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Wednesday 3 January 2024

Let's talk about: maternity leave

Bittersweet: the only word I can find to capture my maternity leave.

A totally unplanned for birth ✅
Sleep deprivation ✅
Ironally, insomnia ✅
Laundry ✅
Binge watching Netflix ✅
Living in leggings and baggy t-shirts ✅
Rocking her to sleep ✅
Contact naps ✅
More laundry ✅
Tears (sometimes more from me than her) ✅
A bout of postpartum depression ✅
Making mum friends ✅
Coffee dates ✅
Baby classes ✅
Taking her swimming ✅
Random trips to big Tesco ✅
Garden centres ✅
Walks to the park ✅
Walks around the block ✅
Walks, walks, walks ✅
Even more laundry ✅

In the last nine months, I have felt more love than I knew possible yet such heartbreak and loss in unison. The moment I held my sweet baby girl in my arms for the first time, my life changed forever. Who I am changed forever. Yes, I met my daughter, but I met someone else in the fleeting moments in-between the hushing and swaying: I met the new me. She was broken. She was frightened. She had her running shoes on and her bags packed. Yet somehow, with incredible support and a discovery of (very deeply hidden) self belief, she found her way through. She found strength. She found joy.

In true Kassi style, I've been very open about the struggles I've endured becoming a first time mum. Gaining such an enormous responsibility (over night, might I add) is no mean feat. I've cycled through feeling happy, angry, sorrowful, anxious, exhausted, bored, blissful, overwhelmed, burnt out, excited, lonely, overstimulated, on edge... but more than anything, right now I feel grateful. Yes, some days I've torn my hair out with frustration. Yes, some days I've counted down the minutes until bedtime. Be that as it may, I am overcome with gratitude that I've been able to spend such precious time with the absolute light of my life, watching her grow and learn new skills every single day. Her infectious giggle can turn my day the right way up in an instant.

Tomorrow, I start a new journey to meet another new me: a working mum striving to regain some of her old identity whilst desperately clinging onto the fierce, resilient woman whose heart could burst with love every time she looks at her baby girl. Will it be smooth sailing? No. Will I cry three times before 9am? Most likely. Even so, I have every faith that I will find a way to amalgamate the old me, the new me and the new new me. Rosie, you are the reason.

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