Returning to work. . .and pregnant!

(10 Posts)
onethingoranother Mon 20-Jun-16 21:27:00

I'm a regular poster & mn user but I'vd changed username for this, mainly so I don't run the risk of being outed (and I may be). I feel like I'm in a right old pickle with this one & would really appreciate some advice, encouragement or personal stories for good or bad.

My gorgeous DS is almost one & I'm back at work in a few weeks after a blissful year of maternity leave. Hated being a mum at first, mourned my old life every day still do a bit but after the first 12 weeks, things settled down & I've absolutely loved being a mum so far. I always said I only wanted one DC which DH was also happy with, but we haven't tried to prevent it happening either and what do you know. . .I found out last week I'm pregnant with DC2! After the initial shock - especially as it took us well over a year to conceive DS - we have both come round to the idea of having 2 DCs & feeling quite excited to have them so close together. There will be 20 months between them, all going well.

The one aspect I'm totally cracking up over is the prospect of telling work I'm upduffed again. I will be approximately 10 weeks pregnant when I return from my current maternity leave. I plan to wait until we have the first scan out of the way before I tell work providing I'm not showing too much and/or suffering with horrendous morning sickness. So I will be back at work for about 4 weeks when I have to tell my boss. They really struggled to replace me last time around and when they did, my counterpart then upped and left whilst I have been on maternity leave, leaving ANOTHER hole, which they filled at a lower level because they couldn't find anyone suitably qualified to fill her. I therefore know they will have a real challenge on their hands to replace me again and I'll be creating a real resourcing issue. I'm also feeling embarrassed because I made it clear a few times that my intention was to only have the one DC, including on one of my KIT days. I think I'm the last person they expect to be pregnant again.

What's making it worse (or maybe better, not sure?) is that at least two others in different departments were pregnant before they returned from maternity leave 1, and they are now off again. They both had a shorter gap and therefore a shorter period in the middle back at work than me. I think their manager took it well, but I'm not sure whether they made it clear they intended to have 2 DC so close together. I certainly didn't. There are also a couple of females directly in my department that may well be looking to have a family in the next year or so. I don't know them overly well & obviously you can't predict when these things will happen, except to say both are recently married and have said they would like to have children.

I really do care about my work & my career. I enjoy my job and am looking forward to returning after this year off. Yes, I'll miss DS, but work is very important to me. I'm so, so worried about telling them about this, and the impact I may have on things going forward, resourcing in the department for example. I don't want them to think I am taking the piss, and I am a little bit worried about what will be said behind closed doors, and whether it may have an effect on my career progressing. If it makes any difference, I am in a professional role & manage a small team of people.

Any advice or thoughts, has anyone else been through similar?

On another note, does anyone have 2 or more DC with a similar age gap, how have you found things? I am quite a relaxed mum & like an easy life so not sure how I'm going to fare with two! DS was quite an easy baby in the grand scheme of things so think I may be in for a shock if the next one isn't quite the same!

Sorry for the long post.

Dozyoldtwonk Mon 20-Jun-16 21:56:50

It doesn't sound ideal, but it's a fact of life that women of a certain age have babies. I don't think it's that unusual for women to have their DC close together & now maternity leave is 52 weeks long if you take the full entitlement, it follows that there will only be a brief return between pre anvils. It may work to your advantage that others have recently done the same. It may also work in your favour in terms of your career that you are taking both maternity leaves so close together - you can get things back on track after IYSWIM. Do you intend on having any further children? Is there anything you can do to assist them in finding a replacement for you, or anything that may make the transition to losing you again smoother?

Best of luck, you will be fine.

tootsietoo Mon 20-Jun-16 22:09:58

Have you got the option of sharing your parental leave? Would your DH take the time off his work? This should NOT be an issue that you have to deal with alone, every child has two parents! If sharing leave wouldn't work for both of you and you want to take the full maternity leave then no doubt it will be hard to tell them, but they will have to deal with it, it's life, people at a certain stage of life have children!

I was pg before my first maternity leave was up. I felt so bad about it and just couldn't see how I could handle an hours commute each way and childcare for two under twos that I just handed in my notice. It seemed like the only option at the time but I wish I had thought more about other options, and had more help and info. I now have a fucked career, although I have had the challenge and pleasure of looking after my little darlings full time! So do find a way to keep your job if you love it. This time will pass so quickly, in 5 years the maternity leaves will be a distant memory.

