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Maternity leave?

(32 Posts)
ExhaustedMamasita Mon 20-May-13 13:49:25

Wondering if someone had any advice on when’s best to start maternity leave – 1/2/3 weeks or a month before baby’s due date?? This is my first baby and hoping I can go on all the way up until end of August with baby due very beginning of September. I work in an office job, 9-6pm, 5 days a week and travel an hour each way via London’s tube network. I’ve told my boss I plan for my last day to be the same week as baby due date but some friends have said I’m crazy to leave it so long. Maybe I should start mat leave earlier? Maybe I will be too big/ too tired to work? The commute daunts me the most to be honest!

What did you do or are planning to do? Your advice/ suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

islingtongirl Tue 21-May-13 16:40:58

Hey exhausted, yes I found it really interesting too, and just though, hey that kind of makes sense. Hormones are funny things - It's like have you ever been really busy/stressed at work before a holiday, go on holiday, relax and then you get sick? Like the adrenaline kept you going...although saying that I don't want us all to go on mat leave, relax and get sick!! So maybe that's not a good analogy, forget that, haha!

ExhaustedMamasita Tue 21-May-13 14:47:59

Wow! Thanks for all your advice and suggestions. Still have a few weeks holiday to take so will use those at the end, as some of you have suggested. My plan is to go on mat leave at 35 or 36 weeks – will speak to my boss to see what’s most suitable for the team. While the full month’s income would be great, I have to think about preparing myself mentally and physically for the biggest day of my life, spending some quality time with DH before the baby becomes our focal point of attention, resting and nesting, stocking up on freezer food etc etc – soooo many things I hadn’t considered!

BTW Islingtongirl – your comment about women going weeks overdue and having various complications during labour being down to not relaxing enough at the end is very interesting. I shall take that on board and hope everyone reading this does too. It certainly makes sense.

Gerty1002 Tue 21-May-13 10:17:23

I'm due 30 August and starting ML at 35 weeks, with one week annual leave before that, so I have 6 weeks off before my due date. I work in a gastropub though so am rushing around on my feet most of the time and am starting to struggle already (25 weeks) with leg/back ache and also the heat - and I live in the North!

I know there's a good possibility I'll be bored out of my mind as we are crazy organised and already have everything ready bar my hospital bag, but I just think I'll never have that time to relax on my own again. I can't wait smile

flipflump Tue 21-May-13 08:44:52

I can't imagine ever being bored at home waiting for baby. I'm a real home bird and can spend hours pottering.

I'm planning to finish at 35 weeks, I'll be big, hot and bothered. 5 - 6 weeks of resting, reading and nesting before baby arrives sounds like bliss to me. I want baby to have a well rested, relaxed mummy, ready to take on their newborn demands. I plan to have a clean home and well stocked freezer - if I can face it.

Don't wear yourself out, not good for you or baby. Your boss may appreciate the extra week or two but in the grand scheme of things what's a week when you're talking months off. Every penny counts of course but don't stress yourself out.

RememberingMyPFEs Tue 21-May-13 08:42:16

I have a 2.5-3 hour commute each way (Somerset-London) but WFH 2 days a week. I'm 30 weeks today and finish in 2.5 weeks time at 32+4 - AL til 34 weeks then ML.
I want to be as well rested and relaxed as possible when DD emerges so decided it was worth the pay off of returning to work slightly before her birthday.
Good luck!

RememberingMyPFEs Tue 21-May-13 08:42:16

I have a 2.5-3 hour commute each way (Somerset-London) but WFH 2 days a week. I'm 30 weeks today and finish in 2.5 weeks time at 32+4 - AL til 34 weeks then ML.
I want to be as well rested and relaxed as possible when DD emerges so decided it was worth the pay off of returning to work slightly before her birthday.
Good luck!

alienbanana Tue 21-May-13 08:35:48

Dont forget that you accrue annual leave whilst on mat leave, so you could take the rest of the years leave before you officially start your mat leave. Its what I'm doing, so I'll take 2 weeks leave first.

I'm going off at about 35 weeks though (second preg, and llikely to get SPD again.. ugh)

Its nice to have a few weeks of peace and quiet before the storm smile

Christelle2207 Tue 21-May-13 08:22:07

btw i used to do a tube commute- i am hot pretty much all of the time and the idea of doing tube every day till near the end -in august- i definitely could not do.

