Well, that's it! I had my final day of work yesterday and I am now officially on Maternity Leave! Think the reality of that will take a little while to sink in.. the thought of getting to lie in everyday as I no longer have to set my alarm for 5am! Being a Personal Trainer I pretty much always start at 6:30am with a client and have done for the past 2 years! Soon I will have a mini human alarm clock, and god knows when or how often that will be going off!!
I think I chose the right time to finish work for me personally. I am 37 weeks & 1 day today! (so 20 days to go - maybe less, hopefully not more!!) and I think it's finally hit me and I do feel realllyyyy pregnant now. This sudden heatwave we've had in England, which is gorgeous and way better then rain/cold don't get me wrong, but it has made my last week at work a lot harder. I've been incredibly lethargic from the heat, my feet have been hot, swollen and sweaty in my trainers, tight leggings have become ridiculously uncomfortable as all I've wanted is to wear loose floaty dresses, and every movement has taken double the amount of effort! So for me, it was definitely time to call it a day! It's been the weirdest feeling the countdown to Maternity Leave.. the only way I can describe it is, it's felt like I was back in school, and it's been a long countdown to the summer holidays!! As lets be honest, other than a weeks holiday here or there, you don't get a massive chunk of time off work in adult life!! There are bills to pay and you have to put food on the table etc... I have to admit I did have a moments panic last week if I was doing the right thing. As there is no way of knowing an EXACT date baby could arrive, I was worried it would go one of two ways.. either I'd finish work, go straight into labour and be exhausted as I hadn't had any time off to myself to relax and nest! OR.. I'd finish work, be super unlucky and end up going to 42 weeks, which means I'd loose my mind having too much time at home, be bored of relaxing and nesting and getting frustrated as to why babies not here yet!?! But given how much I've struggled this week, I do think I have made the best decision for me, now it's just a waiting game as to when baby decides to turn up!
One thing I've learnt is that it should be completely up to you when to decide enough is enough! If you have the energy and feel like you can keep going right up till you're waters break.. then go for it!! Don't let anyone dictate or pressure you as to what you "should" or "shouldn't" be doing in pregnancy. Because my bump has been very big from very early on, I do feel like people have expected me to finish work sooner and be struggling or need help lifting everything etc. No, I am fine! And if I'm not, then I will ask for help! I'm not just putting on a brave face for the sake of it! It's only now that I feel I need to stop. The same goes for the ladies that do have it harder and are struggling to get through day to day tasks, don't feel like you have something to prove because another lady is easily gliding through pregnancy and carrying on as if everything is normal. You stop when you need to stop. Listen to your body! It's normally trying to tell you something if you're in pain or feel unwell!
It also applies as to how long you have off for Maternity Leave! Everyone is different, and everyone will feel ready at different stages. Some mums return within weeks or even days! Some mums take the full year. And some mums decide to never come back! Whatever you decide, you do it because it's what is right for you, your baby and your family!
I am planning on having around 6 months off and returning to work in the new year. As Josh is a personal trainer also, he will be taking care of my clients while I'm away. I know I am very lucky being self employed that I can be flexible with my work schedule when I return, I admit I have no idea how Mat Leave works for people who aren't self employed, and can't imagine what it must be like to go from being off with your baby 24/7 to then be back 9-5 Monday-Friday!! Sounds like 0-100! But being so flexible and working odd hours, when I do return childcare won't be an issue and I haven't got to desperately find a good nursery before I've even popped our baba out!! I have said to my clients I may decide to return sooner, if I feel like I need a few hours to myself or get tired being stuck at home with the baby! That doesn't make me or anyone else a bad mother wanting to return sooner (of course I'm not "bored" of my baby). At the other end of the scale I may find it really hard to return to work, and get separation anxiety from my baby! You really just don't know till you get there! Your situation may even be that the dads stay at home and you go back to work right away, and if you're a single mum for whatever reason, again you do what's right for you and your baby!
I'm planning on doing a "Part 2" of this topic, once I have had our baby girl and reflecting on how I am feeling as I go back to work! Think it will be really interesting to see if my thoughts/feelings have changed or if I have returned back sooner, or potentially even needed longer!
Anyway, for me now, its time to relax and rest in the sunshine (while it lasts), before baby arrives and I take on the best full-time job EVER of being a mummy!!!!! I'm starting to hint to my body that I'm ready by going on walks everyday to get Baby going! Whether or not this helps we'll find out. Guess baby's gonna come when baby wants to come!! Fingers crossed I won't be waiting too much longer though! Would love to hear your thoughts and feelings as always, comment below or contact me via the social page!
