I should really have managed to post a whole lot more on here as I've now been on maternity leave for four weeks but the time seems to have been eaten up by three things:
A husband and toddler with a vomiting bug
An unexpectedly large list of baby things to buy and organise
Friends and family
The first of those was hideous, the second was expensive, but this post is a thank you for the third, for the Grannies who have done a great job helping me out with E over the last few weeks and who I'll be relying on even more in the days to come and for the friends who have made time to join me for brunch, lunch or dinner and who I may not now see for a while.
I am hopeful that my recovery from this C-section will be better than from the last (I don't intend to be in labour for 34 hours first), but I have been preparing myself to disappear from the world for the rest of this year. While everyone else in London will be dashing into the festive season, getting drunk at the works Christmas do, and trying to arrange the logistics of visiting 37 different sets of relations (in four days, on public transport), I expect I'll be at home, in my pyjamas, feeding, feeding, feeding and quite possibly unable to move around much. So I thought it would be nice to try and meet up with a few friends before I "go dark" and I've been really touched by how many people have made time to see me, and in some cases travelled some distance and braved London public transport to do so!
It's also reminded me how much I value having friends who are parents themselves, and those who are not. When I was expecting E I wrote about the number of friends who had invited us round for lunch or dinner. It was lovely but we were a little worried at the time that these were farewells. The assumption being that once we had a kid we would have no interest in child-free friends, or would be utterly intolerable and talk about nothing but the contents of our little angels nappies. Over the last few years some friendships have faded, life moves on as ever, but others have stayed put and new ones have come along too.
The mummy friends have been invaluable. Every new mum needs someone to throw the endless "is that normal???" questions at and who else is there to call at 10am on a Tuesday when you just HAVE to leave the house to go anywhere at all so long as it has cake!? The rest of the world slept last night, got themselves dressed without anyone wiping snot on their shoulder and now they are at work, using their brain for something other than trying to anticipate and avert the next screaming fit.
But I've also come to be very grateful for my child-free friends. I have chosen to be a mother and E is the most important thing in my life but that's not for everyone. Sometimes it's good to remember that life did have meaning before I bred and that there are perfectly nice, valuable individuals who just don't have or don't want kids. It would be easy enough to only ever mix with those who have made similar life-choices to me, but it's a big world out there and I still want to be part of as much of it as I can.
So thank you to everyone who I've managed to meet up with over the last few weeks, it's really meant a lot to me. Sorry to those for whom the logistics just didn't work out and I hope you will all bear with me over the next few weeks if I'm not around or even in contact very much. I hope to re-emerge, phoenix like (haha), in the new year and by then I will probably be in even greater need of coffee, cake and friends of all kinds to consume them with.