It’s 23:35 pm on the 31st of October as I type these first few words of the digest. Its Sunday night, but I am not feeling weighed down by Monday blues. As November dawns, so does the first work day of my maternity leave at 39 weeks + 2. Tis time to put up my engineering hat for the next 10 months or so.
October was intense, to say the least – I am talking week upon relentless week of chasing engineering project deadlines as time propelled me, burgeoning belly first, towards D-Day (35…36…37…38…39). There were multiple midwife/Gestational Diabetes clinic visits, burning the midnight oil preparing for my AP (Acceptance Panel), extreme physical discomfort (hi, Braxtion Hicks, constipation, and uterus cramping), GD induced guilt (somehow this last leg seems a lot harder), churning out sponsored posts for TMM (that somehow all lined up for posting within a week), turning down membrane sweeps (no, thank you very much), one scary visit to Maternity Unit (had to check on baby and squished body organs), a weekend of panic as our choice of travel system went out of stock everywhere (managed to sort it out eventually, phew), and adjusting to the clock going back by an hour (Aryan woke up bright and early the morning after, obvs). Interspersed with a spot of pumpkin patch-ing (finally), a surprise afternoon tea hosted by my favourite girls (felt utterly spoilt), a family maternity shoot (so worth the effort even at 36 weeks), MCM Comic Con (Aryan/Captain America was thrilled), and Halloween, of course.
I didn’t anticipate how gruelling my final work month will be – or the intensity of the physical discomfort that comes with third trimester in a second time pregnancy. There were mornings I woke up feeling utterly sorry for myself, exhausted from bad sleep, ready to give up. The mental and physical exhaustion of growing a baby while keeping everything else ticking over demanded more from me than I had to give.
Walking became difficult to a point where some days I was clenching my teeth in pain to keep moving, but it was also the quickest way to recharge my frazzled brain. Autumnal walks in particular are worth the extra effort. The leaves steadily reddened and yellowed throughout the month, as though a harbinger of the changes to come. Even amidst the madness, I couldn’t help but steal moments of wonder to marvel at the beauty of Mother Nature.
Working up to 39 weeks took a lot from me but as the clock strikes midnight on the first of November, I am glad I stuck to it. I know from experience that the sacrifices I made will benefit my family in the long run. Future me will thank October 2021 me and all her hard work!
I am grateful for whatever time I can manage for myself in this post work, pre baby limbo zone. The icing on the cake is that Nizar and I are taking leave together, thanks to Facebook’s amazing paternity leave policy that grants him a total of 4 months off work. Compared to our last pregnancy – 0 paternity leave because Nizar did not qualify for Statutory Paternity Pay in his then new job role because he was short by a meagre few days which forced him to take two weeks of annual leave to physically witness his child’s birth – this is EVERYTHING. In the UK, SP leave is up to 2 weeks, so we are feeling really lucky.
October 2021 was all about ‘Squid Game’, a South Korean Netflix drama in which debt-ridden people are pitted against each other to play children’s games for big cash. Despite being a pretty violent and grim show, it’s taken the world by storm, and Yours Truly is no exception (I love a good dsytopian thriller). Nizar and I fitted it into every pocket of time we could afford during this hectic month as we both worked overtime to meet our maternity/paternity leave targets. We are eagerly wait for Season 2!
Artist on Loop
ADELE IS BACK. With a bang. ‘Easy on Me’ has been on repeat since it came to be on the 15th of October and now I feel like I have had this song forever. THANK YOU, ADELE. Go easy on me is literally what I am silently screaming at the world as I push through these last few days of third trimester.
I think Aryan has reached an age where he needs his own dedicated monthly digest. His mind and personality are opening up at record speed. One day, he is teaching us how Weetabix is ‘healthy’ (apparently candy can be healthy too, LOL) and the next day, he is teaching us the story of Red Riding Hood. His obsession for superheroes has reached its peak, as he happily lived out his Captain America dreams this month by wearing his costume everywhere – from London MCM Comic Con to Halloween Party at pre-school to the tube on a random day. He needs a haircut – BADLY – but wont let us get anywhere near it.
His daycare updates this month have been absolutely wonderful, giving us insights into a part of his world that we aren’t privy to. Grateful to the teachers for sharing these titbits that are vital markers to the emergence of his growing personality.
My baby and my book, eek! Cant wait to hold both in my arms, In Sha Allah. You can order ‘The Boy With The Dancing Bells’ here.
Covid has been coming up more and more in the news lately but hopefully Winter 2021 wont get as bad as 2020. I don’t think UK can handle the heartbreak of another cancelled Christmas.
Salma Abu Baker says
You are amazing…. Much duas