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When to take maternity leave?

(41 Posts)
FredFlintstonesSister Tue 17-Dec-13 15:34:46

When did you/ are you planning to start your maternity leave? I had tentatively said 36 weeks but have very mixed feelings. On the one hand, 4 or more weeks off before the birth seems really decadent when my husband is still working. On the other hand, at 30 weeks I am exhausted already and very tempted to just stop after Christmas! Any thoughts?

scaevola Tue 17-Dec-13 15:40:21

I worked until the last possible moment, but I had a straightforward commute and thought I may as well be sitting in an office as at home and keeping ML for when the baby was actually here. Then again, paid ML was much shorter back then.

SecretRed Tue 17-Dec-13 15:41:42

How much annual leave do you have? I finished at 34 weeks but the first four were holiday weeks.

FredFlintstonesSister Tue 17-Dec-13 15:45:08

My paid leave is 3 months full, 6 months statutory. We've pretty much decided I'll take the whole lot. Taking a few extra weeks at the start would make some difference but wouldn't be a deal breaker. I only have a short drive to work but I'm a teacher so it's pretty much nonstop once I get in. Can't even take a toilet break when I want to!

FredFlintstonesSister Tue 17-Dec-13 15:45:43

Oh, and obviously annual leave isn't an option!

Thegreatunslept Tue 17-Dec-13 15:46:08

I went at 33 weeks using 3 weeks holidays then started maternity leave at 36weeks but I do 12hr shifts on my feet most of the day so was happy to finish when I did!

Shellywelly1973 Tue 17-Dec-13 15:51:28

No ML for me. Self employed but hopefully will have a new job as of April.

Totally sick of being self employed!!

Tiredemma Tue 17-Dec-13 15:52:53

I finished at 34 weeks (first four weeks were annual leave)

oscarwilde Tue 17-Dec-13 15:55:22

39 & 37 weeks. Babies born at 39+1 and 37+0.5 respectively shock

What was your original plan ? To finish at Feb half term? Isn't a bit late to drop it on your Head not to come back in Jan or is that just wishful thinking?

I remember having a horrid energy slump both times around 30 weeks. I'd try and get tons of rest over Christmas and I think you will be glad of the extra few weeks at home when it gets to 9 months with your new baby.

Toilet break - can't you leave the door open and ask a neighbouring teacher to keep an eye/ear for 5 mins? Disclaimer: went to school in the 70's/80's and it would have been normal behaviour for hours of absences never mind a loo break

FredFlintstonesSister Tue 17-Dec-13 15:59:59

Was planning to finish Jan 24th. Head teacher says she can be flexible - they have someone lined up to cover.

MortifiedAnyFuckerAdams Tue 17-Dec-13 16:00:09

Is this your first? If so.....take all the leave ypu can spare.

It may get a bit boring,.it may not, depending how good you are at pottering and relaxing,.but you will literally never have this opportunity again.

If you ever have a second child, even your Mat Leave will not be relaxing due to having a toddler to care for.

If I were you, id go as soon as you can.

SecretRed Tue 17-Dec-13 16:15:52

If you finish at Christmas then would you be going back at the start of next autumn term? Would probably be easier than going back a few weeks into a new school year i would imagine.

AmIGoingMad Tue 17-Dec-13 16:17:01

I'm with mortified!
I'm also a teacher.

First time I went bk for a day after Christmas hols to do handover so officially started leave at 36 weeks but had had all of Christmas hols too. Went bk just before summer hols so one day bought me another 6 wks iyswim.
This time I went up to 36 weeks which was knackering and madness anyway with toddler running around! Dc2 was over a week overdue too.

On ml now and can't really think about going back at the moment. I think we have to give 3 weeks notice going bk and not the 21 working days that I was told last time. Check on that tho!

emseth Tue 17-Dec-13 17:27:26

Im finishing at 39 weeks. I might be cutting it fine but I'm lucky in that I can work from home if needed!

FredFlintstonesSister Tue 17-Dec-13 18:44:29

I'm not sure when I'm going back yet. I won't be returning straight after summer hols as in Scotland so that's the middle of August!

charliedrinks26 Tue 17-Dec-13 18:46:33

im starting at 36 weeks too, not so sure ill make it but thats my intention! im 30 weeks and have just come back from a weeks a/l and im knackered already after 2 days I work in a call centre so not a phyically demanding job but its really making me tired!!! lol plus I have spd and bring sat down allllll day is making it worse! I have no more a/l to take my leave year starts in feb baby due 27th feb and mat leave to start on 1st feb seriously considering changing my mat leave date to 34 weeks but cant make up my mind! im extremely lucky that I get a full year off on mat leave. I'm only working 1 day next week but not so sure ill want to go back in the new year! must try!!!grinxxx

InTheBEEwitchedWinter Tue 17-Dec-13 18:46:51

I'm planning to start maternity leave at 34 weeks and take two weeks leave before that.

