It's been exactly a year now since I finished work. In the later part of my pregnancy I was struggling with fainting fits. As the baby grew, she pushed against my spine which lowered my blood pressure. I would recover pretty quickly after hitting the floor, but it wasn't an ideal situation for a primary school teacher to be in.
It has got me thinking about how my life could have been. This morning, I could have got up at 6, got Alice ready for nursery, expressed some milk and marked a few school books. I'd have left her daddy to take her to nursery and driven off for a day in school. Later, I'd have picked her up at the end of a tiring day. My evenings would be spent trying to juggle her needs with my workload, and I guess I'd feel I wasn't doing a very good job of either.
This is my nightmare, yet it's a scenario many women cope with just fine. I knew it wasn't going to be an option for us. Before Alice was conceived I made a very tight budget so that we could live off one income and we stuck to it. Some people I know have said that they are jealous of me because they wouldn't be able to afford to give up work. That may be true, but we haven't just been lucky. We have scrimped and saved for years. We don't go on expensive holidays, we rarely have meals out and I buy clothes from charity shops. We evaluated what was most important to us, and adjusted our lifestyle accordingly. This all sounds a bit self righteous, but I don't mean to. I was miserable in my job, and I wanted to make a change. We have been fortunate, but we've also gone without and sacrificed to get the life we wanted for our family. It's a possiblity that would be open to many people if they are prepared to make the changes.