A return from the abyss or maternity leave as others may refer to it

I posted my last book review in January 2017, shortly after I entered the last trimester of my first pregnancy.  When I fell pregnant everyone I bumped into (literally towards the end) had sage words of advice for me.  Rest lots, get as much sleep as possible before the little one comes, eat pineapple to bring on labour, make sure you stock the freezer as you’ll be too tired to cook.  No one told me to read.

Oh how I wish someone had told me to make time for reading (and I don’t mean baby books).  I work in London and had always relished my commute as a perfect time to read.  I could regularly be found with my head buried in a book, thought nothing of carrying around novels too big to fit in a standard handbag…and then I hit my third trimester.  Trains became a place to get more sleep, I’d waddle on, collapse into a seat and before the train had pulled out of the platform I’d be asleep.  The rare times I managed to keep my eyes open I’d pull out my book only to find I couldn’t concentrate on the story.  My head would be whirling with planning for the baby, had I bought enough muslins, which baby monitors should we buy, would it be a boy or girl, could we get away with calling it Rebus!

As a result I went for months without reading, a very odd situation to find myself in.  And then my son came along, we weren’t brave enough to call him Rebus, he looked more like a Luke.  With a new born in the house our world was turned upside down, in a good way, but again I found myself unable to read.  Reading when he napped wasn’t an option as I’d often nap then too or do the housework, or be driving in the car as it was the only way to soothe him.  I found myself unable to fall into a book.  I felt like I was on an edge, that something was stopping me from fully committing to the book.  I think I was avoiding the disappointment that comes when you’re really into a book and you have to put it down and get on with life.  I was all too aware of how all consuming my son was and I think I just didn’t want to be torn between reading a good book and tending to the needs of my son.

I did managed to read a couple of books during my 12 month maternity leave.  On reflection I probably could have chosen easier books to read, a classic chick lit may have been lighter and easier going than my choices.  The first was The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco and the second Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K.Dick.

I’m not going to attempt to review the books, it took me close to 6 months to read each one, who knows how long it could take me to review them.  I will say that I hated the struggle I had with them.  I wanted to read, I felt guilty when I sat down and put on Homes Under the Hammer rather than picking up the book, but I just couldn’t face reading most days.  For the first time in my life reading felt like a chore, something I felt I should be doing.  I wasn’t working, I had chunks of the day when my son was feeding or napping, why wasn’t I making the most of this.  It’s amazing how much we can beat ourselves up over something so trivial.  It wasn’t like I was never going to read again.

In May this year I returned to work, I’m commuting into London 3 days a week and have relished being able to read again.  I’ve played safe starting with familiar books to ease me back in. And now 6 months after returning I’m ready to start reviewing again, I have returned from the abyss, let me at the undiscovered worlds within books!

 

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