Christelle2207 Tue 21-May-13 08:16:38

if you have bad commute you may well struggle. i'm 29 weeks now and struggling to see how i can get to 38- back pain and pgp really set in these last few weeks!i can work from home if i need to though.
having said that my boss actually said better to carry on as long as possible (as we only get stat pay) and just get signed off if not coping! may well do that! as yiu get bigger even if you' re doing well you will look forward to having some me time before baby comes- which could be early remember!

PurplePoppySeed Mon 20-May-13 23:17:23

I'm in the sane situation, 60-90min commute into London, which includes driving to station, train to Waterloo and tube to client site, if I'm in the office it's about 5 mins walk from Waterloo with no tube. I'm due mid sept have said I will finish on the 6th but will be using holiday to wind down to short weeks from mid Aug and have asked to be off client from then too so it would be easy to leave earlier without feeling I'm letting anyone down. Still not sure if it'll work but we'll see!

CitizenOscar Mon 20-May-13 22:46:44

Pros and cons either way but I do think people underestimate how tiring late pregnancy can be. Maternity leave isn't just about time with baby, it's also making sure you're ok and healthy during late pregnancy.

I'm about to stop at 34 weeks, using annual leave for 3 weeks or so. If I didn't have a family holiday booked next week I'd probably have worked a week or two longer but no more than that. I am looking forward to resting, spending time with DH and DS1, getting stuff prepared, and sleeping!

In my job it's also really important to have a planned and managed handover etc so I would prefer to plan an earlyish leave date and manage everything properly, than a late one and have to leave in a hurry or without finishing properly (like a colleague who was sent home looking peaky & promptly gave birth that night).

But there's not really a right/wrong answer.

iamci Mon 20-May-13 21:57:13

I'm still working (due Friday). tired by the end of the day but otherwise feel fine. so busy trying to get everything sorted at work keep almost forgetting I'm pregnant! wanted to work up to due date so that I could have more time off after birth. hoping little one is slightly late - haven't got round to 'nesting' yet and house is a tip!

Stepawayfromthesweeties Mon 20-May-13 20:23:21

I'm in a similar position to you op, I work in an office 9.00am-5.00pm and have 1hr commute which is a mixture of car journey, train and walk. I had planned to work until 38 weeks, but as I got to 34 weeks started to struggle. I've got pgp and even the smallest walk feels like it takes forever and I feel like I'm dragging myself around. Plus this baby is a big un, so feeling I've I'm carrying a bowling ball in my uterus smile. I'm 37 weeks now and finishing tomorrow and I'm so ready for it, already looking forward to having a lie in on Wednesday

craftycottontail Mon 20-May-13 20:13:34

I've had the most trouble free pregnancy ever and have felt pretty fit throughout, but I was glad to leave work at 37 weeks. I did wind down considerably before that too, e.g. not going out for a walk at lunch time as it would wear me out.

I saved up 3 weeks holiday (annual leave) to take from 36 weeks so I could be more flexible. I was feeling okay so ended up staying on an extra week, which leaves me a week's holiday to tag onto the end of my leave. I started maternity leave a week before my due date (tomorrow).

I've spent 2 weeks to myself doing loads of jobs around the house/garden, enjoying some peace and me time (going to town on bus for browse around the shops etc), but this week I'm pretty knackered and can't cope with an hour of strolling round shops! I've had a bit of cabin fever and have had to get DH to drop me off at local shops on his way to work just to get out of the house, as that means I only have to walk back 20 minutes - with a stop on a bench half way!

My GP said rather sweetly that I shouldn't work past 36 weeks as I'd need that time with my DH to enjoy our last few weeks together - don't think that was a medical opinion, just her being nice! But it's true, I've so enjoyed the last few weeks just being able to spend some time together before we become a family.

Alanna1 Mon 20-May-13 19:37:01

I'm self employed so had a strong incentive to keep going for as long as I could. By 38 weeks I had had enough.

ENSMUM Mon 20-May-13 19:26:05

I finished work 4 weeks before die date with both DC, using up annual leave before officially starting mat leave. felt about right, although I didn't go over due with either and imagine if I did I would have been getting pretty fed up!

