maternity leave

When's The Right Time to Start Maternity Leave?

Since I announced my pregnancy, a question on the lips of many people after the standard "When are you due?" and "Is it a boy or a girl?" has been "Will you go back to work?". I'm not sure if this is a common question for pregnant ladies, but with a 3 hour daily commute 5 days a week, my colleagues were interested in what my plans might be. Personally, I don't feel ready to answer that yet because now is not the right time to be thinking about it.

Last week I had my 31 week midwife appointment and the subject of work arose. I work in a special needs school, running work experience placements and employability workshops for the sixth form students, so I'm on the go all day every day. In my nauseous first trimester I was (thankfully) mostly school-based in the build up to Christmas and in my full-of-energy second trimester I felt pretty much as capable as I had been pre-pregnancy. Then along came trimester three, bringing with it intermittent nausea, increasingly sore hips, pelvic pains, heartburn and sleepless nights. It's fair to say that my pregnancy really has read the 'What to Expect' books and followed them to the tee!

Almost overnight I began to struggle with the physical demands of my job and the commute. I requested that my maternity leave begin at 34 weeks but as the days rolled on I started to wonder if I'd last that long. Speaking to the midwife last week about what I do and why I'm finding it so hard, she was shocked that I was managing to keep going full time. To put it in perspective, I get up at 05:30 every morning, commute 1 1/2 hours, work mostly standing and walking for 8 hours, drive back again, cook tea, go to bed and repeat every day until Friday. My midwife gave me a choice - Reduce my workload or finish work now.

I'm a team of one plus my manager and the school aren't planning on finding a replacement for me until the new school year, so without anyone to hand over to I couldn't begin to relinquish responsibility and step back gradually, it's all or nothing. So I chose nothing! I went in yesterday morning to hand my sick note in, empty my locker and say my goodbyes and that was that. It's only a couple of weeks earlier than expected, but yet I feel a little unprepared. My students, the work placements and I had all got my original date set in our minds so I feel a little like I've let them down. I had been spending my prep time writing down important information and any useful tips that whoever takes over from me may need, my students' accreditation folders were complete and signed and I had planned the new timetable for half term onwards, yet I feel a little lost by it all.

However, Baby C needs a healthy Mummy both as he/she finishes cooking and once the big day comes and Phil and I are bringing home our new baby. Yesterday after I left work I went to Costa Coffee to regain my thoughts and today I have done some housework, some reading in the bath and this blog post. I am a little worried about getting cabin fever, I'm used to being on the go constantly, but Shakira's right that the hips don't lie and mine are telling me to chill a bit!

Did you have to finish work early or change your plans leading up to the birth of your baby? Have you got any nice recipes or ideas for me to get on with whilst I'm at home? Please let me know in the comments box... I'll definitely have the time now to read and reply!

 

Comments   

0 #8 Hannah 2014-05-22 10:05
Quoting Mouse:
I'm 35 weeks pregnant and I've been signed off sick since mid-January! I was around 18 weeks pregnant. I was so worried I'd go mad with boredom but somehow I have managed to keep myself occupied. Knitting, walking, writing and reading mostly. The most important thing for me has been to make sure I get out of the house every single day. Otherwise I'd go mad! Good luck. And rest, listen to those hips!

Thanks hun, I am definitely learning to slow down now and listen to my body. I've always been one to overdo it but knowing that tiring myself out will tire baby out makes it easier xx
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+1 #7 Mouse 2014-05-21 22:03
I'm 35 weeks pregnant and I've been signed off sick since mid-January! I was around 18 weeks pregnant. I was so worried I'd go mad with boredom but somehow I have managed to keep myself occupied. Knitting, walking, writing and reading mostly. The most important thing for me has been to make sure I get out of the house every single day. Otherwise I'd go mad! Good luck. And rest, listen to those hips!
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+1 #6 A Little Londoner 2014-05-13 15:40
I finished work at 34 weeks. I was working in a busy major trauma emergency Dept in Central London!13 hr shifts on my feet! I took 2 weeks holidays and started my mat leave at 36 weeks. My daughter was 10 days late,which meant I was off for 8 weeks before I had my baby!it was a little bit too long to be off and I ate and ate and didn't move off my bum for the 8 weeks. I can honestly say I put most of my non baby pregnancy weight on in these 8 weeks!!!
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0 #5 Hannah 2014-05-13 14:44
Quoting Leigh Kendall:
I fretted about when to take maternity leave, but in the end I had no choice because my baby arrived very early, by emergency C section, at 24 weeks. That helped me realise what is important in life. So please try not to feel guilty, and look after yourself and your precious bump. xx

Thank you Leigh, yours and Hugo's story brings everything into perspective and I treasure every single moment that my Baby C is safe and well. You're an incredibly strong woman, thank you for taking time to read about little old me xxx
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+1 #4 Leigh Kendall 2014-05-13 14:18
I fretted about when to take maternity leave, but in the end I had no choice because my baby arrived very early, by emergency C section, at 24 weeks. That helped me realise what is important in life. So please try not to feel guilty, and look after yourself and your precious bump. xx
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+1 #3 Lindsay 2014-05-13 13:43
I know how u feel I got signed off work by my gp earlier then I planned looking back now I'm glad I did as I was a support worker for adults with learning disabilitys on my feet all day too . Enjoy the rest before baby arrives it will go so fast and you will find lots to do & when baby arrives u will be glad u had this time to rest don't worry about returning to work yet I intended to go back but ended up resigning as child are was too much and I am so happy being at home with my girls . Enjoy your maternity leave xx
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0 #2 Hannah 2014-05-13 13:34
Quoting Sara:
On my first I had to stop working altogether at 22 weeks after spending much of the pregnancy in and out of hospital, hospital signed me off and I've never gone back. I just for myself into a routine of get up get dressed ns out the door every morning, go for a walk get a coffee, look at baby stuff, read a book. Then I was kept busy with finding a new place to live. In the last few weeks I cleaned and napped a lot!Eldest is 6 now. I'm at the stage where I'd like something small to keep me busy while the girls are in school. You have to look after yourself, happy mum makes. Happy baby :)

Thanks Sara, I totally agree about still getting up and dressed, even if you're not seeing anyone all day! It was the right thing to do and I know Baby C and I will benefit for me having this time to relax and prepare xx
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+1 #1 Sara 2014-05-13 13:24
On my first I had to stop working altogether at 22 weeks after spending much of the pregnancy in and out of hospital, hospital signed me off and I've never gone back. I just for myself into a routine of get up get dressed ns out the door every morning, go for a walk get a coffee, look at baby stuff, read a book. Then I was kept busy with finding a new place to live. In the last few weeks I cleaned and napped a lot!Eldest is 6 now. I'm at the stage where I'd like something small to keep me busy while the girls are in school. You have to look after yourself, happy mum makes. Happy baby :)
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