If someone had told me last year that I’d be spending the latter part of 2020 on maternity leave, I would never have believed them. I was certain that my body would not be able to take another round of medication or suffer another loss. But as if by magic, although a storm was brewing in the world, I was blessed enough to be growing a beautiful miracle rainbow baby.
Although the past few months have been riddled with fear and anxiety, the time has also allowed me to reflect on how much I have to be grateful for.
As I begin my maternity leave and feel a whole host of emotions about what the next six months will entail, I know practicing the art of gratitude will continue to help both my mental and physical health.
Housing a human
I’ve had quite the journey to motherhood and it’s certainly not something I take for granted. Falling and staying pregnant has been so challenging over the years and has tested my resilience and faith in ways I couldn’t imagine. The joy of being pregnant has been like bathing in a scorching summer after a frostbitten winter. Being pregnant during a global pandemic has been far from ideal, but I couldn’t be more thankful to have been granted this second miracle and another chance to bring a life into the world. I am grateful to be pregnant.
Just the 3 (and a half) of us
Like most parents we were left with no child care options when nurseries were asked to close in the peak of the pandemic. This gave us the opportunity to really bond as a family and spend such quality time together. I have never felt so present at home, we made time to cook, eat, bake, play and master new skills together. I have loved being able to devote more time to my family and we are a stronger unit as a result. I am grateful for us.
A supportive partner
Juggling working from home with full time childcare was testing at the best of times, but having a supportive partner who equally shared the load made the impossible feel much more manageable. We would clash diaries daily and soon mastered the art of distracting a toddler (thank you Disney+) He has been an absolute gem of a husband and a father.
I am forever grateful for him.
Not having to waste two hours commuting on a packed jubilee line carriage each day, being able to work in my lounge wear and never being too far away from a bathroom had been a major perk of lock-down. Combining this with the opportunity and ability to effectively work from home had absolutely kept me sane during lock-down. Logging into work everyday and interacting with my team gave me purpose at a time when not much else in the world was making sense. I am grateful for my team and colleagues at WeWork
A big part of the pregnancy experience is the celebration of the impending arrival with friends and family. Being a very sociable person, I vibe off others’ vibe. As someone who is forever filling their diary, social distancing certainly took its toll on me. But thanks to the incredible technology we have at our disposal, I was able to virtually connect with more people than I would physically have been able to spend time with. We’ve had virtual family quizzes, zoom birthday celebrations and daily face time check ins to name a few. I am grateful for my friends and family.
The coronavirus has reshaped everyone’s lives. But, as a pregnant woman, this time has been particularly stressful. The unknowns of how covid-19 might affect pregnant women and their babies have caused a great deal of anxiety. Reduced in-person midwife and hospital appointments, attending scans alone as well as changes to birthing plans has made the experience quite lonely. But, along the way, the quality of my care has never been in question, despite being overwhelmed, underpaid and unappreciated for all too long, I am so very grateful for the NHS.
Unlike last time, I know I’m unlikely to be surrounded by friends and family upon the arrival of our newborn. They say it takes a village and because of this horrid virus only a select few will be allowed into mine. But, I also know this will mean I will have quality time with my little one and a helping hand will never be too far away. I am grateful to be able to take this precious time off.
My first experience of motherhood absolutely changed my outlook on life and I’m sure having a second child will similarly have a profound impact on me. I’m conscious the world will be a very different place when I return to work, but I’m already looking forward to returning to work with all this gratitude and more!
The one thing this pandemic has taught me is to ‘be grateful for life, for not everyone made it this far.’