Tag: Maternity leave

Return to employment!

Well it has been a busy couple of days!

I have written before (albeit in deliberately vague terms) about how I had to leave my previous job whilst on maternity leave.  Not only was this an incredibly stressful process in itself (due to a potential legal battle) but I was left in a panic about what it meant for my long term career prospects.

As I am now 18 weeks pregnant and live in the middle of nowhere, I have been extremely restricted in the roles that I can go for.  Having gone for a few interim roles with no success (unless you count the role that would have required a 5 hour daily commute…), my morale has been quite low.  I’ve been making lemonade out of the lemons and have been focussing on the extra quality time that I’ve been given with Baby Flat (which beats any amount of money!), but I have been concerned about my career and financial stability in the long term.

Anyway, as the world works in mysterious ways, on Friday I received a phone call at 3:15pm asking me to have a phone interview for a massive company at 4pm that day as they needed some immediate interim support.

Shit.

After a manic hour frantically researching the company and getting interview ready, I had the interview and was told I would hear back early this week.  Cue: very anxious weekend trying to make provisional ‘plans’ for if I got the job, whilst trying not to get too invested.

As the hours passed by yesterday, I assumed it was a no-go and prepared myself for the ‘thank you but no thanks’ call.  As I had just talked myself out of everything, at the 11th hour I got the call and found out that I had got the job!

Before I knew it I was filling in all the new starter information and on an 8:30pm call being briefed on the project.  I start next Tuesday (a year to the day since I went on maternity leave) and the project could last anything from a month to three months+.

Although I am excited for this new opportunity, and it is the type of role I have been trying to get for a while, I am also terrified of how I am going to juggle it all.  Mostly I am worried about Baby Flat and how he will cope with suddenly spending long hours in nursery.  We have had to settle for a nursery I am not 100% happy with, due to the short notice and the location of my new job, which will make leaving him behind each day even harder.  The nursery is fine, but they just don’t seem very enthusiastic or clued up or helpful.  Maybe I am asking too much? Maybe it is just general ‘Mother Anxiety’.  I guess all I can do is see how the next few weeks pan out and hope the everything fits into place…

Eeeeeeeek!

x x x

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Life at the 6 month point

I will start off by apologising for not being better at keeping up with everyone’s blogs.  I’ve been trying to keep track of where everyone is at and what’s going on, but I’m finding it harder to read every single post.  Pre-baby I would often read the blogs on my long commute home, but (thankfully) I’m not having to do that at the moment.

So as an update, things are going really well for me and Baby Flat, who just celebrated his 6 month birthday.  He is a cheeky little boy and we all absolutely adore him.  Unlike his grumpy mother, he’s a smily happy little boy who seems almost permanently chilled out.

I absolutely love motherhood and never stop feeling grateful that I’m getting to experience this. Even at its hardest (and yes, however grateful I am, I don’t have a grin on my face during the 2am feeds!), it’s still a million times easier than dealing with fertility problems and the fear that we would never become parents.  I often find it quite hard to relate to all the other NCT mums who never stop complaining about every minor problem.  I feel like I don’t really fit in, as I don’t particularly find motherhood hard (or more specifically, I don’t sweat the tiny inconveniences of parenthood) and so I have no desire to complain about any of it and equally I don’t want to be flaunting everything on social media under the #maternityleave and #mummylife hashtags, as if I always had some automatic right to those things.

I also find it hard that the NCT girls are all talking about their second children and what age gap they want.  It makes me want to scream.  With the exception of one girl (who is generally a lovely person and who had a miscarriage with her first pregnancy so gets that things aren’t always straightforward), they are all so confident that it will happen when they want it to.  They’re planning to time things to coincide with school holidays and pay rises and one has even said the only reason she’s not trying anytime soon is because she wants to drink next Christmas and so they’ve “decided to conceive” in January instead.