Over the weekend, Josh and I gathered both sides of our family together for our version of a baby shower... and called it our 'Baby Brunch!' The day completely exceeded all expectations and was filled with so much love and laughter, I was a bit of a hormonal emotional mess as I was just so happy!
I had decided from the moment I knew I was pregnant that I didn't want a typical baby shower. Stereotypically, it's the closest female friends and family of the 'mummy-to-be' that plans the day and gets all the women together to celebrate – so a pretty girly do! With the 'daddy-to-be' gate crashing a bit later on in the day during presents etc. Personally, it all sounds a bit cheesy and very Americanised to me.. as I know from talking to older generations that in the UK we just didn't really have baby showers and it has only really come across from the US and taken off recently!
For me, this typical 'girly shower' just wasn't going to work. For a start my best friend is currently in the Caribbean working till July, so to say I had my closest friends there would be a lie! Plus I'd want her to plan it! So that wouldn't have worked. Secondly, Josh and I have a lot of “couple friends”, and we just wouldn't invite one and not the other... so the typical girly day again just wouldn't work for us. So I saw this as my opportunity to make it a family affair and get both sides of our families together to celebrate! Neither Josh or I have large families, so it wasn't going to be a crazy big family reunion with hundreds of second-cousins once removed and all that complicated rubbish!! Just our nearest and dearest who are most important to us and therefore will be most important to our baby!! Just want to point out.. No offense what so ever to anyone who wants or has had a typical 'women-only' baby shower! If it works for you then great, but due to the reasons stated above it just wasn't going to work for me!!
After food we all headed back to our house for lots of prosecco (pretend non-alcoholic fizz for me!) and we were completely and utterly spoilt with gorgeous gifts for our baby girl! I never expected gifts really, my priority was just getting all the family together! Every single gift was so thoughtful and gorgeous! I was on a total hormonal overload and I teetered on the verge of tears literally opening every present. Then right at the end, sitting there looking at everything I just let the tears roll and cried with happiness! Which then resulted in everyone else in the room crying.. what an emotional soppy family we all are – ha!! We then all sat in the garden to make the most of the sunny weather, chatting away, over yet more drinks and a few sandwich nibbles!! My amazing and talented mummy, had even made me a gluten-free, beautiful cake for the day! She always made us the most incredible cakes when we were little for our birthdays, so it was no surprise when she rocked up a perfect shop-like cake!! It was almost too pretty to eat! (Thank you mummy!)
The day was just what I wanted.. actually it was better!! Everyone kept saying how much they really enjoyed themselves, which made it feel even more amazing! I have to admit... although my main priority was just getting the family together to celebrate us bringing a new family member into the world, I do feel like I had a proper baby shower!
Once our little one is born, we do plan on having a garden party to celebrate her arrival, but this time will be a friends only event to make up for the fact we made our Baby Brunch family only! So all our friends and their kids can come along, I guess we really got the best of both worlds here! Aren't you lucky my little tummy monster.. you're getting TWO parties to celebrate your life!?!
At the end of the day, I believe your baby shower should be whatever you want and whatever works best for you as parents-to-be! Be that a small gathering, or a massive party with hundreds, it's whatever best represents you as a couple with the people who love and care for you the most. Never EVER feel like you have to 'prove' yourself and have a massive party for the sake of society or social media!! It's your special time celebrating that blessing who is sitting in your tummy, kicking away and already loving you for giving them life!
One of the biggest problems for me is there are so many lists out there of recommendations of what to take, and the lists go on, and on, and on, and on! I mean seriously, it's more stuff than I would take on a 2 week holiday?! I'd be walking into hospital with a massive suitcase if I took everything I've seen on some lists! I get that you do need to be prepared and have spares, as labour is just one of those situations where anything could happen. I could have a quick and easy natural birth, or I could end up having an emergency c-section and be in hospital for a few days.. you just don't know! So like I said, I do understand that it's important to be prepared. But nowadays with so many 24 hour shops, if I did suddenly go into labour early, Josh could easily run and pick up anything I didn't have yet or desperately need!
One thing I have made sure of is that I haven't spent a fortune on things that could potentially get ruined... I definitely won't be taking any of my Victoria's Secret lingerie & nightdresses to hospital! So, here is what I have managed to put together so far, and this is just for me this isn't including anything for the babies bag!
