Going off on maternity leave has a mix of emotions and how you feel about it really does depend on a number of factors including how much you enjoy your job, your finances, how far you are in your career, etc.
Most people I speak to are totally excited and can’t wait until they go off on maternity leave. I know when I was pregnant, I used to say ‘one of the best things about pregnancy is maternity leave’! I could not wait but not everyone feels this way.
Guilt is one thing that gets to us all and this is one emotion that you may be feeling at the thought of maternity leave. “How will they cope without me”, “Only I know how to get things done around here”, “what will happen to my job”, to that promotion”, thoughts like this tend to be going around in the minds of expectant mothers.
I went back to work after just 2 months and everything had changed. Someone had taken over my role and did not want to leave it. I hated being back. I just did not fit in anymore and I had to fight hard to get back my position even with HR rules protecting me. It’s the underlying discrimination of being out of the office for such a long period of time that is hard to combat.
Then it’s the fear of being away from the office and losing the confidence to go back after a long break. It’s even the thought of just being a mother when you have always identified yourself as your career. There are so many factors that play out in our minds when we think of maternity leave, at a time when we should really be relaxed and calm. Instead, we are rushing around trying to put things in order, doing handovers all in an attempt to stop someone having the finger pointed at us and blaming us for something that has gone wrong whilst we’re on leave. We can hear the voices saying ‘it was her she did it’.
The point is you have earnt the right to go off on maternity leave. It is now your time to spend with your baby without guilt or fear. It’s a time to be enjoyed and slip into the role of motherhood. Take out all the thoughts of what may happen without you or when you go back after maternity leave, out of your mind, and just focus on the now. Remember the future is the future, it has not happened so there’s no point worrying about something that may never happen and enjoy the moment.
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