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To have a baby despite work?

(67 Posts)
MrDarcyWillBeMine Mon 11-Feb-19 23:26:54

I’ve worked for a large Multi nat for almost 2 years. Simultaneously a mature student about to complete a much desired qualification.

I recently cut back on hours slightly to allow for study time and work have been Accomodating, but have made it clear this is not a long term option as my absence leaves my small team (3 people) in a VERY difficult position picking up my slack. They’ve talked about me ‘making it up once I finish my study’.

The thing is, DH and I plan to start a family as soon as I finish (have both wanted this for some time now). I have vaguely mentioned this at work but think they were under the impression I’d have progressed by then - I won’t have!

We plan to have at least 2 children (maybe 3) in close (ish) succession (if nature accommodates us) and whilst I like my job and the people I work with I can’t help but think this will cause massive friction!

I highly doubt they’ll get any mat cover for me as recruitment takes months and I’ve yet to see anyone be covered during Mat leave. Most teams just cope but mine is so small it will make a much bigger difference and I’ll barely be back before I’m off again having the next!

I’ve put in two good years (gone over and above with very positive performance feedback) and the company Mat pay is one year FULL!!! So I’d be crazy to simply leave!

I guess I’m wondering if anyone else has been in this situation. What happened? AIBU to worry?

deadliftgirl Mon 11-Feb-19 23:38:01


The joy of having children does not remotely compare to that of any position you may be employed within. I think its VERY hard for women who have careers and also want a family. Its so much easier for men and its not fair at all.

Your career will not suffer just because you have children. You are entitled to mat leave and all the necessary legal government benefits associated with your pregnancy. As you have 1 full year paid mat leave then thats great take it, they cannot discriminate you for taking it or getting pregnant. I would advice you to just not tell anyone your wanting a family until your 16 weeks pregnant. They cannot fire you because of it especially considering you have been there 2 years already.

The other thing is when you start TTC it can take up to and over 1 year. I have been TTC for 6 months and I recently found out that I will not conceive children naturally and my only option is IVF. Having a family is so important to me and as much as I am working towards a pretty successful career (in academia) I would swap that in a heart beat to have children but I am a bit biased based on my own circumstances. So anyways it can take a while to get pregnant so do not put off trying because when you do you are then a year behind so to speak depending on your circumstances. Start trying if you want to and if you fall pregnant deal with that then.

I am sure your career will still be there for you when you go back to work and if you have a good job you will be able to have time and money to find good childcare.

MrDarcyWillBeMine Mon 11-Feb-19 23:44:12


Thanks for the advice. I’m so sorry you’re in that situation and hope you do manage to conceive in the near future.

I know I have legal rights and can’t be fired...etc but I’m worried about it creating an ‘atmosphere’ in which it would be unpleasant to work.

I feel like I’ll be taking the p***, or at least it will be viewed that way. I’ve been a very good employee otherwise but it makes me feel rather vulnerable.

Ihavealwaysknown Mon 11-Feb-19 23:48:44

I’m currently on mat leave with DC1. I had an awful pregnancy so was off work for a lot of my pregnancy also. Our plan is similar to yours to have DC in close succession.

I’m already not overly popular with some colleagues, however, can I let these colleagues rule over my family? I don’t think I would be happy with myself if I did! I’ve been in my job 4 years, and have worked hard and intend to continue to work hard (but only 4 days) when I return and before going off again.

So it’s up to you, will your colleagues dictate your life? You’re legally protected so technically shouldn’t have any repucussions form your actions, and likelihood some of them will move on before you finish your family!

onegrapeshortofabunch Mon 11-Feb-19 23:52:33

If the company has a generous mat leave policy then it suggests that at some level they support parents in the work place and value their contribution. The problem is not that you plan to have a baby, but that they don’t plan to make arrangements for cover.

