I am filling out an application form to be placed on a waiting list for child care. My baby is now 11 weeks and 2 days old, and it is hard to imagine leaving her anywhere away from me. But the reality is, if you don’t get your baby on a waiting list, you might miss out.

This did not occur to me before. But at mothers group, one mother detailed her tale of registering her baby at child care centres. She is going back to work in August 2012, and already the waiting lists have literally more than 300 names on them. 300! And that is a common story.

I squirmed about it for about a week and a half after hearing that. My logical brain knew that eventually I too would be going back to work, possibly as soon as April or June next year. But my arms, holding my baby, and my cheek, absorbing warmth from her recently sleeping skin, and my eyes, taking in the profile of her eyelashes and her big brown eyes – my most common view of my baby as I hold her over my shoulder, safe, while she takes in the world – all rebelled at the idea of it.

But alas, reality has prevailed. I am filling out the first of what will probably be more than several applications, in the hope that someone will look after my baby heartfully, mindfully, playfully, carefully – while I enjoy the freedom of returning to work and the eternal wrench in the gut that all mothers must know.