With my return to work looming, I’ve been thinking back over my maternity leave. Never before in my life have I had such an eventful nine months. From uncomfortable attempts to ‘walk (or limp) the baby out’ (she was 10 days overdue) to being admitted after a routine examination without my hospital bag but full of nervous excitement. Then the euphoria on 2nd March, introducing Scrip to her loving family, nervously driving her home for the first time in the dark then a series of firsts, mostly good but some scary: first smile, chuckle, weekend away, trip to A&E, spoonful of baby rice etc.
It sounds like a cliche (or a bad country song) but we’ve come so far. I clearly remember how terrified I was after those foggy few weeks of paternity leave when I realised it was now time to do it all, every day, on my own. A teary goodbye to my husband at 8am one morning and that was it – Scrip and I were going it alone. My poor sister even had to take some time off work to make sure I didn’t implode. And now, just a few months later, I think nothing of slinging a bag full of nappies in the boot, popping the baby in the car and heading off into the great unknown (aka Kent, to see the in-laws).
Although I love Scrip more than ever now – it’s true what people say about falling in love with your baby – I can honestly say my mat leave certainly hasn’t all been plain sailing. There have been moments of despair, of total exhaustion and of numerous tears on both sides. And I won’t forget them.
But, scattered in amongst them and increasingly as time has gone on, there have been amazing, blissful moments – and this is how I’m going to remember my time off and her first eight months. My best bits. Some as mundane as they come, but all really special. Like picnics a deux in the sunshine; her ‘catching’ a ball for the first time; her waving to friendly passers-by; swimming every week together; her delight and intrigue at seeing pigeons; walking up to Holland Park on Friday mornings; her suddenly laughing along when I do; her first shopping trip sitting in the trolley, pulling things off the shelf; the first trip to the sea, dipping her feet in the water; her first lunch out sitting in a highchair. Moments I won’t be able to re-live but I will always cherish – my own personal VT.