The End of Maternity Leave

966.JPGIn January last year, I returned to work after nine months maternity leave to a new position within the same company. Starting maternity leave for the third time was the furthest thing from my mind last year but little did I know I was already pregnant.

After thinking about various different ways to tellĀ a new employer that I was in fact pregnant and only useful for another seven months, I braved it and told her over the phone! I wanted to convey that I hadn’t in fact tricked my new employer and I tried to reiterate that this was a very VERY unplanned and unexpected pregnancy.

I also felt quite embarrassed sporting a little bump and carrying still a very young child. I wondered what people may think, “Is she mad?”. Many people asked the question, “Haven’t you got a TV”, and commented “Oh, haven’t you been busy”. The friends that know us both very well, said that knowing we were still having sex after two children gave them hope of growing old and getting married.

The whole pregnancy, we both remained in denial. We were not ready for a baby, we still had a baby and how would we afford it? Off work again and on maternity pay just before I turned 30. Three kids before 30, I thought to myself! How did that happen.

In the same month I found out, my dear nan became extremely ill, cancer had returned and the doctors didn’t fill us with confidence that she would pull through. We hadn’t told the family yet, but I wanted her to know. Because her house was full of family, I couldn’t say it in words, I instead mouthed the words “NAN, IM PREGNANT” to watch her shocked expression. She mouthed back, “HOW FAR?” and I shrugged my shoulders.

Luckily she pulled through, but sadly only lasted another five months with us. Being pregnant around somebody that was dying was a strange feeling. I sat by her bedside night after night watching her body become weaker and her breathing slow, all the while being kicked in the stomach because inside me there was life.

Life was in there, though we hadn’t planned it and at times didn’t at all think we wanted it. IT, that’s really what it was to us a pregnancy, not yet a baby, because we weren’t having a baby were we? Six scans later and we still didn’t feel ready.

Contracting in Morrisons and an uncomfortable journey to the hospital. We are not really having a baby? Staring up at the high rise maternity building, feeling like, oh we have been here before, still didn’t help it sink in. This time was different, there was no induction of labour, this…baby was coming on his or her own.

“Abbie, I need to take your knickers off, I think your ready to push”, exclaimed the midwife. “I don’t understand”, I replied pushing anyway as I remembered what to do. A baby, there was and what a beautiful sight, “A Girl”, they said, and there it was, the moment it became real.

I asked my dying nan, what she thought my bump would be, she said “A Girl”, and she was right. I was so pleased for so many reasons and I knew that the family waiting for good news would too be pleased to hear that old Patricia was right.

I didn’t want a baby, couldn’t handle another baby, we weren’t ready for a baby. But she came during a time of sadness and despair, a time of tears and mourning and she lit a fire in me that was out.

Ruby was like a gift from above, she is our smilest baby yet, she has kept me busier than I have ever been, she has distracted me from moments of grief, she has been great comfort in the darkest hours.

She has been the best nine months of unexpected maternity leave. Please don’t let it end!