But there is no right or wrong way to be a mum, so long as your baby is healthy and happy you're doing just fine. It took me almost a year to get used to that idea so that I can confidently make decisions for my life and for my baby so that I can be content.
As my baby got to 7 months old I had to start thinking about work, if I was going to return to work, if I would work part time, who would look after my baby, how I would be able to balance work and home. Before I went on maternity leave I thought I had it all figured out, I had a great job in molecular imaging, working for a prestigious company on Harley Street. I would have my baby, take the full years maternity and then return to work part time, whilst my mother in law looked after my daughter.
Then my daughter was born 7 weeks early and everything changed.
For months I weighed up the pro's and con's of going back to work; I had studied so hard to get into the field, I worked my way up, I love my job and love meeting new people everyday, I love the fact that I'm helping people, would I get bored being at home all the time? Do I need a break from my daughter once in a while?
However, how could I leave my daughter at home in the morning and just go? She would wake up and not find me or her dad. She would only be little once and I'll never get that time back, I feel like it's my responsibility to give her a good upbringing, no one could bring her up the way I want her to be brought up.
I understand that for a lot of mum's they don't have a choice and have to return to work for financial reasons or just because they want to be a working mum. I thought long and hard, prayed that whatever decision I took it would be the best one for me and my family.
The more I thought about it the more I was inclined to resigning from my job and becoming a 'stay at home mum'. I came to the conclusion that if I did go back to work I would not be able to give 100% to my daughter or 100% to my job, in a job where mistakes have grave consequences I couldn't afford to not be on completely on the ball and I couldn't do that if my daughter didn't sleep all night or was sick. As a preemie baby in this 1st year of her life she gets sick a lot, she picks up a lot of viruses and needs to be on an inhaler when her breathing gets wheezy, she has so many appointments from follow up's at the hospital, to the GP when she's caught a bug to make sure her lungs are clear, to physio to follow up on meeting her developmental milestones, all of this means I'd be having to take time off work when she's not well as well as for all her appointments.
My biggest reason for finally deciding to quit my job was the fact that my job will always be there and if in another year or so I would just need to apply, I could always join agency somewhere to keep my skills up but work on my own terms. However, my daughter will only be this age once and I didn't want to miss a moment of it.
People still look shocked when they ask about my plans with work and I tell them I resigned. They tell me that I'm crazy for working so hard to get to where I am and wonder why I'm 'throwing' it all away, they tell me I'll be crazy bored at home and I'm making a mistake by leaving my job.
I may change my mind in the future but for now Alhamdulillah I'm happy that I'm in a position where I can choose to work or not work and that we have a good support network whatever I choose to do.
If you go to work and leave your child you're mum shamed, if you stay at home and don't work outside you're mum shamed, so there really is no winning if you're trying to do something that everyone else tells you is right.
It wasn't easy handing my resignation in, I even felt guilty for my manager and old colleagues because I felt like I was leaving them in the lurch but I had to do what was right for me.
Now that I've done it, I'm happy. When I think about it since age 3 I've been in education, I went straight from university into my job and haven't stopped. I finally have time to focus on other things in my life, it even gives me time to focus on my blog, painting canvases (which I miss doing so much!) and set up my hijab styling business (will tell you all about that in another post inshaAllah), I can really focus on giving my daughter a good start to life, take her to stay and play and to the library, enjoy Ramadan and really make time for myself.