‘After the six-week check up it was time to head back into the real world’

I knew it was time when I saw a couple kiss on TV and found myself rating their latch (shallow)

The six-week check-up is a nice milestone, marking a return to some sense of normality. Well, a new normal. Your new normal. It’s around then you start to emerge from the fog of night feeds (they’re still there, you just get used to them), you’ve decided whose advice you’re going to follow and whose you’re going to discount and you’ve figured out how to work the car seat.

My check-up went well; the baby’s was a bit more tricky.

I’m not observant enough to have questions like “Does she follow your face with her eyes? Does she smile? Does she make noises other than crying?” sprung on me. I need notice of what’s coming up on the test. Or at the very least, some past papers. I confidently answered these questions like the doctor had tried to make me go to rehab (I said “No, no, no”). But seemingly I’m just your average critical mother (“Would we call that a smile?”) because a quick once over revealed she can do all of these things. Hurrah! I must start paying attention.

With the six-week checks done and done, I thought it was time to tentatively poke my head out of the baby bubble and back into the real world. I had a few hints that it was time.


The first was when I was watching a couple kiss on TV and found myself rating their latch (shallow).

Later, my mother-in-law was telling a story about how their chimney is angled slightly backwards and I thought “just like my cervix”. (Any time I get a smear test the GP is always huffing and puffing that my cervix angles backwards. Much like the hairdressers all my life who exaggeratedly shake out their arms mid blow-dry, breathlessly telling me: “You’ve very thick hair!”. Is the GP angling for a tip? What’s the going rate for tipping for a smear?)

The third clue was that while watching Breaking Bad, I became entirely distracted wondering how much Skyler’s maternity care cost and why they never told us how they were paying for her private room and potential C section when we had been walked through the payment of Walt’s treatment line by line as well as given a full tour of Hank’s insurance policy and exactly what type of physical therapy was covered under which plan. (If you haven’t watched Breaking Bad, let me tell you that Skyler’s maternity care is not an important storyline).

So I decided it was time to take the bull by the horns and move on to the next stage of my life.

First things first, I took the baby cards down (and put them into a box along with the hospital bracelets - I’m not a complete monster. Although in the four weeks that my husband was off work, he took over the afternoon creche collection and remarked that the toddler had been bringing home a lot of art work recently. I told him she’s always bringing home stuff like that but I file them straight in the bin. Maybe I am a monster). It’s like taking the Christmas tree down. It was nice when it went up. It brought a bit of colour and cheer to the house. But 6 weeks later, you start to feel a bit hemmed in and the relief when you finally take the thing down is mighty.

Secondly, I moved on to my maternity clothes. It was time to let them go. “It’s like Cortés reaching the New World and burning his ships”, I heard someone say as I boxed them up. (Mark from Peep Show had wandered in to narrate my life again).

The final part of my re-emergence plan was that I would get active. Well “active” is a bit of a stretch. “A bit of a stretch” is probably even overstating it. I thought I’d get moving.

Towards the end of the pregnancy, I bought a Fitbit. My motivation for doing so was to have objective proof of how little sleep I was getting. Just for those instances when, say, some other residents of the house complain about being tired even though they’re in the spare room getting a full eight hours. Not naming any names.

The novelty of waking up and immediately checking my watch to “see how I slept” (always “Fair”) soon wore off however. So I engaged the tracker for its primary function: counting steps.

At six weeks, we headed out for a long walk – the first time for me in a very long time.

We were gone a couple of hours. It was a very hot day. I hadn’t worn appropriate shoes. And we were almost home when the Fitbit started vibrating and seemed like it wouldn’t stop. I was sure that either it was dying or it was alerting me that I was. It was – as it turns out – simply congratulating me for reaching 10,000 steps.

This was a sensation I had never experienced before. It must be how the conquistadors felt: buzzin’.

Pandemic Pregnancy
Part 1: This is all getting a bit Angela's Ashes
Part 2: We got bad news at the first baby scan
Part 3: What's the oldest woman you've delivered?
Part 4: Not yet telling your colleagues about the baby
Part 5: It turns out, I do miss my husband
Part 6: Asking if the baby had magically appeared
Part 7: Apprehensive about having a second child 
Part 8: I'm living for my monthly maternity check-ups
Part 9: We decide we'll take a little holiday
Part 10: Maternity leave during lockdown has advantages
Part 11: I bat away suggestions for coping with labour
Part 12: 'Natural' is great if the birth is going well
Part 13: My baby is big, so I'm going to be induced
Part 14: I was with epidural and it was glorious
Part 15: I just wanted to sleep for 10 hours
Part 16: Sometimes I feel trapped under the baby
Part 17: Time to head back into the real world