I am on mat leave at the moment with ds2. I've had pretty severe PND (well, strictly speaking perinatal OCD with mild/moderate depression but this is just too confusing for people to understand) - have CPN visiting house fortnightly, weekly CBT, psychiatrist, OT etc. It started in pregnancy and was at its worst in the four weeks before and after the birth and is just now (with the benefit of heaps of meds and therapy) beginning to ease up at 4 months. They are expecting I should be much better by around six months post partum.
I took maternity leave shorty after diagnosis because at the time I was too ashamed to take sick leave. However, with holidays etc I am not due back to work until April. I work in schools and colleges and would be due back prior to the Summer term but would have only six days to work over the Summer holidays. I'd like to work out how to use parental leave to not have to return prior to September apart from maybe using the six days for mandatory training (they will be fine for me to do this last week of August).
I'm thinking that I would really like to take additional unpaid parental leave because it really has been a very hard time for all of us - I want as much time as possible with my kids because really I wasn't able to be there for them as much as I would have liked due to this illness and I am only now really beginning to bond properly with my little man. A month ago I was almost having panic attacks when he smiled . I'm not keen on him being in childcare from 9 months given his early start was a bit disrupted by this stupid thing. I also want to feel very well indeed before heading back to a stressful position (though work do now know, I informed them after I went off and was thinking more clearly etc).
Just wondering what my rights are and what procedures I would need to follow, who could I contact in the first instance. Is this even allowed after maternity leave?
I have two different contracts so one is term time only and the other isn't, so I get 7 days leave a year. I used the 2011-2012 days up at the start of this maternity so will have 7 days for 2012-2013 but I would possibly need some for Christmas 2013.
This may not be universally approved of, but in your shoes I would consider chatting to your doctor about whether you are fit for work. You are able to self-cert for the first 8 days of absence in any case, and I would imagine that you may not feel up to returning by then. So don't. Nothing bad will happen.
How supportive is your manager? Might be worth chatting through how you are. I suffered from depression recently and my manager was amazingly supportive. It completely changed the way I viewed my employers.