Sadly, most women I know (myself included) are discriminated against at work whilst pregnant or on mat leave. So do what you want to do, stay professional, work hard, don’t feel like you owe anything extra because you intend to do the very normal thing of having a baby, and don’t put up with any bullshit.

Loopyloopy Mon 11-Feb-19 23:52:56

You are not responsible for your employer's actions, and you are not responsible for them not covering your mat leave.
Yes, they might make things hard for you, but don't put things off because of that. I'm facing not having a third child because I delayed having kids for work.

blackteasplease Mon 11-Feb-19 23:54:10

I would just get a thicker skin about atmospheres.

coffeeforone Mon 11-Feb-19 23:58:21

How much of your job could you help with remotely? Could you do bits while on leave (if they are paying you full pay regardless you could come to an arrangement where your just on paid 'leave' instead of mat leave after the first few weeks), then you don't need to worry about how much you do.if you want to that is. I say this because I'm on mat leave at the moment and still covering a fair amount remotely as I love my job, it's a small team and I wasn't able to hand everything over.

Of course you are totally reasonable to just disappear for a year but it sounds like you might want to help cover if you can.

MirriVan Tue 12-Feb-19 00:35:58

I was left in a shit and stressful situation at work due to a colleague taking maternity leave.
I didn't blame her though - it's up to employers to anticipate and cover for maternity leave.
If your colleagues are the type to blame you rather than policy then I wouldn't waste time caring about them.

YouBumder Tue 12-Feb-19 00:37:52

Don’t live your life worrying about a large company who when push comes to shove don’t give a shit about you and would replace you in the blink of an eye if you keeled over tomorrow!

TheSandgroper Tue 12-Feb-19 01:32:37

There is always Cate Blanchett's explanation. She was on Michael Parkinson once talking about having to give up a role (I think) because of pregnancy. "I'm married, I love my husband, these things happen". Shrug of elegant shoulder.

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Tue 12-Feb-19 01:44:33

Please TTC at a time that suits you, not your current colleagues. In 30 years time you probably won't know any of these colleagues, and you will be disappointed if you didn't have kids for these people.

Your company has a really generous maternity package, at a higher level your company must support maternity leave.

If your company chooses to not recruit mat leave cover, that is their choice, it is not your fault. As a multinational I'm sure they can afford cover.

Don't talk to your colleagues about planned pregnancies. Don't feel pressured into telling them too early, definitely not before the 12 week scan.

It's a normal thing for people to have babies, get sick, have hobbies and study and priorities other than work. Of your colleagues don't like this, they need to employ robots instead!

MrDarcyWillBeMine Tue 12-Feb-19 07:48:55

Thanks for the advice. It’s not something I’d thought about massivley until now. I’d always known ‘I’m going to have children’ but never considerered it creating an awkward work situation.

NoArmaniNoPunani Tue 12-Feb-19 07:53:33

I year full pay is fantastic. I was going to suggest shared leave until I read that. I did shared leave with DH and went back when DS was 4 months, but that was a much easier decision for us as I was only on smp and earned more than DH.

Jackshouse Tue 12-Feb-19 07:59:38

Sounds like a shite company if they can’t organise a maternity cover with 6 months notice.

fezzesarecool Tue 12-Feb-19 08:04:08

Just go for it, if work don’t cover you then that’s on them.

I was 10 weeks pregnant with my second and then my company went into administration. Luckily enough I got another job and I decided to disclose at interview, they took me on and I literally did 6 months before taking a year’s maternity and have now been back with them just over a year.

If I hadn’t been pregnant at the time because of the work circumstances I would have put off ttc until now and I’m so glad it’s worked out the way it has.

MrDarcyWillBeMine Tue 12-Feb-19 10:23:32

One of the things really irritating me currently is:

Them: Oh, are you planning to have a family? (Frankly a bit of an intrusive question anyway as we could have been trying for years without success for all they know 😡)
Me: Yes, as soon as I’ve qualified!!
Them: Oh, well you have plenty of time for that, don’t rush!!