Frizz1986 Tue 17-Dec-13 19:28:25

I start my mat leave after my final day at work tomorrow smile
I will be 36 + 5
I did plan on staying until friday (37 weeks) but realised that tiredness was setting in. In hindsight i would have finished last friday at 36 weeks as i just couldn't be bothered this week.
Thankfully i do have 7 days of annual leave to take before the end of the year so with xmas it gives me until jan 1st for mat leave to start.
Its difficult to tell early on how you'll feel but i def expected too much of myself as i am exhausted when i get home.

EmmaFreudsGivingMeJip Tue 17-Dec-13 20:05:23

I am starting annual leave at 33 + 4 (which is New Year's Eve whoop whoop) then starting ML at 36 + 3. I can't wait, I've had hyperemesis and I'm exhausted now even though I'm doing reduced hours.
I'm looking forward to time at home on my own to relax before our little boy arrives as it's the last chance I'll have!

Grumblelion Tue 17-Dec-13 20:15:12

Depends on your job I guess. Mine is pretty full on, non-stop and physical so I stopped at 35 weeks - had annual leave to use & it was Christmas/new year so I didn't actually start my mat leave until 38 weeks. I also used leave to work 4 day weeks for my last month (though I did try to arrange hospital appointments on my off days out of choice so I wasn't off too much).

I hindsight I could have managed another week at work I think but the way the dates fell I just fancied all of Christmas off for once!

sunflowered Tue 17-Dec-13 20:19:22

I'm finishing at 35+3 - 30+3 today and feeling the same 30week slump someone else has mentioned. If I didn't have some time off at Christmas it would be looking like a very long 5 weeks ahead!

Chunderella Tue 17-Dec-13 20:25:08

Of course it isn't decadent! There's a reason that maternity leave can be taken from 29 weeks onwards- it's because some women need it then. You may or may not be one of them. If you're getting a rest over Christmas, hopefully that will help you, then you can make an informed decision in the new year.

DirtyThree Tue 17-Dec-13 20:27:10

I worked until 37+5 then took annual leave until my dude date (dd arrived 39+6) but I worked from home so it was easy to stay working that long. I went back to work the day after DDs first birthday.

Am now pg with dc2 and planning on stopping at about 37 weeks, haven't yet decided to use mat leave or annual leave initially....

I worked my last day at exactly 38 weeks. Contrary to what others have said, I'd say go on as long as you can. I never got to the, 'I'm BORED! Get it OUT!' stage because I was gainfully occupied in a very active job right up until the end. Two pleasant weeks of batch cooking and napping when I felt like it and DS started arriving bang on 40 weeks. Fully intend doing the same thing with number 2 if I can.

MrsVDB Tue 17-Dec-13 20:34:47

I'm leaving on Friday (35+2) but using some holiday up. A couple of weeks ago I definitely had the I can't do it I want to leave now feeling but the tiredness has gone slightly. If you have the option to see how you'll feel nearer the time is do that smile

mamapants Tue 17-Dec-13 20:37:20

I worked till 39+2. And quite happy with that. I took a year off and wouldn't have wanted to leave DS before that. Still had all my AL pretty much, then accrued a years worth so have been receiving full pay but only working 3 days a week. Perfect for me.
Am now 20 weeks pregnant and thinking of working till about 39 weeks again. Just don't see what people do at home for 6 weeks especially if they don't have a child already. 6 weeks is a long time especially when you're heavily pregnant and can't do much anyway.and I really would want as much of the year ml to be with by baby- would hate to leave them earlier than that.

VoodooChimp Tue 17-Dec-13 20:38:36

34 weeks both times.

colafrosties Tue 17-Dec-13 20:41:40

I started mat leave about 10 weeks before my due date. I was going to work longer but was completely exhausted! We were also having our flat done up so there was a lot to do at home.

InTheBEEwitchedWinter Tue 17-Dec-13 21:07:41

I like pottering around at home - we've just moved house so there will be some decorating to do and my best friend is coming over from Germany to visit for a few weeks, so I am looking forward to just vegging out and chatting with her and maybe doing up the nursery together.

Back home you automatically start mat leave 6 weeks before EDD so it just seems normal to me to do it that way and work is stressful so I'm looking forward to getting out of there as soon as possible.

MissCalamity Wed 18-Dec-13 16:03:00

I finished work at 35+2 with DS, and took 3 weeks holiday before SMP kicked in. I have a desk job which is only a 10 minute drive away but I was completely exhausted!

