It’s been a strange week. Work wise, it’s been the 3rd week of term, and the honeymoon period has passed. Tricky students have started to rear their heads. I’m starting to feel anxious about fitting in assessments and thing before going on maternity leave. I’m also finding it a bit of a strain moving between classrooms – I no longer have my own classroom, but teach in various locations around the school – so I have to carry books across the school.
At home, neither Tim nor Ben have been 100% well, and Ben has been quite poorly with a cold and cough, which has also affected his ears. He’s been into pre-school every day, but drop-offs have been really hard, as he’s very clingy. He’s ok during the day, but then absolutely exhausted when he gets home.
The 3rd trimester (and my huge bump) have definitely been making themselves known as well: insomnia, exhaustion and that general discomfort that you can’t quite get away from. There still feels like there’s a lot to do before the baby is born, and while some of this is aspirational and of my own making (my insistence on making a hand-knitted cardigan), some is absolutely necessary (we don’t actually have a crib for this baby to sleep in). I know I’m still only 33 weeks, but the weeks seem to be flying by, and we’re busy over several weekends coming up.
On Thursday, I had a bit of an incident at work: a Year 8 boy came running down the corridor, probably desperate to get the front of the break queue, straight into me. Or , more specifically, straight into the bump. While he was very apologetic, I was very shaken and upset. It was almost like like I had been waiting for something like this to happen. My school is not particularly crazy, and most of our students conduct themselves really thoughtfully around the building, but the reality is that teenagers don’t always look where they’re going.
Anyway, the school nurse checked me over, and the baby started moving almost immediately, so I wasn’t desperately worried, but it did clarify something I had been thinking about all week: I wanted to bring the start of my maternity leave forward. I had planned to work until I was almost 38 weeks, like I did with Ben. But with Ben’s pregnancy, I was working until the end of the summer term. I had a much lighter timetable, with a brilliant trainee teacher taking most of my classes, and Year 11 and 13 having finished. This time, I’m teaching a more demanding timetable, and I also have a 3 year old.
So, I’ve decided to bring my maternity leave forward by a week, so I will finish when I’m 36+5. This means I only have 3 more weeks to go, which feels manageable. It also means I’ll hopefully have a bit more time with Ben before the baby arrives – rushing out of the house in the morning to drop Ben off at pre-school before I rush to work is a bit stressful. I’m quite worried that Ben will feel pushed out when the baby arrives, so hopefully this will alleviate some of that. I’m also hoping I’ll be able to rest a bit and do a bit more birth/newborn preparation, which I haven’t really got time for at the moment.
Fortunately, my school have been fantastically supportive about this decision, as has Tim. It helps that I’m not planning on taking quite so long off as I did with Ben, mostly because of when this baby is due (November versus August) and how school holidays work.
I must just remind myself to make the most of the chance to rest and be with Ben, rather than filling the time with jobs!
I can’t tell you how much more relaxed this has made me feel. I know not everyone has the luxury of being able to take more magnitude leave, and many people want more time when the baby is here, but I’m planning to do the cheeky teacher thing where you go back just before the summer holidays to make sure that I get paid over the summer! I’m fairly certain this will be my last maternity leave, and I want to make the most of it.