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Would it be ridiculous to return to work now?

(17 Posts)
Connie49 Sat 11-May-13 20:39:41

One maternity leave with dc2. Due to return to work in one month. Have found out that I'm pregnant with dc3. The only problem is...that I was pregnant when I returned to work after maternity leave with dc1. So, yes, that was embarrassing enough...but for it to happen again seems beyond cheeky. Really don't know what to do. We had fertility treatment before conceiving dc1 so when I got pregnant with dc2 that was a major shock, although we were also very happy. I never thought it would happen so easily. This time I was a bit more aware but we had a bit of slip-up. I honestly didn't expect to get pregnant again so soon (it really was just the one 'accident') and while I have no problem at all with having three children that will be (just) under 3, I am desperately concerned that it just isn't 'right' to return to work. I am worried about what my boss and colleagues will think and tbh I feel very guilty about it. I don't want it to look like I am taking the piss and am wondering if I should just quit altogether rather than go back and face the music. If I didn't have work to worry about I would just feel happy and excited to be pregnant again. I love having two children so close together in age and always wanted another anyway. But the work issue is really troubling me and I don't know what the right thing to do it. Has anyone been in a similar position? How would you feel if this was one of your colleagues? Can I ask you to be gentle please as I am feeling a bit emotional about the whole thing and am really trying hard to figure out what the right thing to do about work is. tia.

PerfumedPonce Sat 11-May-13 21:17:09

What sort of work do you do? Did your company have to employ someone to cover you while you were on maternity?

blueshoes Sat 11-May-13 21:42:25

Depending on how long a maternity leave you took for dc2, if you don't go back to work, you might lose your job protection. You might not have the choice to go back to work after dc3. Are you happy with that?

shufflehopstep Sat 11-May-13 21:42:56

Please don't worry. You haven't done anything wrong. You are pregnant for goodness sake. You are bringing the next generation into the world that will look after all of us when we are old and can't work any longer for ourselves. smile There are plenty of people who have come back pregnant in my work. Not sure how many have done it more than once but at least 5 people (off the top of my head) have done it at least once in my department. Unless you work for a small company that genuinely will struggle to do it, they are supposed to build a structure that will accommodate this. You are better staying on the payroll if you have 3 children rather than leaving with no alternative job to go to. Finding a job is not easy at the moment.

You are not "taking the piss" as you only get paid for the time you spend in work, the government pays SMP not your employer so they are not paying two salaries if they are paying someone to cover your leave. You could go on maternity leave as early as you can, taking any holidays in advance to make the gap between as short as possible and this might mean they could keep the person on who has been covering your leave up to now. Speak to your boss and work out the best way to do it to suit everyone, but don't hand your notice in out of guilt. You haven't done anything wrong and, anyway, you are protected by European Law for anything to do with maternity and childcare and if they treat you differently, you could be covered by the Sex Discrimination Act as a result of indirect discrimination. Why would you feel like this? Were things said last time?

I have to be honest, I have never really understand this viewpoint. I've worked for plenty of companies and they do what suits them and their profit margin the best. I work hard when I'm at work but I have been made redundant and my husband has been made redundant enough times to know that decisions are made on a purely commercial level and you should view your relationship with them (the company that is) in the same way.

Connie49 Sat 11-May-13 21:56:48

Thank you for the responses. Shuffle I do feel guilty! If I could take work out of the equation I would just feel complete happiness but it is a real worry that I have got into this situation again. It was embarrassing enough the first time! My company did not need to employ anyone to cover me while I was away and I only received SMP so there are no worries in that respect. I suppose it is the embarrassment more than anything else! I am lucky in that I don't absolutely need to work - we could live on dh's salary alone - but I am nervous about giving up my financial independence. The question is whether that outweighs my horror at having to tell my boss the situation! I suppose there is also the question of whether it might be worthwhile staying home and looking after the children (all three of them - gulp!) while they are all so young...but, again, the worry about not ever being able to get back into work must be considered. I really don't know what to do. I am no spring chicken so I suppose after we had dc1, we were always going to have the other(s) in quick succession but I just didn't expect it to be quite so quick.

As I said, my company don't need to arrange cover and don't pay anything above SMP so there is no concerns on that score, but it is quite a competitive environment and I can just imagine how my 'situation' would be received. I think people would be quite scornful and probably I would be a bit bemused myself if someone came back from mat leave pregnant a second time. The question is do I suck it up and stick it out or do I just bail and run now...and worry about getting back into work in a couple of years time?

mikkii Sat 11-May-13 22:02:51

If you can manage to afford childcare for DC's after the current maternity leave, you are entitled to maternity leave and pay again. It ain't happened where I work, but my boss and I have discussed it. His attitude was, it can happen, we'll deal with it.

Congratulations, but maybe after this one you need to be aware that you may not have problems conceiving anymore.

Connie49 Sat 11-May-13 22:06:17

Yes, mikki, I think I can say I'm definitely cured now! smile

mikkii Sat 11-May-13 22:06:57

In fact, I think you may even be able to back o back the leave without going back if the dates work right!

lovefreelance Sun 12-May-13 05:34:21

I definitely agree you need to stop feeling guilty - you know you didn't plan this, so what does it matter what people who don't know you think? Especially if they're going to automatically jump to negative conclusions... they're not the kind of people whose opinions I (personally) would care about anyway smile

You say your employer doesn't need to cover your role, nor do they pay you over SMP, so it's not a financial inconvenience to them. And let's face it, most organisations will usually put their bottom line before their employees feelings, so don't feel bad about them!

