I was supposed to go back to work today.
When planning how long I would break from the clinic, five months seemed like a good amount of time. I thought our baby would be old enough to hang out with her grandmothers for a few hours each week with no issues. She’d probably take a bottle of expressed breastmilk and have a nap, and I’d get to go to work, earn money and keep the clinic running at an easy, gentle pace to begin with, seeing a few friendly clients on a Friday afternoon. Totally manageable.
January arrived and our babe was suddenly four months old. I hadn’t really thought about my impending return to work until another potential client registered interest in seeing me once my maternity leave finished at the end of the month, so we started getting ready. Having Joan feel ok with being away from me seemed like a good place to start. From fairly early on in her life, Joan hasn’t been great with crowds, and even with her grandmothers whom she knows and loves, she’d often FREAK OUT if I wasn’t in sight. She’s a sensitive babe (a velcro baby, as Pinky McKay puts it) who is very observant and curious, taking in all her surroundings, and sometimes she gets overwhelmed and needs help chilling out with the reassurance that I am there. So mum started coming over to look after the baby while I did housework. Joan was happy, she adores her Nana KK and they have a lot of fun together…but I was in the room, I hadn’t really left her. I knew we needed a few attempts of me leaving her with my mum and actually leaving. The first time we did this I went for a swim at the beach, which was down the road from our house. After a minute or so in the water, something in my gut told me I needed to get home, so I dried off, left Ben and my brother and ran all the way back. I heard the screams from the start of the driveway.