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work stress and maternity leave(10 Posts)
I'm 32+3 and work is a nightmare. The short version is that I am only member of staff left together with the partner (when I started 6 months ago there were 5 others) but I am the one who is able to do 90% of the work.
Yesterday we were taken over by a larger firm which means additional travelling for me. Senior manager has made it clear what she thinks of me and my new bosses haven't even given me time of day. There is no plan in how I am going to hand over my work or to who and they are very keen to teach me their systems bearing in mind I only have 2 weeks left before I start maternity.
I have been struggling with my back and sleeping as well as stress of the situation. My doc has said that he will sign me off for 2 weeks taking me up to my maternity leave. I am just finding it hard as have never been signed off before and don't want to let my clients down. Just supposed I want reassurance that being selfish here is the right thing to do.
Sounds very much like they don't give a hoot about you and your wellbeing so I'd do it -you need to take care of yourself.
You will never get this time back, take that time, you are far from being selfish. Right now you need to focus on you and your baby nothing else, it sounds like they lack loyalty to you. In ten years time you probably will have a different job and will regret not looking after yourself now, I have made that mistake, never again! Your entire perspective will change when you have your baby and I promise you, you will not regret taking the time, your body needs to prepare and you need to rest, it's exhausting being pregant without work stresses on top of it.
I colleague of mine faced a similar dilemma, (teacher and didn't want to let kids/colleagues down). After one particularly bad day close to the end of her pregnancy she said she had suddenly had enough and decided that other people and what they wanted/thought were not more important than her baby. She reckons she felt much better after that and left for early Mat leave shortly after!! Your health is very important and the last thing you need is to run yourself in to the ground before labour and a new born. What is the saying on here... Be kind to yourself. Take the sick leave - say it's doctors orders if you have to. Rest and enjoy xx
I think I'm correct in saying that they would be within their rights to start your maternity leave early if you take sick leave this close to your mat leave starting. I may be wrong but just something to check.
If you can do it without using up maternity leave that you wanted for after the baby, I say 'go for it'. If your employer isn't respecting your pregnancy, then they don't deserve your anxiety and respect. I totally understand being worried about your clients - do they know when you are starting maternity or could you just send them an email saying you are starting now and you will be back in touch when you return?
They can only start it early if the sick leave is pregnancy related and is in the last 4 weeks of pregnancy (so not applicable to the op)
Your health and that of the baby's is paramount, so if you feel it is seriously going to suffer, then you should get signed off (check your maternity policy- prey related illness sign off can trigger your mat leave and start the clock running early- often from 36 weeks, which it sounds like would be OK for you anyway).
I sympathise with your plight. It sounds like you work in professional services (as do I). In that industry, which is so client focussed, there can be real pressure not to "let clients down" and that pressure can become an instrument of self torture. Don't self flagellate! Having said that, post merger times are always delicate and I think you need to balance on the one hand the need to have time off for your wellbeing against your long term prospects at that firm. The former will always be paramount , but you yourself will know that it is never something to enter into lightly. Is there any way you can compress your hours for the next few weeks, or work from home for a couple of days? I am hopefully going to work up until 38/39 weeks unless the baby actually comes early, but I have made it clear I'm working at my pace and from my chosen location with Skype if needs be. Is a flexible solution like that an option for you?
Outside of work, please practise your self care! Lots of breathing exercises (yoga, mindfulness), and eat well and get lots of rest- all good stress busters.
Thank you for the replies so far. Makes me feel happier in myself, it's just so difficult but I know you are right, me and bump are most important. I have got certain clients that I can contact and will do so to let them know, most of them already how how tough it's been on me anyway so don't think it will surprise them. Just not what you want or need so close to little one arriving (especially as it's my first!!!)
@citymole. You are spot on with my job, which is why I do feel a loyalty to my clients. With the firm we have had the merger with they are very much an old school firm who do not let anyone other than partners have regular client contact. They want me in the office to mould me to their ways rather than concentrate on the handover which in my mind is far more important. I have to be careful but essentially I know it is not a firm that I envisage continuing my career in!
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