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!
This section will all be focused on being pregnant, discovering motherhood and baby bits!