(NOTE: not everything is pictured! I'm sure the world doesn't need or want to see my big BIG knickers!!!)
So there we have it.. I'm nearly there! Of course it's not quite 100% all organised and in a bag ready to go! But it's all in a semi-organised pile together, so when the time comes it won't take much to just pop into a bag. I am thinking maybe using a hand luggage sized suitcase to put everything in? Thinking it'll be easier to wheel along then carry and to have a bit more space? I'll probably end up taking in my own blanket and pillow as well for that "home from home" comfort feeling, just to make hospital and the whole experience as easy as possible! Also I'm not planning on getting bits like the food till last minute.. can't be taking old bruised apples with me!
If anyone has any good advice or notices anything super important I've missed, feel free to drop a comment below and let me know! Or you can message me through the social page. And if you're struggling to pack your hospital bag, know that you are not alone! It can all feel very overwhelming!
We're nearly there. Nearly made it. 40 days to go... maybe less? Hopefully not more!!! I'm 34 weeks and 2 days pregnant now, and my god does it feel good to be nearly there! It sounds crazy to anyone who hasn't experienced pregnancy yet, but as warned by many other mummy's, these last few weeks reallyyyyyyy are going slowly compared to the first two trimesters. It's a mixture of emotions. Part of me feels so unbelievably excited and eager to just meet our little baby, to hold her for the first time, to see what her face looks like! And part of me is unbelievably eager because I'm so fed up, so tired, so uncomfortable and just cannot wait to be able to belly flop onto my bed again! Just under 6 weeks out of the 40 weeks it takes to grow and develop a human being, sounds like nothing! But I think until you've been in the position of a heavily pregnant women, you just don't understand how 6 weeks still sounds way too long!
I'm intrigued to know whether I'll miss being pregnant? Yes it has its bad moments, but there are so many beautiful and special feelings. I think the biggest change will be having my stomach back to myself again, with the only movement being the grumble of my stomach if I'm seriously hungry. It's become so normal to have kicks and wiggles happening inside of me, and seeing my belly ripple and bulge in various places! As my friends and family know, I have had constant and a vast amount of movement in my pregnancy.. I don't think my baby actually ever rests?! She obviously takes after Josh and I at being super active! But I can imagine it feeling very surreal not having that sensation any more.. can you get separation anxiety from missing having your baby inside your belly?!
As you can see in my bump growth photo at the top of this blog post, my bump dramatically ballooned from 20 weeks – 28 weeks! It's slowed down now (thankfully), but has started to drop down. Which is amazing as I have my ribs back and don't find myself anywhere near as breathless as I used to be! However, it's also a pain as I now have so much extra pressure on my bladder, I feel like I need the loo virtually every hour! I wish there were some type of x-ray vision glasses you could wear to watch and see what position babies in! (Bit futuristic i know ha!) We've been told she feels like she's head down but not yet engaged, so fingers crossed she's behaving and getting ready!
One thing that has been bugging me recently is when people comment on the size of a ladies bump. Every women is different and there is no set size that you should or shouldn't be. Some women have tiny bumps, some have big bumps, some are high, some are low. Partly to do with where the placenta is sitting, but we are all unique and we will all carry differently. I do feel like I've looked about 9 months pregnant for the past 3 months – my bump is very far forward (as my placentas at the back), and is pretty big considering I am only 5'2” and have a petite frame.. But if one more person tells me I look like I'm going to pop I'm either going to cry or loose it! It doesn't help you get any closer to the finish line, it doesn't help your confidence?! Just don't do it okay.
Rant over, I just truly cannot wait to meet our baby. Although we've been told she's a girl, I'm still paranoid she's going to be a boy.. especially now everyone's bought us pink clothes and bits! Josh keeps telling me to stop winding myself up, but I know I'll properly relax after the 36 week scan – just to double check!! But boy or girl, I don't care, I just cannot wait to hold, kiss and cuddle our baby.
I feel ready. Yes, it's going to be a new experience, totally change our lives, I'll probably make mistakes as I go along and discover what works for my baby and her personality, but I do feel ready. I'm ready to be a mummy. I'm ready to become parents. So 40 days to go...
If you liked this post, want to add anything or want to ask any questions feel free to comment below, or contact me via the social page! Thanks for reading!
This section will all be focused on being pregnant, discovering motherhood and baby bits!