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Feeling guilty about starting mat leave

(27 Posts)
MissBax Mon 10-Jul-17 05:08:34

I'm 33 weeks pregnant now and reallyyyyy starting to struggle - I can't sleep (bad back) and toss and turn all night. I'm going to end up calling in sick again today as I've been up all night. So I'm thinking of starting my mat leave at the end of this week, but that's still 6 weeks from due date, and if baby is potentially overdue that could be 7-8 weeks I'm sat around that I won't be with DD at the end of my leave.
Has anyone else done this and regretted it? I don't want to feel bad as once I've started my mat leave it's not like I'm going to be able to change my mind!

Sparklyuggs Mon 10-Jul-17 05:45:35

I've ended up being off since 30 weeks due to health, but I was due to finish at 35 weeks because of when a contract ended. I'm glad I've been off as I feel much better than I did and better equipped to handle the newborn stage than if I'd kept going.

My view is a lot can change before the end of mat leave, but if you are struggling now then it's a good idea to use the leave to take it easy and rest whilst you can.

LastOneDancing Mon 10-Jul-17 05:54:44

I wouldn't get too worked up about 'wasting' maternity. A lot of people are ready to go back earlier than the full 12 months. If you don't feel well enough to work that's what ML is partly for.

Have you used all your AL?

SleightOfHand Mon 10-Jul-17 05:57:22

Could you not get signed off sick.

MyCalmX Mon 10-Jul-17 06:01:28

I'd try to hang on a little longer. I know lack of sleep is tough, I've probably had a max of 2 hours last night but just have to plod along and when you're pregnant most people give you some slack.

Can't comment on the bad back, as a pp suggested could you get signed off for a week and see if it helps?

MissBax Mon 10-Jul-17 06:06:18

Sleight - yes I could, I was thinking of possibly doing that for a couple of weeks and then triggering mat leave but would feel bad prolonging it. I know I shouldn't but I just would!
I used my remaining AL at the beginning of the pregnancy as I suffered badly with HG.
Thanks for the reassurance everyone, it's insane that there's so much pressure to be "supermum" and baby isn't even here yet!
Both DM and MIL talk about how they went right up to the end and even though they didn't say it to make me feel bad, I can't help but feel like a bit of a failure for not doing so myself!
But like you sparkly - I think it's just as valuable to use the time wisely now - eat well, get more sleep, be prepared and ready for besting etc. Surely that will set me up to being a better mum in the long run, it's not an endurance test is it?

MissBax Mon 10-Jul-17 06:07:13


Lules Mon 10-Jul-17 06:10:18

I've just brought my ML forward to 31 weeks (was due to go at 35). I've had HG too and it's got too hard. I did feel weird about it but it isn't an endurance test as you say. I was also ready to go back to work at 9 months last time - a year is a long time.

MissBax Mon 10-Jul-17 06:16:44

Lules - how far along are you now? Are you glad you took it? Are you planning to keep busy in that time and get things sorted or just rest?

WannaBeAWarhol Mon 10-Jul-17 06:28:48

You need to do what's best for you. I started my ML at 32 weeks and I'm glad I did. Spend the time resting/getting things ready for baby. I did this and felt totally well rested and ready for baby when he arrived.
Also now might be the time to start taking little comments other people say with a pinch of salt. There'll be a lot more of them once baby is here, never meant nastily but often make you feel like you're doing it wrong.

GU24Mum Mon 10-Jul-17 06:32:14

It sounds as though you are ready to go on mat leave so don't give yourself a hard time. With my first, I worked to 37 weeks and was still absolutely fine and couldn't see how people found it hard. With the second, I was counting down the days from about 21 weeks, hung on til 34 weeks but never made it in for the last day as my waters broke!

Lules Mon 10-Jul-17 06:39:28

I'm 29 weeks so haven't gone yet but I'm looking forward it to! I'll still have my toddler to look after 2 days a week and we're moving house too so there's lots to do. I worked up to 37 weeks last time but I wasn't finding it anywhere near as hard. Different pregnancies are different - there's no right time.

Don't martyr yourself because you feel you should. It's better to be a bit bored than feel awful.

