really struggled to fully recover in the post-partum period. Body shape wise, things have changed, aches and pains still remain. I have aged about 5 years in the past year. Most distressingly I am suffering really badly with hair loss issues. This is having a big impact on my self esteem and it doesn’t seem to be settling down yet. I have also struggled with pnd and post natal ocd. I wrote about my experience of this for PANDAS (Pre and Post Natal Depression Advice and Support) and if you’re interested, you can read about this here: Post natal depression and me. Things are definitely improving in this regard, but I have no idea how my return to work will go in terms of whether my coping mechanisms will work.

I am at a crossroads

It feels like I am entering a new phase. I don’t feel like I can go back to the way my life was before Luke. I need to address my work/life balance and make some changes. Maybe even big changes. I don’t want to never be around for everyday things with the boys. I absolutely don’t want to feel like I am close to melt down as I try to get the three of us ready and out the door by 7.45am four days a week. I’m not sure if I can take it long term. My family is now complete and that is a nice feeling. I just need to sort out my own direction. I definitely want to do more focused running and take part in more races. I’m not quite sure yet how I will fit this in, but I know I want to make the time because I know it really helps me. In two weeks time I will be taking part in Michael’s Movers 10 mile race round Cumbrae . This is going to be my way of marking Luke’s birthday this year. I want to do something positive on what might be a difficult time.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness….

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SAM_2747

I wouldn’t change my Lukester for the world. I haven’t had a great year and I know I have challenging times ahead. There will always be darkness and light, but fortunately I have another half who will always be there to hold a candle for me in the darker times.

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