Would not like to be doing that commute so close to D Day!

MrsRoss26 Mon 20-May-13 19:22:09

I'm taking 3 weeks annual leave before my mat leave starts, but with that I'll be stopping work at 35wks. I'm at 30+5 and I'm knackered already! Increasingly struggling at wotk, and I've had an 'easy' pregnancy. Don't under estimate how tired you may get, and as others have said, leave enough time to prep for baby and relax smile

YBR Mon 20-May-13 18:50:30

OP - do you have any Leave to take? Last time I worked shorter days towards the end and/or took Fridays off to shorten the working week.
I think 9-6 plus your commute is going to be tough for you. Depending on your job and your boss you might be able to set up a combination of working from home and shorter hours.
Keep in mind that you can always stop work earlier if need be.

Snowflakepie Mon 20-May-13 18:20:41

Things get much harder after 30 weeks, from my experience. Depending on your job, how crowded your travel is, and how flexible your work can be, I wouldn't plan anything vital at work beyond 36 weeks at most. I'm now 36 weeks with DC2 and just the 10 minute walk to preschool and home again is hard, baby has dropped into my pelvis so I can't stand for long and waddle rather than walk. I get out of breath very easily. I am hot and grumpy much of the time and my feet and ankles are seriously swollen, not anything serious just the way it goes in late pg. I haven't gained a lot of weight and was a size 10 pre-pg so it's not that either. Please be sensible, a healthy pregnancy means you will be able to enjoy your baby from day 1 rather than pushing it too far and then the extra time you might have had after just gets sucked into recovery. Unless you are in a financial situation that leaves you with no option, I would try to use annual leave at the very least, around this time. If you can reduce hours or work from home that gives more options.

Interesting about the possible link to going overdue btw. I know so many people who were dealing with something stressful and then as soon as the stress was removed, had their baby. Hormones are funny things.

MrsMangoBiscuit Mon 20-May-13 16:57:56

With DD1 I went on mat leave 4 weeks before my due date, and she was nearly 2 weeks late, so I spent 6 weeks being bored out of my mind!

This time round I am hoping to start my mat leave on my due date, but will have 2-3 weeks annual leave booked off before that. I currently have a 60-90 minute commute each way on buses, including nursery pick up/drop off, so I didn't want to risk pushing it too close to my date. On the plus side, I work walking distance from my maternity ward, so if I do go into labour at work I'll be fine. grin

If my commute were shorter, I'd probably try pushing it even closer, I'd rather have the time at the other end. All that said, I am part time, so I would probably feel differently if I didn't have days off.

FortyFacedFuckers Mon 20-May-13 16:51:06

I worked until 39 weeks as I wanted it to keep as much time as I could for the other side and I was convinced DS would be late.

Meringue33 Mon 20-May-13 16:41:04

I had my first baby at 37+2!

So glad I had some annual leave to take so had finished up three weeks beforehand. As it was it was tiring, handing over properly was a big job.

And then all the preparations - the nursery wasn't ready because I foolishly thought with my first I'd probably go a few weeks overdue and had plenty of time. We spent most of DP's paternity leave doing silly things like going to Ikea when we should have been enjoying our newborn.

Definitely suggest finishing up early - you can enjoy August snoozing in the shade, swimming at lido, doing yoga and deep breathing exercises. Oh and get that hospital bag packed!

ExhaustedMamasita Mon 20-May-13 16:34:05

Thanks ladies – wow! Think I need to have a good rethink of my mat leave dates. For some silly reason, I hadn’t considered how exhausted I’d be late into my pregnancy, never mind the daily commute – foolish!

Lj8893 Mon 20-May-13 16:03:38

I'm leaving at 32 weeks but I work in retail so am on my feet all day and up and down steep stairs. If I worked in an office I would leave alot later, but I personally would still want some time to myself before the baby is here.

Like at least a couple weeks calm before the storm!

cupcake78 Mon 20-May-13 15:54:10

I'm starting at 37 weeks but have actually only one day this week at work then half term off. I'm 35 weeks. After 30 weeks things become very tiring for most people. Give yourself time before the baby comes and remember it can come at any time from 37 weeks onwards.

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