A Year Since I Started Maternity Leave – What’s Changed?

A year ago today was my last day at work before maternity leave. I left believing I would be returning in nine month’s time with a baby in a nursery down the road. It’s strange to think back to that day, which feels like a lifetime ago, and really see just how much life has changed in just 365 days. 

I have become a mother, and what an incredible experience that has been. I’ve had some of the hardest days of my life in the past year, but also some of the absolute best. My priorities have completely changed and now revolve around my amazing, cheeky, gorgeous small boy rather than my own wants (and sometimes needs), which now seem mostly unnecessary. 

I have moved a sea away from friends and family. I never had that urge to live in another country, I always thought I would miss everyone and everything I knew too much. I had moved around England for a few years, but I always knew I could just jump in the car, join the motorway and be home within a couple of hours. OK, a British island is hardly the same as moving to the other side of the world, but when you have to rely on planes and boats to get you home it can feel very much out of your control. I have had to miss a family funeral and friends’ birthdays because I couldn’t make the travel work. That being said, it has also been a positive move. We live in a beautiful, safe place to bring up children, I’m making some lovely new friends and my husband has a job he is much happier in and means I’ve been able to stay at home with the boy for a lot longer than I would have. 

I now live on an island rather than a city. I grew up in a countryside village, but it was still only 15 minutes from the nearest city. Since university we have always lived in or very close to major towns and cities with every amenity imagineable on our doorstep. Island living is a complete change of pace. It’s a beautiful place to live, especially to bring up children, but the lack of amenities and relatively small selection of shops takes a bit of getting used to. 

I no longer work. As I mentioned above, this move has meant that my husband is earning enough that I haven’t had to go back to work as soon as I would have. It’s been quite an adjustment for someone who has worked since they were fifteen years old and always had her own money to spend, but I’m slowly finding other opportunities to fill my days and give me a sense of fulfilment. Being able to have this extra time with the boy is the greatest opportunity. 

I hate all of my clothes. Most of my clothes no longer fit quite right since having a baby, but I’m not really sure what would look better or whether I just need to change my view on my post-baby body. I also look at some that I loved before and they somehow don’t feel appropriate now I’m a mother. Again, it’s probably all in my head, but I’m struggling to find a style to suit the new me. 

It’s been a big year, and it’s strange to compare what I thought life was going to be like that day last year with how it has actually turned out. Overall, I think it’s going quite well – it will be interesting to see what I’m saying this time next year. 

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