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Anyone else feel guilty for going on Maternity Leave earlier than normal?

(71 Posts)
RatherUninspired Sun 21-Jul-13 18:31:29


I chose to go on Maternity Leave at 10 weeks. It was a decision based on me not being happy in my current job (from before pregnancy) and being in a very stressful job with a commute. Anyway I am now almost 38 weeks so would def have finished work by now anyway but I still feel really guilty for going off at 30 weeks. I recently met a lot of mothers at a mothers group and none of them were going off early apart from one who had been made redundant so had chosen to stay at home for a lot of her pregnancy. I have always been very financially independent but saved up money before I went off to try and help my DH with the mortgage as much as possible. I don't really regret going off but I kind of feel like 'less of a person' for not 'being able' to stick it out till about 2-3 weeks before as I had originally planned. I was just so miserable at work and could not wait to leave but kind of feel a bit like a spoilt brat as it seems I am the only one I know to have chosen to go off early and not worked right up. I even feel a bit bad for feeling like this/like I can't say that to the people who have worked right up to 2 weeks or so before baby is due as I must seem really ungrateful and I know a lot of people just think I am really lucky. I tried speaking to my mum about it and her response was 'well it was your decision' and then moved on the conversation. Loads of other people have just been like 'so what do you do all day' - in answer to that I have been trying to relax, cleaning the house, getting baby stuff ready etc. I don't really like to tell to many people about the struggles I had at work as I feel like I have to suck it all up but I get the impression not many people understand or think I am a bit weak for 'not being able to hack it'. Has anyone else felt a bit guilty/like me when they went off or has anyone else got any kind words who has perhaps been there? I am fed up with feeling bad about it

JanieLovesLuckySocks Sun 21-Jul-13 18:44:08

hey rather, i guess you went on mat leave at 30 weeks not 10 weeks? just a typo!

i wouldn't feel guilty at all, especially if you were feeling stressed at work, you need to be emotionally and physically ready for the birth and if finishing at 30 meant you'd manage that then you've done the right thing. everybody is different, i really do not enjoy my job either and it comes with a lot o highs and lows (mainly lows), i haven't decided when to finish up but i am going to try to go on as far as possible, for financial reasons mainly, but if i feel i am getting too stressed out then i will finish early (i'm 22wks now). i know i would get a bit bored if i went off too early as i know my family and friends would be at work but that's just me!

please don't feel guilty or allow anyone to make you feel like that (they are probably a bit jealous). do your best to relax, wind down after the stresses of work, make lots of time for yourself, go swimming if you feel like it, and maybe have a pamper. you won't get the chance for as much 'me time' again so indulge in it! i salute you smile xx

nicecupofteaplease Sun 21-Jul-13 18:44:25

It sounds like you went off early because you hate your job, and pregnancy was the excuse you needed to get out. Would you have resigned had you not been pregnant? Maybe you could use your maternity leave to think about a change of direction if you hated it that much. I don't think you should feel you need to justify your decision to anyone, but the issue is not your choice regarding maternity leave but your unhappiness in your job.

Just out of interest, how did you manage it? I thought you weren't allowed to take maternity leave until 11 weeks before the EDD.

nicecupofteaplease Sun 21-Jul-13 18:46:37

Ah, you mean you went off at 30 weeks? In which case, not odd at all. I know plenty of people who have left this early, particularly where there's commuting involved.

Borisboohoo Sun 21-Jul-13 19:03:19

I left at the same time as you. It was a stressful job. I call my DD1 my ticket to freedom! I justified it not that I had to as protection for my baby, the stress and physical effort was not worth harming her over. I've never regretted it. In the 70's you had to leave at 6 months pregnant and you got 2 weeks recovery time in hospital.

Jollyb Sun 21-Jul-13 20:02:25

With my first daughter I left work at 32 weeks. I had planned to keep working til 36 weeks but just had enough. I felt ridiculously guilty about it - despite the fact that I was working 14 hour days including a 3 hour commute. I used to cry at night at the thought of working the next day. DD then didn't arrive til 42 weeks.

