It was a little over 7 years ago when I blew out of my office door with a giant belly, proclaiming myself a lady of leisure for the next 12 months.
I sincerely imagined lazy mornings, slow afternoons in coffee shops, baby groups and generally lots of relaxing fun with my baby. Boy was I clueless!
My first baby arrived and I felt like someone had pushed me off a ledge and yelled "fly" in my ear.
There were definitely long mornings at home, and trips to the coffee shop and baby groups, but I was so busy learning how to mother I didn't really get to appreciate any of it and then my baby was on the move and nothing was relaxing again!
He was two and half when we decided to have another baby.
In the end I never had gone back to work so I imagined our life would carry on much as it had been for the last couple of years. Long play dates, where we drank many cups of tea and days out to the National Trust where we all came home bronzed and sticky fingered from our picnic.
Boy was I clueless!
My second baby sustained a hypoxic injury and our parenting course took a bit of a left turn. It took some adjusting learning how to mother my tube fed baby without breastfeeding, which had played such a big role in mothering my eldest. Learning how to manage his medical needs, the nasal gastric tube, and the suction machine.
Everything I thought I knew had to be unlearned so I could learn again. There were no long playdates, or days out to the National Trust.
There were long days spent with a 3 year old between my legs and my baby screaming on my shoulder.
At the time it felt less like parenting and more like survival. But with time things got better, easier perhaps. He stopped crying so much and we became accustomed to this new life, so we thought we'd have another.
Well this time I'd learned the lessons of the past, this next baby would be whoever they were going to be, I could not control or guess what that might be.
There were no day dreams of what it might be like to mother 3 children, to be honest it was an anxious time.
But he arrived safely, and as third children apparently often do, he slotted in easily and with the 2 oldest at school and nursery finally I was able to enjoy the freedom and ease of a young baby with the confidence of an experienced mum.
I have realised that I am not the mother I thought I would be.
In the last seven years, with my three children, I've been on quite the journey. I'm not the authoritative parent I imagined in my first pregnancy, nor am I the earth mother I imagined second time around.
I've learned a lot about myself, my 7 year old reflects so much of me! And I realise profoundly that all children are different and require different parts of me and from me.
I have learnt to slip seamlessly back and forth depending on who needs me in that moment.
I think that I am one very lucky mumma indeed to have 3 such awesome boys to love and who love me, and despite taking that alternate route 3 years ago, I strode home from the school gate today very proud of my little family.