Incidentally two of my friends in similar jobs to me also had children fairly close together and both were really hard done by by their employers - basically shuffled into far worse roles than they had previously had when they came back from maternity leave. This was 10 years ago now, perhaps things are improving, but make sure you get back in where you left off.

onethingoranother Tue 21-Jun-16 00:43:25

Thank you for your replies. Yes, Shared Parental Leave is an option with DH, but if I'm honest I think I''d quite like the time off myself. . .and DH wouldn't be so keen! It is something we could definitely consider though.

I definitely don't won't to give up work, so really want to maintain a good working relationship with my boss and the rest of the department and company if I can. There is possible room for me to progress further and gain promotions, but I guess that isn't going to happen for a good few years now. I think I know that this second maternity leave is going to really alter my chances. But maybe you can't have everything. I guess I am just going to have to tell my boss, be as frank and as honest as I can be regarding my intentions to return & being career focused still. And hope they still see value in having me there.

Doesn't make it any easier though. Arggh.

tootsietoo Tue 21-Jun-16 10:49:37

I would really seriously consider shared leave if you want to keep your job going. Once you are cast in the role of primary caregiver it is hard to change the dynamic in your relationship back again. And if you are going to go back to work full time then you will need to agree how to share childcare - if you do everything during your mat leave then it will be a shock for your dh to suddenly have to make his work fit in with nursery pick ups, or nanny holidays or whatever.

You sound very like me before I gave up work - absolutely determined that I would go back - yet completely prepared to take on all responsibility for childcare. And if you take on that role it makes it much harder to focus on your job and be there when you need to be. If you do want to keep your career going then you need to get your dh on board with doing his share of everything, right from the beginning. Or else be completely honest with yourself and recognise from the beginning that actually you do want to be the one caring for your children and so your work will be compromised, and be accepting of that.

I bang on about this a lot because I wish someone had told me this before I merrily gave up everything, assuming I could go back in at the same place 5 years later!

onethingoranother Wed 22-Jun-16 20:19:35

I don't have to worry about DH not pulling his weight - we will be sharing the nursery runs for DS 50/50 - on the days I drop him off, DH will be picking him up and vice versa. I kind of set the bar from the start (when we had DS) that we were equal partners with regards to DC. Obviously I have done more whilst being on maternity leave but I have no concerns that it won't be left all to me when I go back to work.

I'm just very worried about works reaction of me getting pregnant again so soon. It's making me sick with worry! I need to adult & man up, I think! I can't help thinking of what may be said behind closed doors, and I'm worried I'm leaving them in the crap having to sort another replacement out. And of course I'm worried it may impact my career prospects with the company going forward when I go back after the second leave. The rational side of my brain is saying that if they are the sort of company I want to progress my career with and work for long term (I've been there 4 years already), then they will understand. I don't expect them to be overjoyed, but they will understand. And if they don't, perhaps it is time to move on anyway.

onethingoranother Wed 22-Jun-16 22:44:48

Anyone in or has been in a similar situation?

LadyLapsang Thu 23-Jun-16 21:19:21

I have worked in an environment when colleagues have done this. No one said anything behind closed doors. However, after having 2 or 3 mat leaves v close together they usually took career breaks, often followed by a pay off. I think you would send a positive message about how you view your career if you shared leave with your partner so could come back sooner. I would also keep silent on the planned / not planned / not using contraception aspect bearing in mind your previous assertion you were only planning on having 1 child.

crayfish Thu 23-Jun-16 21:28:36

You're not obligated to tell your work what your reproductive plans are (or, indeed, whether those plans change) and you cannot be discriminated against for being pregnant. Stop worrying and just enjoy the pregnancy. Yes, it might cause a resource issue at work but that's their problem to sort out and not yours. If they employ women of child-bearing age, they have to accept that those women may bear children during the course of their employment.

Fwiw a few colleagues of mine have done this and nobody seemed bothered. They worked hard when they were at work though and that's all you can do.

Congratulations! I'm back at work shortly, after having DC1 and am very jealous of you!

FuzzyOwl Thu 23-Jun-16 21:34:01

Congratulations on your pregnancy.

I am pregnant and there will be around 17 months between children, so I had to let work know that I was pregnant again whilst still on maternity leave. I am in a team of six and two are also pregnant, but it's not my problem - I know that sounds a little harsh, but it really isn't and I am trying to be as helpful as possible with my current pregnancy so that I can fit my maternity leave start date around what suits my employer. However, ultimately it is my happy and exciting time and I won't let work take that from me.

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