I'm not sure what I can advise to help you stop feeling guilty about it as I didn't manage to stop myself! With this pregnancy I worked til 35 weeks and hate to admit that I congratulated myself when I hit the magic 32 week mark. Arghh why do we do this to ourselves! Good luck

SpanielFace Sun 21-Jul-13 20:07:28

I had planned on working until 37 weeks, in the end I was signed off at 34 weeks as I was really, really struggling. I had SPD, and I'm a vet so fairly practical job with lots of time on my feet, I was finishing work hardly able to walk and with swollsm feet up to my mid-shin from standing most of the day confused. Unfortunately my boss was not very supportive when I tried to talk to him about finishing early, so in the end I asked the MW if she'd sign me off as I was struggling so much, which she did with no hesitation. Another time I'd plan on finishing at 32 weeks at the latest. You are definitely not being unreasonable.

sazzle82 Sun 21-Jul-13 20:08:43

Don't feel guilty, everyone's job is different so only they know how long they can cope for. I have said I'll work until 38 weeks, however now I have reached 32 weeks I am constantly dropping in hints that I will leave earlier if I feel I need to (I am very much looking forward to finishing).

I work in an air conditioned office, I sit down all day, I can take breaks when I want and I like my job and the people I work with. If this wasn't the case I would be finishing as soon as I could.

You're doing what's right for you, and that's all you can do X

syl1985 Sun 21-Jul-13 20:16:28

I also stopped at 30 weeks. Don't feel guilty. Stopping as soon as possible means that you'll have to go back to work earlier.

We all have, as far as I know, the same amount of weeks. It's a choice when you'd like to stop and start work again. It doesn't mean you've more time off then the other mothers if you stop with work earlier then most do.

I didn't do a lot in the house while I was working. Now I've got enough time to enjoy my last weeks of pregnancy and get the house ready without also having to go to work.

Purplehonesty Sun 21-Jul-13 20:17:48

Nah I finished at 38 weeks with ds and was totally done in. This time around I went off at 32 weeks I think as we were renovating a house and I wanted the builders to get it finished and there is nothing like a big round angry pregnant woman on site to get things moving!
Plus I wanted to nest like mad Nd spend time with ds before dd arrived.
It was great I really enjoyed my time and she came a week early so it was really only 7 weeks I had to myself but boy they were good!

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Sun 21-Jul-13 20:21:45

I stopped at 33 weeks. Had some little pangs of guilt. Once DD arrived (40 weeks) I was so, so pleased I'd stopped. I will never, ever regret it.

Please don't feel guilty, you will never have this time to yourself again and YOU ARE GROWING A BABY! grin

Fluffy1234 Sun 21-Jul-13 20:22:14

When I had DS1 nearly 25 years ago I knew hardly anyone that worked past 29 weeks. Don't feel guilty.

beachesandbuckets Sun 21-Jul-13 20:24:32

I went off at 29 weeks with dc1, mainly because my boss was being a sod and I wanted out of there. Never regretted it for one second! Now pregnant with dc3 and dc4 (twins) and still going at 36 weeks because we need the money more and my (now) bosses are great and my work very bearable. So I think it depends on the circumstances. Just relax and enjoy and ignore what other mums are doing, else you will go crazy trying to compete on all sorts (feeding, weaning, sleep, etc)

vj32 Sun 21-Jul-13 20:28:10

I left at 29 weeks, in fact was signed off a week before because I had a horrible pregnancy and commuting for work and stress of work was making it worse. I don't feel guilty at all. I wasn't doing a good job at work as I had too much time off sick, and it was effecting my health.

Why feel guilty? If you can afford to take the time off, why would you not?

ShadowMeltingInTheSun Sun 21-Jul-13 20:51:23

Everyone has a different pregnancy, different job and different working conditions. Someone who's in a job that's not stressful (either physically or mentally) will almost certainly find it easier to continue working up till 38 weeks than someone who has a stressful job.

There's no reason to feel guilty for finishing at 30 weeks if that suits you, just because someone with an easier pregnancy and / or an easier job finishes at 38 weeks.

