There is no denying it – I am an organised person. Give me a beautifully crafted step by step illustrated plan that takes you from where you are right now to where you want to be, with lots of satisfying things to tick off on the way, and I’ll get straight to work making it my very own. I am that little Duracell bunny burrowing away to get where she’s going fast. At work when I told my HR Business Partner I was pregnant and she congratulated me, the next thing I said was: “Do you have a model I can follow for preparing to go on Maternity Leave, please?” I’m not sure if there was one. I think I may have written one for myself, just to check I was doing everything right (and there-in lies the problem – is there a right way to go about having your baby?), but I felt it was my responsibility to solve the “problem” I was creating!
If it hadn’t been for Mother Nature I might have missed out; she made me slow down. When I turned eight months pregnant it all suddenly started to feel very real and yet I couldn’t really believe it was going to happen. I was definitely too big and too slow to do the daily commute as I realised one late Spring evening coming back from the office. I was standing on the platform in the exact spot where the doors of the tube would open in the hope I would be able to board first and find a seat. A queue of passengers were lining up behind me. Only when the train arrived and the doors started to open those other passengers all pushed passed me and got on first. Annoyed, I waited for the next train, but it happened again and again and again. I texted my mum almost in tears an hour later who texted me straight back saying: “Get a taxi now. I will transfer the money into your account.”
Relieved, I hailed a black cab, only for a businessman in a sharp suit to rush ahead of me and jump in it, leaving me gobsmacked on the pavement. When I eventually flagged a taxi down and got my bum on the backseat, I told the driver about my awful day, and bless him, he would only accept half fare for taking me home, so I will always have a soft spot for cabbies. Pretty soon after that a combination of Braxton Hicks and bad public transport experiences proved more than I could stand and I was fortunate to be able to work from home. I am so grateful for the right to ask for flexible working and for the invention of remote access. Without them I don’t know how I would have continued working, I really don’t.
Once I realised I wasn’t going to be able to control what was happening at work any more than I was going to be able to control my labour, I decided I was just going to enjoy my last few weeks of pregnancy. My friends and family threw me a Baby Shower, I sat on the rocking chair or on an exercise ball in our newly finished nursery and chatted with friends on the phone, I went swimming, to yoga, walking, to the movies and spent lots of time with my husband and friends. At 38 weeks, I turned 30 but I didn’t have the energy for a party, so we went for afternoon tea at The Savoy instead and I am so glad we did all this because a week later I was in labour.
I am a planner and nothing is going to change that, but becoming a mum has taught me that, when it comes to human beings, you can’t control anything and trying too hard to be perfect can mean you miss out on lots of wonderful surprises. Worrying and being a mum definitely go hand in hand, but I am finding more and more that, if you spend too much time worrying about the future, it robs you of enjoying the present, and for me my daughter is the greatest gift I’ve ever had. She is teaching me to go with the flow (as much as this control-freak can).
Here are a few pictures from those late pregnancy days.
Amy Beeson is a Freelance Writer and the Director of Wordsby Communications working with many women running a small business on a limited budget who need affordable solutions for their communications needs. Amy’s currently busy working away on three new books with baby expert Sarah Beeson MBE (Amy’s mum) for HarperCollins the first of which ‘The New Arrival’ is now available for pre-order and will be published in the UK on 27 March 2014.