The transition from 'Mum' to 'Mum + teacher'

Motherhood so far has been full of milestones I never even imagined to exist. Everything has become a sort of checkpoint, if you will, confirming progress in many aspects. The months just passed feel as though they have gone too fast, as the cliches had all suggested they would. This is not to say that they haven't been some of the toughest months of my life but despite their somewhat savage, sleepless nature, they have been the most amazing months of my life.

When I decided it was 'time', I fully braced myself for the fact that I was likely to find it difficult to be a Mum and to be a teacher. All of my concerns revolved around how I would balance my workload or cope with the hours or deal with the changes in bedtime and so on and so forth. Nevertheless, I knew it was time to put these concerns into a pot and cross the bridge when we reach it and I knew there would never be a time more 'right' than this. I knew I wanted a baby and all they came with. I feel incredibly blessed to have fallen pregnant with such ease and thank God for it with every inch of me.

Being pregnant and a teacher was tough going but I counted more of my blessings when my pregnancy was so wonderful. No morning sickness or anything to speak of. Just a glorious bump and lots of swelling but hey, making a human is never going to be short of challenge and going up a shoe size was not the worst that could happen by any means.

Baby Squish joined us in the summer. What a beautiful day and the most beautiful boy I had ever set my eyes on. And he was mine. Ours. Gosh. Months pass by so quickly, as I blabbed about earlier. So soon it was time for me to begin to think about my return to work. Except this time my concerns were all of what I had thought about before but so much more. Now that I had this beautiful boy, I didn't want to leave him. I couldn't cope with thoughts of not seeing or hearing or holding him all day. I tortured myself with how he would forget me and wouldn't love me or how he would hate me as an adult because I had left him to go to work. I was resentful of how I had to leave my own child at home to go and contribute to the life of others'. Put simply, I wasn't sure that I had any desire to.

It has been such a battle to convince myself that all I have worked for in life is now laid out in front of me and the choices are all mine. I have always firmly believed that I would want my child to grow up seeing me work and be ambitious of how they can change the lives of others. I've had to work so hard to remind myself that I am still me and that I am strong enough to do all of it.

It makes me so sad that this isn't a topic that is spoken about nearly enough. Women are expected to just 'get on with it' as though it is completely minor to have gone through the tremendous experience of growing a human, expelling them from our bodies, feeling a love that is inexplicable, going through changes in our bodies and our mental states and then having to leave said human to go back to the stresses of work life whilst still walking the tightrope that is motherhood. A mouthful just saying it, isn't it? Now imagine living it. I have so much respect for my husband who returned to work 2 weeks after Squish was born and I am always in awe of how he has handled this as a father but I can never expect him to fully feel what the hormonal changes did to me as a person and how it felt being me in that moment. Well let me tell ya, it is not minor. It's pretty much as major as major can get where work-life is concerned. Ladies returning to work after mat leave, I commend you on your strength. Ladies able to make the choice of not returning to work after mat leave, I (slightly envy you but) respect you equally.

Having returned I have obtained the following gems of knowledge, amongst many others;

- it's OK to be really upset about it but you do get past being upset and that is also OK
- my baby is absolutely fine without me because I trust he's loved and nourished by who he is left with
- he is still happy to see me when I return and I cherish every moment even more now
- it is now easier to see work as a means to live and not see life as a means to work

I suppose my main reason for voicing this in a post was that I never want my son to think that working full time was a choice I made lightly and that leaving him at home was, in any way, easy. It's been incredibly challenging to cope with the anxieties around all of it.

To anybody who may be experiencing the same anxieties...Know that you are never alone in feeling these things and that any negative emotion is always temporary. This, like many other things before it and many others that will undoubtedly occur after it, will pass. Women are amazing to be able to face and deal with these things and the resilience of a woman should never be under-celebrated.



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