As it happens, BT and I have started trying for a second baby.  We thought long and hard about whether to leave it until Baby Flat was 12 months old, to allow me longer to recover from the horrific c section.  Our hearts were saying to try fairly quickly after Baby Flat was born while our heads were saying to wait a year.  In the end, after researching the potential risks of having a second baby quickly after Baby Flat, we decided to crack on because:

  1. the danger to mother and child doesn’t dramatically decrease after 12 months.  Although the risk is less when conception happens 12 months after the c section than 6 months after, there isn’t a huge difference (especially if you don’t attempt a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean));
  2. we struggled first time around and it took several years before we successfully conceived.  Since then, we are (almost) two years older, I had a c section which considerably damaged my uterus, I have mostly been breastfeeding Baby Flat…in all honesty, what are the chances we’ll now suddenly have a quick conception?! (yes, I know I know…so many stories about the couple who thought they couldn’t have kids then went on to have 10…blah blah blah);
  3. even if we do successfully conceive, that doesn’t necessarily mean we will have a successful pregnancy and birth.  We were incredibly lucky with Baby Flat (apart from the horror of the delivery and what could have been), but so many people aren’t that lucky and I don’t think it’s right to assume that getting a BFP would be the only hurdle!; and
  4. if we are unable to have a second child, we would always wonder whether we could have conceived in the 6-12 months after Baby Flat was born.  At least this way we can’t have any regrets about “leaving things too late”.

It’s a funny old position TTC#2.  In a way there’s none of the magic and excitement of the first few months of TTC#1, because neither of us really believe it will happen quickly.  We also know exactly where I am in my cycle, when to time DTD, how often we should DTD, that I have poor eggs, that BT has poor sperm and that I have a short luteal phase…basically all the things we learned over several years of TTC#1!!

In a way if feels like we’re picking up where we left off just over a year ago.

But then it’s also so very different.  There’s no symptom spotting or rearranging schedules to make sure we can DTD around ovulation or disappointment when my period comes.  There just isn’t any of the anxiety and fear and heartbreak.  I imagine that in two or three years, if things haven’t happened, we will feel quite down.  But I can’t imagine it will ever come close to what we felt before.  Yes, we will always be a little bit sad if we can’t give Baby Flat a sibling.  But that’s all it will be: a little bit sad.  I just don’t see how it can compare to the fear we had before, or what so many of our friends who are struggling with primary infertility are going through.

First time around I got a lot of support from some friends I met on Mumsnet, who I am still friends with today.  This time there just isn’t really anywhere to go to chat.  As I found when TTC#1, most people want a baby and then it seems to just happen straight away.  Any threads about having a baby stop before they have even started, because everyone falls pregnant straight away.  Then there are also plenty of threads about secondary infertility, but these also aren’t appropriate.  Firstly, we’re not even at that stage yet.  Secondly, I just can’t stomach the chat about how “this is so hard for [us] because [we] conceived DC1/DC2 straight away, so this waiting is total hell”.  I mean, really? I am so sorry that you conceived your previous children so easily. (To have a total vent, I even saw one person who already has EIGHT children between her and her new partner and was complaining that they couldn’t have a baby together!).

So as well as looking after Baby Flat and TTC#2, I have also been job hunting and slowly getting back into exercise.  I’m completely undecided about what to do job-wise: if I leave now I have to pay back all my enhanced maternity pay, which isn’t a life-changing amount but would be a struggle to find.  Also I really don’t want to give them anything after the way they treated me (and will continue to treat me if I return).  That said, I can’t put a price on my health and to never have to see those idiots again and another job may also allow me to spend more time with Baby Flat.

As for exercise, I now feel mostly ok after the c section, although the bottom half of my tummy is still completely numb and I sometimes feel like I’m ‘ripping’ when I move.  I am trying to do a little bit of gentle exercise when I can.  It is a huge challenge and I am certainly not ‘bouncing back’ from pregnancy! The weight is still lingering (I’ve lost 2 and a half stone and have at least another 2 to go) and all my joints ache and my muscles don’t work.  It’s tough, but I am trying! Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that…

To try to motivate me and spur me on I have signed up to run the Great North Run this September.  This is the biggest half marathon in the world and is usually a load of fun.  I’m incredibly nervous this year though, so it really will be a huge challenge. I’ve decided to run for Tommy’s, which is a UK charity which (amongst other things) funds research into the causes and prevention of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.  So many of my friends, both in real life and on blogs, have suffered miscarriage and stillbirth.  Close members of my family have also had repeated miscarriages and BT’s cousin had a stillbirth only a few months before Baby Flat arrived.  It’s just unbearable and I don’t understand why something that is so common, yet which causes so much heartache and distress, isn’t talked about and researched more.

So this is where I am at! Feeling very happy and content and lucky.  I probably won’t update an awful lot from now on, as there isn’t much to say that hasn’t been plastered over every single ‘mummy blog’ out there, but I will keep trying to read your blogs and comment when I can (apologies if this ends up being three months after you post!!).

x x x