Hi I am so pleased to be asked to be your guest blogger this month and to describe my journey into motherhood and consequently becoming a writer. It took me about a year to get pregnant which seemed like forever at the time. When I finally found I was, I was utterly elated. As I prepared to go on my maternity leave work kept talking about when I came back and I just pushed that thought right to the back of my mind.
On a routine doctors visit at 36 weeks we found my baby had stopped growing and was very small so he was whisked out by c section and weighed in at only 3lb 2. He was taken immediately to ICU and I didnt see him for about 4 hours as I became unwell too. That was without doubt the most traumatic separation of my life. It makes me cry if I think of it, even today. We called him Franklyn after his great granddad and his which means free man. Frankie was in intensive care for a month getting strong. I stayed there too expressing milk and pouring it down a little tube into his nose to help him grow. I made a lot of promises to Frankie whilst he lay in his little incubator and the most important to me was that I would be by his side as much as I could.
At 7 weeks old Frankie finally learnt to breast feed directly and life began to be a lot more normal. Because he was so tiny I was advised to keep him out of nursery for the first year of his life, as he would be vulnerable to illness. Work agreed I could extend my 6 months break to a year. Unfortunately this year was so wonderful I didnt want to return at all! Luckily I worked for social services as a training officer in social work and they have a little known 6 years career break scheme which I was able to take. We were desperately worried about how we would cope financially but thrilled to have secured this time off with Frankie.
As the main earner me stopping work was a major deal and we had to learn how to budget and be thrifty pretty quickly. We made many changes; some big such as a mortgage break and some smaller such as switching supermarkets but it was a steep learning curve. I ran a baby signing franchise 1 morning a week and took Frankie along; I sold items on ebay, at car boots and on Amazon. I borrowed, crafted, reduced, reused and recycled. I swapped the car for fresh air and I even let my husband trim my hair! Meanwhile I had all the time in the world to be with my baby and a whole community of new supportive like-minded friends. There were riches even if we had little money!
Whilst pregnant with my daughter, Annalise, 3 years later, my husband suggested I write a book sharing all the budgeting tips we had learnt and all the ways we had made some extra money. I started to write and it just flowed out of me! I so wanted other parents to know that it may be possible for them to manage on less and free up more time to be with their child too. I got an agent (after 40 attempts!) who pretty quickly saw that in these credit crunching time all parents needed some financial tips on baby budgeting whether they worked or not and she snapped me up a publishing deal with Vermilion the market leaders in parenting books (I was VERY shocked but delighted too.)
The book has had a wonderful response I have had interviews on the radio, with national newspapers even with an Australian journalist. I am book signing at WH Smiths in Nottingham on November 6th and at Waterstones on Nov 7. Most importantly I am still getting to spend lots of time with my baby girl and am able to take my son to school and pick him up and that is definitely right for me. I have worked hard but I had some lucky breaks too. Whatever your path to parenting may it be truly blessed.I hope that if you need any budgeting tips you will check out my blog www.babybudgeting.co.uk and if you have any tips please do share them on our readers page. Take very good care of you and yours, Becky x
How to Afford Time Off with your Baby 101 ways to ease the financial strain
by Becky Goddard-Hill (Vermilion, 09)