I finished work with DS at 33 weeks. I was planning on getting the house all prepared, relaxing and so on - but my waters broke the night I finished work and DS was born a week later. So in my case, for work, me planning to finish at 33 weeks worked out better than me planning to finish at 38 weeks and then leaving them in the lurch at 33 weeks.

Obviously this was unusual, as most babies are full term, but I'm now pregnant with DC2 and planning on finishing at around 33 weeks again. IMO this will give me more time to get everything ready for DC2, spend more time with DS before I have to divide my attention between 2 DC, and relax as much as possible (Provided DC2 doesn't decide to copy his / her big brother and turn up early!)

VodIsGod Sun 21-Jul-13 21:35:29

I left at 32 weeks when I had DS2. He was due at the end of Aug and I left in early June and spent a happy summer with DS1 giving him lots of my time and attention before his brother arrived and he started preschool. I don't regret it in the slightest and you shouldn't feel guilty.

ReallyTired Sun 21-Jul-13 21:39:21

I finished at 30 weeks as I could not walk unaided due to SPD. I was working in a special school and frankly I was no use i the last few weeks.

I feel its better to take maternity leave than sick leave.

LyraSilvertongue Sun 21-Jul-13 21:58:15

I stopped work at 34 weeks, which some people considered early. But I was tired, hot (it was summer) and I was sick of the Tube. Instead of working I had a lovely last few weeks of freedom reading books and sipping cold drinks in the sunshine. I don't regret it at all.

Wincher Sun 21-Jul-13 22:12:47

I think it sounds sensible, though there is the issue of havingnless time off with the baby. I am currently 32.5 weeks and am finishing at 36.5 weeks, though I do have a week off between now and then. But am dreading work tomorrow, purely because it's going to be 35 degrees and the tube and bus will be horrid and I have to carry home a computer and a load of stuff so I can work from home the rest of the week.

islingtongirl Sun 21-Jul-13 22:19:23

I finished work on 12th at 34 weeks - some people probably call that early too and I had the same feelings as you, could I have worked longer, should i? Etcetc but a week on and I am SO happy to not be at work! Its been so hot and commuting (am in central London) would have been awful. Don't feel guilty - you will never have this time again, enjoy it!

newbabyinthestow Sun 21-Jul-13 22:58:36

This is my second child and I stopped working at 30 weeks. This is mainly to do with the fact that I had my first DS at 35 weeks- a bit of a surprise and I was still working! I had not attended NCT classes yet, or read the labour chapter of any books, I didn't have a car seat or a was weird! So I was not going to have a few weeks of preparation and rest taken away again, and with a 2.5 year old already I need it more than ever. Am now 33.5 weeks so hoping to go full term this time and enjoy the summer. Leave guilt at the door, as whatever is best for you is best for your baby. Having a strung out mum is terrible for you both, so enjoy your rest and take time to think about your next move.

valiumredhead Sun 21-Jul-13 23:02:10

I stopped at 26 weeks which was the earliest you could stop at the time. Glad I did as I had ds at 32 weeks!

FingersCrossedLegsNot Mon 22-Jul-13 00:34:46

If you can imagine yourself in thirty years time do you think you will be saying to yourself oh I wished I had continued to work or will you be saying I'm glad I took precious time to myself, that I will never ever get back again before one of the single most important and life changing events in my life.
Life is short and people won't be spending their headspace wondering about you going on maternity leave early! Enjoy every second!

chickenfactory Mon 22-Jul-13 04:49:31

I finished at 29 weeks just when I was starting to get uncomfortable. Really enjoyed the time to myself and as others have said you get 52 weeks to use as you please. I'm taking my years holidays before I go back so that's adding 5 weeks on. I was 2 weeks overdue so really did have the maximum possible!
Don't feel guilty, my 5 week old has a happy rested pretty stress free mum, I put some of that down to the fact I wasn't stressed at work towards the end.

scissy Mon 22-Jul-13 10:04:59

I went on ML at 34 weeks (Christmas) - I couldn't face coming back for a week at new year! I felt guilty about it but it turned out to be for the best, as even my colleagues noticed I was really struggling during the last week.

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