And so, with a bunch of flowers and a ‘cheerio’ I started my maternity leave for the second time in my life. It certainly felt different from before. I’m 31 weeks pregnant this time whereas, last time, I worked until I was 37 weeks, mainly because I’d only been in my job for six weeks when I got pregnant (#modelemployee) and felt I had to prove that pregnancy wouldn’t affect me. This time, I decided I had nothing to prove.
I know they say pregnancy isn’t an illness but, if you looked up the symptoms, which for me include vomiting, constipation (it’s important we feel comfortable discussing these things straight away), dizziness, nosebleeds, insomnia, anaemia and lower back pain, you’d get some pretty nasty results -and a recommendation to rest.
So that’s exactly what I’m planning to do. Rest.
If this baby does as he’s told (which is unlikely if his sister is anything to go by), then I should have two months to wallow in my increasing girth. It’s also my time to prepare, something I didn’t really do with my first. Of course I was prepared with sleepsuits and muslins and a freshly-decorated nursery, but emotionally I wasn’t. Perhaps you can’t with your first. Perhaps I can’t this time either but I can try because I don’t need to just prepare for the sleepless nights and the seemingly endless crying and the monotony of caring for a newborn, but I – we – also need to prepare for becoming a family of four.
For three and a half years it’s been just the three of us. We’ve got into our groove, we know each other’s moods, we know when we need a cuddle or a good talking to. But now we’re going to bring a fourth person into the mix. Someone we’ll love but that ultimately we don’t know yet. Someone that will disrupt our well-worn routines with needs of his own. And, of course, it will be wonderful and bring unknown joy into all our lives (apart from the cat’s probably). But it is daunting. For all of us – but especially for my daughter. My daughter who has so far embraced the idea of being a big sister but who, last week, when she was tired, sobbed, ‘I don’t want to be a big sister anymore’.
You are a big sister and always will be and the countdown is on to the moment your baby brother arrives and our little family will expand to greet him.