The Parent Project: Going on maternity leave

Stepping away from something that's so important to you can be a traumatic experience.

by
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

A friend confessed to sitting on her sofa and crying for the first three days of her maternity leave.  In advance, I wondered whether stepping away from much of how I define myself into something as yet unrealised would prove equally traumatic.
 
The front of my large shiny card from the office says: ‘You’re leaving (leaving – UGH) to have a baby’. Inside: ‘No ifs, no buts, no might, perhaps or maybe. You’re leaving and we wish you well; now go and have your baby!’  Messages range from the completely illegible to a one-word incitement to ‘PUSH’. Other contributions include ‘you’re too posh to push; ‘my friend says hypno-birthing is crap: stick to drugs’, and, memorably, ‘enjoy your six months' holiday’.

I promised myself I wouldn’t be the last to leave the office that day, but after an indulgent cake, tea and speeches and endless sorting I found myself wandering through our deserted floor at 7pm breathing in the details, like you do when you move out of a house. I stared intently at the offices and workstations and wondered what would change while I am away.  When I announced my pregnancy, our CEO advised against starting to plan too soon: much can change in six months, he said.  Time has proven him right, so the same must also be true for the period until my planned return in another six months. [CONTINUES]

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The Parent Project: Going on maternity leave

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