Embarking on the next chapter

This time last year I would have never pictured myself writing this article for our Leadership Outlook, but I’m really pleased to be able to share my experiences of pregnancy with you all, and thank you Erk for asking for my thoughts.

Coming from a very close family, I always wanted a big family of my own but for many years I felt like I wanted to see and experience more before settling down and having a family of my own. When we went into lockdown in March 2020, my thoughts soon changed, and I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what I was waiting for.

In January 2021, we found out we were expecting, and we couldn’t have been happier. The journey to this point wasn’t as straightforward as initially expected, but it also made me appreciate this moment so much more.

As I sit here being kicked from inside my belly, it’s making me appreciate how lucky I am to work for the NHS South West Leadership Academy, the thought of not being here for a year feels so daunting yet, it’s a fantastic opportunity for the team to have a new perspective. Some of you may already know, I’ve been with the team for several years and when talking to potential applicants about my maternity cover, I’m grinning from ear to ear thinking about how great the role is, and how much I will miss it, secretly hoping they’ll still want me to come back next year – I feel like this is such a normal feeling when embarking on maternity leave but doesn’t make the thought disappear.

The past seven months have been interesting, working from home, blaming all my sensitive moments on pregnancy hormones (hoping I can still do that when I get back…), and managing the constant feeling of sickness whilst trying to keep up and remain focused during meetings and calls. That’s one thing I have really appreciated about working from home, the fact I’ve had privacy throughout. Our providers, delegates, and colleagues only know what I’m sharing, no one would know I was pregnant until I tell them, I’m grateful I’m able to do that.

My biggest excitement about being a soon-to-be mother is watching them grow, experience life, and being there for them no matter what. My biggest fear about being a mother is getting things wrong, I’ve attended virtual antenatal classes, written lots of notes and my hospital bag is currently looking like multiple suitcases. Everyone I speak to say they are winging it, I just hope I can wing it as well as they do!

During my pregnancy, I have been supported by our fantastic team, I’ve been able to share the exciting moments, and the moments of doubt whilst not being treated any differently and that means so much to me. I wouldn’t want anyone to make exceptions for me, or pass work that I would be responsible for onto others. Going on maternity leave with minimal projects to hand over was my main goal approaching my due date, I wanted to see through anything that I was leading on, and with the support of the team, I’m hopeful I will be able to do that.

I cannot thank the team enough for being there for me and listening to me when I’m having a wobble, taking all my thoughts into consideration, and making me feel like a valued team member.

As this will be the last newsletter I’m coordinating and sharing with you all in 2021, I wish you all the best for the coming year.

Tasmin (pronouns: she/her)

Leadership Development Coordinator, Leadership and Lifelong Learning – South West Region, NHS England and NHS Improvement

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