Last week of work! This really is happening. I turn 38 on Friday, my official last day at work before maternity leave begins. In medical terms that makes me a ‘geriatric expectant mother’. I kid you not. When I had the fall on the stairs and needed to be monitored over in the maternity, a doctor asked me if some medical students could join the consultation. I was more than happy to oblige but a little shocked when the doctor called the students in, pointed at me and said ‘this is M. She’s one of our geriatric secundigravida’. Yes, that makes me a mother of ‘advanced maternal age’, on her second pregnancy. They could have had that part of the conversation out of my hearing range because it made me feel like my child benefit allowance and pension should be combined.
Will it seem really odd if I delete the search history on my work PC before I leave? Doesn’t it seem like a bit of a creepy move? Pre-pregnancy my Google history would have offered nothing more offensive than ‘what is a logic model’ or ‘walking directions from Heuston to such-and-such’.
Pregnancy, however, has made it a lot more juicy, although embarrassing is probably a better description. Most questions now take the form of ‘is X normal at week 18’, ‘probability of post pregnancy incontinence’ or ‘latest point during labour for an epidural’. You know, just the kind of random stuff that pops into your head while writing a report or being bored by a budget. I think I’m conscious of the fact that there will be a man at my desk until my cover begins a month later and really, I don’t want to scare the pants off him or gross him out. He’s in the pre-kids stage so, in all fairness, I don’t want to be responsible for him booking a vasectomy before his 30th birthday.
I’m so happy to be finishing work but I’m also slightly apprehensive. I really enjoyed my first maternity leave but do have memories of finding some days very long. I like being busy and as I work full-time, I suppose I’m used to it. I love down time but have a tendency to look for projects if left to my own devices for too long. It may be different this time because most of my friends now have children. The first time around, very few did, my mom was unwell and my sister lived abroad so there was a certain sense of isolation. My husband was the lucky recipient of numerous text updates throughout the day. ‘The baby just giggled. It was sooooo cute’. Luckily camera phones weren’t a thing yet or the poor man would have been demented altogether. He came home one day to find the four kitchen chairs painted different colours. Other days were experimental times in the kitchen where all kinds of delights came about; the best meals I ever made were during that maternity leave. Before the baby arrived I figured I’d finally write my book. Anybody who has ever been at home with a baby, please feel free to laugh at that particular delusion.
My main concern with time at home with baby number two is how I will balance the time between the needs of a newborn and those of an 8-year old. A smaller age gap would mean that trips to the park and picnics would be easy and fun options. 8 though is a tougher one. The park has now been replaced with swimming pools, skateboard parks and cinema trips, which aren’t always that infant friendly. Still, in the scheme of things, that’s a pretty first world problem which means I really just need to get over myself.
The baby’s room is finished. What was a home-office / bomb site/ teenage niece’s room now looks like a tranquil little haven for Bubs. It’s all pretty neutral and minimal with little pieces that hold memories; nursery curtains and the cot from my son’s first room, a lovely framed owl picture that ‘big brother’ drew for the baby and a 38-year old monchichi teddy (which is now pretty retro). We bought a yellow and glass wardrobe/giant cabinet in IKEA that I’m sure is a marmite thing; you either love it or hate it. I’m in the first camp. I love it so much that everything in the room was decorated around it. I’m just really glad that the room is ready because we tend to leave things to the eleventh hour, so I had visions of the baby being in our room until they start school.
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