So, I’m officially in my last week of maternity leave. Which is incredibly strange without a baby here. I should be worrying about childcare, all those colds they get in the first days at nursery, and feeling sad about leaving my baby for the whole day for the first time. But this is not how things are.
Even stranger is the fact that I’ve spent one third of maternity leave without a baby. It’s become normality.
One of my worries is that I’ll have less time to think about Maisie. To create little memorials, write to her, look at photos and videos. I don’t do that much of that already, but the busyness of nursery-run-work-dinner-bath-bed on the work days leaves even less time. I tend to feel better after spending some time focusing on Maisie. Thinking about her, doing things in her name, remembering her so that the memories don’t fade. It feels like I’ve spent time mothering her in some way, when usually the daily life of looking after a toddler is so busy.
I think I’ll have to work out ways to make sure I still give her that time, in amongst work life. It should definitely be possible. I think I might bring a Maisie photo with me to work too.
Part of me is looking forward to starting back at work. Regularly seeing the same people, testing my brain and being a little creative. My immediate team are all great (even if much of the team are new), they treat me like a normal person and mention Maisie with ease. It is the wider team I’m slightly more concerned about. Those that I never really knew that well before, that you know enough to say “hello!” to, but not to discuss your deepest emotions. And then there are those that have started working since I’ve been away. The usual conversation about maternity leave/ birth of the baby/lack of sleep is no longer possible. Instead, there can just be silence. Because, what do you say? “Ah, you’re back…” Quite frankly, if I were them, I still wouldn’t know what to say.
There have been a few conversations I’ve had to have in the past few months breaking the news to those that don’t yet know. Those conversations are generally awful. I think I deal with them better than the other person (who wants the ground to swallow them up). Sometimes I’ll cry, but generally my eyes will just get a little teary, and then I’ll move past it. I just try to deliver the worst news possible in a gentle way, and usually quickly move on to “we are doing okay, though, Lowen keeps us busy. We had time to prepare ourselves, she was very sick etc.”
So my plan of attack is to just take each day/difficult conversation as it comes. We’ll all be muddling through, to be honest. But that’s all we can do, muddle through and do the best we can.