It can be disorientating when your circumstances change, especially when the changes don't quite match your plans. I am lucky in the sense that the drastic change that I am about to experience is in line with the direction that my thoughts have been taking lately. Returning to being a full-time parent might be just what I need.
I returned to university to complete my degree when my baby was four and a half months old - something that I felt guilty about at the time and still feel guilty about now. At the time I was feeling very isolated and was still in chock at becoming a mother. In all honesty I was probably just heading towards post natal depression, but I felt that I really needed to get out and do something independently. This isn't a decision that I feel comfortable with, even now, as although he has not been in childcare full time I feel that I have missed out on time with my baby and have missed out on doing a lot of 'baby activities' with him. In short I feel like I have been a terrible mother to him. The guilt that I have been feeling is something that will need to heal in it's own time, regardless of how many times people tell me that I have nothing to feel guilty about. But events over the past couple of weeks have brought things full circle.
My baby started out really loving childcare - he is a very sociable baby and enjoys playing with other children. But over the past month or so, he hasn't seemed happy there anymore. He has been fine when I have dropped him off in the morning, but has been getting increasingly worse during the day. Things came to a head when he spent more or less an entire day sitting in the middle of floor crying and with the mutual agreement of the childminder we pulled him out. I don't know what the problem was, perhaps because we practice gentle parenting and his carers didn't - it is hard to tell. But at this point, it is very obvious that he will benefit greatly from one to one care. I don't have much of my degree left now and only have to go in one day a week until my final exam which is in six weeks time, so these days can be covered by my husband. This means that I will pretty much be returning to being a full-time parent.
In many ways this siltation feels like a blessing in disguise. I feel that it will give me the chance to re-bond with my baby and instead of feeling the isolation that I felt last time, give me the opportunity to take my baby out into the world and try some new activities. I was hoping to do a masters in September, but I don't know what will happen. It is important at this stage that I keep my baby out of outside care, perhaps things will be better by September. They may not be and I might have to look at other career options. But this really doesn't matter as the most important thing is my baby's wellbeing.
Perhaps this was meant to happen, the universes' way of balancing my life. All I can do at this point is look at the positives of the situation. I almost feel like I need to learn to become a parent again, which is a weird idea, as I have obviously never stopped looking after him during this time - maybe I just feel like I have some catching up to do. I feel like I need to become a mother all over again. Either way, I am going to be doing a lot more with my baby and I will keep you posted.