A few months ago I looked into the possibility of going back to work. I was aware that our twins are more than ready to start socialising more but taking them anywhere on my own is tricky. Returning to work seemed like an ideal solution – they get to spend time away from home and be around other children, and I get out of the house and engage my brain in a different way. I was considering going back to freelance and had some really interesting opportunities offered to me, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted the security of an employment contract. Freelance work is risky and that’s not a position I could afford to be in.
Then an email landed from my old pals at BPN Architects. Their practice manager was moving on and was I available? It’s been 3 years since I left and, well, the timing couldn’t have been better.
At that point, Childcare wasn’t in place and it was a very stressful mission to find somewhere we liked who could take both kids on at short notice, but I lucked out (again) and some places came up at a lovely local nursery.
And so, a few weeks later, I feel like I’ve landed on my feet. I’m going back to a job I know well for a couple of days a week, and the children are going to be around some fab new people which I’ve no doubt will help them develop in new and exciting ways that they simply couldn’t do at home.
Freelancing as an independent consultant was exciting and fun, and I’m grateful to all those clients who gave me the opportunity to enhance my skills back then. There will still be the odd bit of stuff I do for myself (I’m lecturing on the Part 3 course at BCU again this October) but it’s back to work for me, and I’m really bloomin’ happy about it.
In February I became a mother to two very beautiful babies, a girl and a boy. I spent 8 stressful nights in hospital after a difficult delivery. I battled and battled and battled with breast feeding (and lost. I managed 4 weeks before switching to bottle feeding). As parents, my husband and I are still a long way from getting enough sleep. And yet I still feel like the luckiest woman alive to be blessed with two perfect children.
The entire journey, as any new parent will tell you, is one of extreme highs and the lowest of lows. As someone who has battled depression in the past I’ve probably come closer than most to post-natal depression, though I’d strenuously deny it if a health professional were to put me on the spot of course.
The biggest surprise of all, however, is that ‘baby brain’ isn’t a myth. My brain doesn’t work like it used to. I can’t complete tasks and I get really cross with myself for getting halfway through something and moving onto the next thing too soon. (The playful amongst you might question why I haven’t chosen to finish this post at this precise moment – but I’m not sure my sense of humour is what it was).
It’s not just forgetfulness though, I’m just not the person I was. My brain doesn’t process tasks like it used to. I’m always thinking about the next thing. It’s weird – a new level of emotion has caused part of my brain to just stop working properly. That part where things are stored in my short term memory is over capacity and so something has to give. I’ve never had a brilliant memory, but now my the whole ability to process tasks is properly broken.
All of this, plus my desperation to stay in contact with the outside world has been almost impossible to manage. It’s been a very challenging journey to date and I can’t see it getting any easier. (word of warning: NEVER tell a parent of twins that “it gets easier”. It doesn’t. It gets to be a little more predictable, and more fun, but it’ll never be easier.) But my beautiful children are healthy and happy, which despite having a broken brain, ultimately means I’m winning. The low moments are becoming fewer, and the highs are getting higher, and somehow I find myself almost 5 months into parenthood and able to get myself and the two littlies dressed and fed everyday. We even leave the house sometimes.