I feel like this is something said to women far too often. It leaves me feeling like I should wait - despite not wanting to! Then if I do wait, and subsequently struggle TC (which is common) I’ll be told I ‘shouldn't Have waited so long’ 🤔

RiverTam Tue 12-Feb-19 10:27:23

well, yes - or it could be them saying that it would be a shame to put in so much work into that qualification and then to plan to leave for a good chunk of time soon after. I mean, I think it's rather odd to work hard for a professional qualification and not then want to enjoy the fruits for that for at least a couple of years before moving on to the next thing.

toomuchfaster Tue 12-Feb-19 10:41:53

I have delayed and delayed a second pregnancy due the time at work never be right, now it's too late and I hate my job and the people I work with. Don't let it rule you in any way.

MrDarcyWillBeMine Tue 12-Feb-19 13:01:42


I know ALOT of people (some family included) believe this. But honestly, I’m now 27. My life to this point has been this long check list of things which ‘need’ to happen before it’s ‘socially acceptable’ for us to have a baby.

So now I’ll qualify and if I work for say 2 more years in my profession, I’ll be up for promotion! Then I’ll get the chance to do ANOTHER higher qualification...then the cycle repeats itself.

Until I’m in my 50’s there will always be a reason to postpone and I’m fed up. I want a baby, we own a home, we earn six figures.

😂 what else does society want from me?

Polarbearflavour Tue 12-Feb-19 13:11:43

Who cares what society or people think? Nobody else is actually going to be emotionally invested in your life.

Have a baby when you want to!

Racecardriver Tue 12-Feb-19 13:13:19

Why would getting a mat coverbeso difficult? Is it simply a case of mismanagement or is it the nature of the industry? Maybe yourDH could be the one that stays home with the baby instead if it is easier for his employer? Ultimately it’s downright unreasonable to expect employees to not have a personal life and it really should be the employer that works around the reality of people’s lives not the employee who works around an employers unreasonable expectations. As long as you are working in a team like that (even in general) there is never going to be a good time to have children so I wouldn’t plan around that too much unless there is a chance of moving into a team where the impact won’t be so big or some other opportunity presents itself for an obvious career break.

BlackberryandNettle Tue 12-Feb-19 13:13:41

Absolutely crack on with family plans - you can't predict how easy/difficult it may be to conceive. We had problems but eventually had three in fairly quick succession, absolutely love it. One thing to be wary of - the company could I think choose to make you redundant. If they do this they still have to allow you notice, but if you finish before 25 weeks I don't think they would be required to pay maternity pay (you'd just get maternity allowance).

LaurieMarlow Tue 12-Feb-19 13:20:44

OP, start TTC when you want to. Work will cope. It's not your responsibility to figure out your cover.

Even the best employers (and I'm lucky enough to have very decent ones) will not hesitate to put their interests above yours if things get difficult. Never feel bad about doing the same for yourself.

Dimblebimble Tue 12-Feb-19 13:25:26

*One of the things really irritating me currently is:

Them: Oh, are you planning to have a family? (Frankly a bit of an intrusive question anyway as we could have been trying for years without success for all they know* 😡*)
Me: Yes, as soon as I’ve qualified!!
Them: Oh, well you have plenty of time for that, don’t rush!!*

Why would you tell them this?! I've deliberately been vague when asked by colleagues, e.g. 'maybe one day'. My thinking is that if there's ever the possibility of redundancies OR if I am being considered for promotion, I don't want the possibility that I may be going on maternity leave soon to impact their decision. Legally, it shouldn't, but in reality it can. Keep your cards closer to your chest.

Plus, as others have said, it could take longer than you think. It took me 6 months, then I miscarried, and suddenly it was a year later and I was no closer to having a baby (pregnant again now though so fingers crossed it works out this time). But my point is you could have a couple of years of work before your maternity leave starts, so why set colleagues alarm bells ringing now?

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