I’m wrapping up my maternity leave this week. Monday marks my return to the working world for the first time since December 21st. In that time I’ve gone from a mom of a toddler boy to a mom of a baby girl and a potty-trained, pre-school boy. I’ve changed in more ways that I can even imagine. This time away from work and with my children has been nothing short of a blessing.
The other day as I was driving to my hair appointment, I started really thinking about my return to work. Thinking about how hard it will be to hand my baby girl over to someone else for the day. How hard it will be to not be with Aric all day and hear his hilarious words.
But my eyes didn’t begin to well up until I thought about WHO will be taking my children. We’ve been with our daycare provider for three years now. She’s had Aric since he was Abby’s age. She took us back with open arms when Tim’s unemployment ended. She’s made compromises for us to make daycare even the tiniest bit more affordable. She loves Aric as though he’s family, and we love her as though she’s family.
At the same time, I’m excited. I met with my boss a couple weeks ago to make some tentative plans for some upcoming changes. There are good things happening at my work, and great new opportunities for me. I’m looking forward to catching up with my friends and co-workers and having adult conversations. I’m excited to start using my brain for new activities.
And I’m nervous. I’m paranoid that once I start working my milk supply will plummet and all the hard work I put into breastfeeding Abby will be down the drain. I’m worried that she won’t eat anything while at daycare, preferring to take from only me which will result in late night feedings which I’m hoping are (mostly) a thing of the past at this point.
I’m grateful. My boss has been amazing and I have a new work schedule that allows me to be done working at 3pm every day. I will be able to have almost an entire afternoon every day with my children. I will sacrifice an hour of sleep in the mornings for that time with them.
But above all these emotions I’m feeling right now, the most prominent is contentment. I am happy. I am pleased with exactly where my life is. At lunch with my mom the other day she complimented me on the rather brightly colored sweater I had on, then said, “You know something, this is the happiest and most content I’ve ever seen you.” My sister responded by saying “At least since before you were a cranky pregnant lady!” and my mom said, “No. Probably ever.”
I don’t know if “ever” is the right word, but yes, for the first time in a VERY long time I feel … normal. The emotions I’m feeling right now, the excited, the scared, the happy, the anxious, they are all REAL emotions. They aren’t something I’m trying to convince myself that I’m feeling or that I’m telling myself I’m supposed to feel. They are real. I am feeling them. And it’s amazing.
Up until about a month ago, I was preparing for the day that I’d start to slip back into the dark hole, back into that awful time that was my depression. But even as these winter months have DRAGGED on, I’ve been able to see the light. I’ve been able to remain positive and outside of the hole. I mean, shoot, I’m not even dancing around the hole. It’s something so far from me that it’s not even a factor in my life right now. So about a month ago, I stopped waiting for that depression to begin. I stopped tiptoeing over my feelings just in case something might trigger something else. I just … am.
I don’t know if having Abby reset my buttons or if it was just my time to heal. Either way, I’m so very grateful for this time off to focus on my babies and me. As nervous and sad as I am to take this next step in our lives, I’m so very ready for it.
I’m likely never again going to have time off like this (as we’re done with the baby-having) and I made sure to enjoy every single second of this time. Yes there were hard moments, like when Abby wouldn’t stop crying or when Aric just won’t listen, but overall, we’ve all had a great time together. I’m excited for my first day home from work with my babies when we don’t have childcare