If it was a small firm that relied on you, I would certainly take the time to explain what had happened and try to work with them to minimise the impact on their business, but it doesn't sound like your company is this tiny.

Personally, having read your replies on here, the bigger question is what YOU want from your career. How important is your career to you? If it's a big part of you, you may want to consider keeping your foot in by returning between babies two and three, and going back after your third.

If you do take time out, you can always look at studying complementary courses at home to keep your skills up and adding to your knowledge.

Or you may find, like many of my friends have done, that after a couple of children your attitude to your career changes. And though you still need to do something 'for you', you no longer fit into your old box. Lots of my friends have used their skills and either gone freelance or started some kind of business from home that works around their kids - one of them recommended this site to me a couple of weeks ago as it talks about just this

The important thing is to not let this worry ruin your pregnancy - and to make sure you do the right thing for you and your family. I found out I was accidentally pregnant with my first baby two weeks after being hired for a job once. I felt bad and worked until the day before my due date. My commute was two hours each way and I never took a day off sick (even with awful morning sickness) and worked late often in my third trimester. I went back when my baby was four months and again never took a day off. But six months later, despite having a glowing annual review, I was illegally laid off in favour of a cheaper (male) junior employee who wanted my position. Trust me that changed the way I viewed loyalty to employers after that!

Congratulations on your pregnancy and good luck in making the right choice for you smile

poocatcherchampion Sun 12-May-13 19:08:57

this is my fear too! I am currently pregnant with dc2 and I've been back from mat leave for 2.5 months and going off again in 2.5 months. I am totally fine with the finances side of it as the employer contribution isn't that much, but I do feel bad for the continuity side of things. it is fine at the moment but we are thinking the same gap between numbers 2 and 3 and I do feel that they might be annoyed that time. but of course it is illogical to build a family around work. so if it happens I'll just feel bad about it and they will probably be fine to my face!

Doiodledandy Sun 12-May-13 22:13:29

Go in there with your head held high, you have nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. Enjoy your maternity leave, after all your entitled to it and you are also entitled to continue to work after your little one is born. It doesn't matter what others think it's your life and your family. Good luck with your third pregnancy x

Connie49 Mon 13-May-13 15:48:06

Thanks to everyone for their responses. Unfortunately, I have already learned a little about the futility of loyalty to company. When I was pregnant with my first child I was told that it was 'a shame' as it was going to adversely affect my progress in the company. Their argument was that if I wasn't around the work and 'perform' then I would be able to be promoted as quickly as there wouldn't be the evidence to support it. This was despite the fact that I worked up to my due date and came back to work 4 months after the birth. I felt I did everything I could to minimise the impact of my pregnancy/maternity leave and yet I still completely shafted by them. Needless to say, I didn't feel quite so sentimental the second time around and took my full maternity entitlement.

I suppose it doesn't really matter how I got into the situation as I will hardly be explaining the circumstances in great detail to anyone. It doesn't matter if it was planned or unplanned because that's not a conversation I would or should have with them. So I can only go on it will 'look' to people and I guess that it will look like I have planned this. It is going to be very difficult to go back and brazen it out but I guess it is what needs to be done. It is encouraging to read the responses above though and hear that not everyone at least would be judgemental or critical of a third pregnancy in such a short time. A pity I don't work with some of you!

Connie49 Mon 13-May-13 15:48:54

Wouldn't be able to be promoted

Should have spell-checked first...

shufflehopstep Mon 13-May-13 23:17:15

Connie, if your employer actually said that to you, they are breaking the law. It is indirect discrimination and is covered by the Sex Discrimination Act. It might be worth speaking to your HR department, a Union rep if you have one at your company or ACAS.

Connie49 Tue 14-May-13 09:57:34

shuffle I know that it seems like it is/was illegal to say that to me but their argument is always going to be that they only promote on the basis of performance and if you aren't physically in the office to put in the time then they don't have the evidence to support promotion. I think they said at the time that it would be unfair to promote me over people who were working the whole year long.

It definitely felt very unfair but when it comes down to it I don't feel like I have/had much of a leg to stand on. It still wrenches though. Also, it would only be my word against the other person's now...and I'm sure there would be a sudden attack of amnesia if I was to raise the issue.

emstats Tue 14-May-13 10:14:34

Ooh I did this exact same thing, got pregnant when my first was only 9 months after just the 1 slip up (MinL had even warned me 9 months after is apparently when your super fertile!) Didn't even realise til I'd just got back to work, felt like a right plum!! Everyone was lovely about it tho, TBH its such a small time out of your working life and doesn't effect your colleagues or company anything like the wonderful impact it has on your family life. Don't feel bad and don't quit! It'll be much harder to get back into it if you do and YOU HAVN'T DONE ANYTHING WRONG! (I'm on my third lot of ML in 4 years! During that time they've done a lot of restructuring/redundancies at work, I've been treated totally fairly throughout and in a few months time I'll be back working for the next 35 years of my life!!! And (when I'm there!) I'm still good at what I do, and still in the same role at work that I would wish to be in regardless of whether I'd been on ML or not. Head up, its wonderful news your having another, congratulations!! smile xx

BrendaB85 Wed 15-May-13 12:01:00

Only return to work when you are ready, it can really be a strain on your releationship and family life. Good luck xxx

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