Luckily this was at the start of November so I had plenty of time to do my Christmas shopping in, and only started getting bored on my actual "due" week.

This time I am finishing at 35+6; and taking 2 weeks holiday before SMP. I am now only working 4 days; and at 21 weeks I currently feel fine, but do remember how shattered I was first time round, so I'm not going to be a hero....plus it ties in nicely with a weekend away. smile

It's entirely up to you, as other posters have said they've been fine up to 38 weeks or so, but I definitely knew it was not for me!

SweetPea86 Wed 18-Dec-13 16:23:36

I'm 24 weeks and dying on my feet. Crippling back ache and still have a bit of sickness I'm going to be leaving early at 30 weeks. I work 6 days a week and I'm on my feet the whole time don't get much time to sit.

Didn't expect pregnancy to be so emotionally exhausting sad

tgamble13 Wed 18-Dec-13 16:24:54

mines starts xmas eve ill be 36 weeks. ive a long commute will be ever so glad to get finished. this is my first and as some wise woman posted itll be ur last chance of doing exactly what u want when u want! some women nearly think theyre martyrs for not takin ml till the nearly end! midwives where am from are now encouraging expectant mums to take ml sooner rather than later for preparation both physically and mentally. (I know some women havent got the luxury of this but if u do go for it!)

good luck in whatever u decide smile

quackojuliet Wed 18-Dec-13 16:42:52

I'm also a teacher and worked til 34 weeks - was hoping to go til 36 but pgp kicked in and rendered me useless.

Teaching doesn't really compare with a lot of other jobs so it isn't always useful to think about when others took their leave. Saying that, at my school recently a teacher worked up until 40 weeks but also in the borough a year or two a teacher gave birth in the classroom and the TA delivered the baby! There's a lot of bravado about this and I don't think that really helps !!

I am happy with 34 weeks and have really appreciated the nesting and prep time. Modwives often recommend a calm period before the birth because a stressed mum really does make a stressed baby. School can make accomodations but they can't change the fact that the day is always loud and unpredictable with pushing and shoving in the corridors and you are responsible for groups of young people!

You have done really well to get to the end of this term,so shattering for all teachers pg or not. Get as much rest as you can over the hols and then see how you feel. Remember you can be signed off up to 36 weeks when ML kicks in automatically.

Pooks123 Wed 18-Dec-13 16:47:55

Think about the time off as a buffer between work and parenthood. A time to network and get ready for a new way of life. it is seriously worth taking as long as you can. in the long run you will really enjoy it.

quackojuliet Wed 18-Dec-13 16:56:51

pooks that's a lovely way of putting it. I wish someone had said something as kind to me when I was wrestling with whether to struggle on or not.

BlackholesAndRevelations Wed 18-Dec-13 21:18:48

3 months full pay is way better than the 4 weeks we teachers get in England!!

Anyway why decadent? You're the one who's carrying the baby. It's emotionally, physically and mentally draining. I worked up to 36 weeks and was practically crippled with SPD by the end. 36 weeks sounds more than realistic!

Naturegirl82 Wed 18-Dec-13 22:26:14

I planned to work until 36+2 then use leave so would start ml at 38+5, but I had a 1.5hour daily commute and a stressful job, and a stressful pregnancy. Felt guilty about bringing leave forward but I finished at 34+2 instead as I was exhausted and best decision I made. But I didn't intend to take full maternity leave allowance so it hasn't affected my return date. Do what is best for you, only you know how you feel.

Anothermrssmith Wed 18-Dec-13 23:02:08

Started mine at 33 weeks but as I'm diabetic being induced at 38 weeks,which is the first week of January. Had I been due any other time of year would have kept going for another couple of weeks but wanted a few weeks before Christmas to get organised. Just as well I did as the pregnancy insomnia has well and truly kicked in since I finished up!

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 18-Dec-13 23:36:46

34 weeks here if I can stick it out. I'm a market trader and its pretty bleak out there in January! sad Given that the baby is likely to turn up around 37 weeks I'll be quite pleased if I can make it. Lots of leave left over for after then!

quackojuliet Wed 18-Dec-13 23:46:07

Also don't bank on having '4 or more weeks' before giving birth if you leave at 36 weeks. Pregnancy is unpredictable and baby might arrive sooner than expected. You'll be very glad to have a buffer if he/she shows at 37 weeks!

didireallysaythat Wed 18-Dec-13 23:53:41

41 weeks with DS1 - induced at 42.
39+3 with DS2 - elcs at 39+5

Statutory mat leave so wanted to leave it for post birth. Back to work at 3 months both times. Bloody knackered for the last 7 years !

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