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Monday, 6 January 2014  | 

Back to school – with some explaining to do!


That’s it - today it’s back to normal. Christmas has been a heady combination of wonderfully relaxing afternoons spent watching movies and eating chocolate (the baby demanded it, of course) and the deeply frustrating chaos of trying to organise buying our first house, as well as lots of trawling round the country seeing relatives. M and I have already begun to float the idea that next year, what with a new baby and a new house, we would like to be at home for Christmas – everybody else is welcome to join us instead!
But, as a family of teachers, today is the beginning of term time. Well, it is for M – I work part time, so will be back to school on Wednesday. In the meantime, all the work that I kept putting off during the holidays is gently mocking me from the corner of my desk, and will have to be dealt with soon.


One thing that is a little daunting about going back to school this week is the fact that I am going to have to tell my pupils about my pregnancy. Before Christmas, I was able to hide it through the fact that a) I wasn’t showing very much (and to be honest was getting sick of colleagues saying, ‘Well you don’t look pregnant!’) and b) I could hide my (small) bump behind long floaty scarves. Now, however, pretty much none of my pre-pregnancy clothes fit me and I have had to embrace maternity-wear. This is fine, and I have enjoyed collecting some lovely pieces, but the thing I notice about maternity clothes is that they all seem to accentuate your bump – which is great if you’re showing off your new figure…less so great if you’re trying to hide it!


So I will have to bite the bullet and tell the kids. I am a secondary school teacher and I teach 11, 12 and 13 year olds, and then 17/18 year olds. The little ones will probably think it’s brilliant. The older ones (especially the boys) will probably have a little snigger. It forces them to deal with the inevitable fact that this must mean that I am in fact a real person with a real life and I do real things (!). This can be a tricky concept for teenagers as far as their teachers are concerned! There’s the added issue that I will be going on maternity leave at a fairly crucial time in their A level exam preparation, which is really one of the reasons I am telling them – we need to crack on and finish the course so that when I go, there is really only revision to do.
However, I can’t quite believe that I only have 11 more teaching weeks until I go maternity leave. I’m 23 weeks and 1 day pregnant today, but with half term and Easter holidays, that leaves a scarily small number of days at school.
The time is rocketing by, right now. Up to my 12 week scan, every single day dragged and I thought I’d never reach that important milestone. Now, I’m facing the awesomely unbelievable fact that in six days’ time, my baby will be considered viable, and in the hopefully very unlikely event that I went into labour then, the doctors would try to keep him alive. Which is a relief!


And our baby is fond of letting me know that he’s already a huge part of our lives. I would like it if he wanted to sleep when I do, as when I get into bed, he’s definitely at his most active and I get poked and prodded with an impressively rhythmical regularity. I’m also finding that when I wake up in the night, he has curled himself up into a really uncomfortable position (for me – clearly he enjoys it!) and is really high up, causing me to have a big solid lump by my belly button. If I get up and walk around for a minute, then get back into bed, he usually moves so I can go back to sleep more comfortably. I feel bad as it’s obviously a favourite position, but it’s bloomin’ uncomfortable!


Which brings me on to the one thing that I am dreading this week – more than the sniggering 6th form pupils – my deeply uncomfortable single bed that I sleep on when at school. I teach at a school about 70 miles or so from where I live, so I stay in school accommodation on the two nights that I’m there. If you imagine lying on about 12 big, hard chunks of metal springs, with very little give in them – with no extra padding or protection, that’s pretty much what this mattress is. As I get bigger I know this is going to get more and more unpleasant…so bring on the Easter holidays! (I know…I am aware I haven’t even gone back after Christmas yet!)