MissBax Mon 10-Jul-17 06:44:33

Thanks everyone, I'm glad to just get a bit of reassurance I think - one of my friends has just taken mat leave at 38 weeks and I can't help but feel like I should have gone longer. But like you've all said, everyone is different and we can just do what's best for us. I always imagined I'd be fine right up to the end - silly really but I think I need the rest now!

jacketej Mon 10-Jul-17 06:52:18

I worked right until the end (day before) which I massively regret as I was literally shattered from the beginning of labour. I'd been up ( because of work) since 5am and I went into labour that evening so I had no sleep at all until a few days later. I'd have finished a few weeks earlier in hindsight and I have a relatively easy pregnancy.
So I'd say go for it... get everything done you want and need to. Make the most of time on your own, go for a coffee with yourself. Go for a walk on your own and just enjoy you time!!!
I so wish I'd done this!

MissBax Mon 10-Jul-17 06:55:31

Thanks jacket - because I'm so knackered at the moment due to work I'm not eating the right foods or getting any exercise / housework has taken a back seat. I'd like to be able to keep the fridge stocked, cook proper meals, go for walks before baby arrives to set myself up and be the best health I can be before hand.

user1492287253 Mon 10-Jul-17 06:56:50

get signed off until 36 weeks and then start ML. seriously no one will remember or care by the time you go back.

welshweasel Mon 10-Jul-17 06:58:32

Everyone is different, do what's right for you. I ended up getting signed off sick at 30 weeks due to slowed growth. I felt completely fine and was bored silly at home but if you're not feeling great then it will be a relief. I was ready to go back after 4 months anyway so didn't matter.

LemonyFresh Mon 10-Jul-17 07:00:25

I stated Mat leave at 32 weeks (first 4 weeks was annual leave) it was great! It was Christmas time so I could enjoy it and just eat and watch movies and nest.

Ilovewillow Mon 10-Jul-17 07:08:33

Every pregnancy is different and being pregnant in this heat is grim too! Your child needs you to be ready for them! Don't make yourself feel worse just to see it through to the end. Enjoy you ML, rest, sleep and get yourself mentally and physically ready! Good luck!

helenfagain Mon 10-Jul-17 07:15:44

Get signed off. Don't take it till you legally have to. You are unfit for work, not your fault.

sparkleandsunshine Mon 10-Jul-17 07:19:23

I sort of went on mat leave 6 weeks before due but it was because I had a lot of holiday accrued so my actual mat leave didn't start until 2 weeks before BUT if I hadn't had that holiday I still would have gone then. I had seriously bag pelvic girdle pain and was on crutches by 30 weeks, I was sick 2-3 times a day from 3 weeks to the day I gave birth and just stopped sleeping from about 30 weeks and was exhausted all the time.
Pregnancy affects different people differently and it put me through the wringer, sounds like it is for you too.
Remember you accrue holiday whilst on mat leave and at our work we are encouraged to take it in a lump at the end, so that might top you up?
I wouldn't feel guilty about taking some sick time, but just weigh up your options, I had had so many sick days throughout my pregnancy and my work only paid 3 weeks sick a year, so I was out of sick pay time, and would only have got statutory pay which I couldn't afford to do, so I had to start my holiday and mat leave at that point. If you would only get statutory pay sick wise then I would just start mat leave.
At the end of the day pregnancy is not an illness, but it can provide you with debilitating symptoms that have the same affects as an illness so I feel you would have the right to go off sick if you wanted.

That time off was such a relief for me, I was able to move about at my own pace, prepare calmly and sleep a little! Made me feel so much more able for a baby!

Also I had a friend and colleague who went on mat leave 6 days before her due date, and had loads of people compare me to her at work, I just waved my crutches at them and said "really?" Haha

everybodysang Mon 10-Jul-17 07:25:15

I had to start ML early due to medical issues and I hated it. I was so bored (had problems with vision so couldn't even read/watch TV) and I really resented it when I went back to work. I'd have given ANYTHING for those extra weeks on the other side, with DD.

CocoLoco87 Mon 10-Jul-17 07:27:50

Please do what you want and what will help you relax more before baby.

If I can offer a different point of view though...I had HG in both pregnancies (so I get the tiredness thing!!) and with DC1 had to take ML from 33 weeks (I work in a school and it was summer hols). I was terribly bored and lonely and ended up quite depressed. I found there's only so many times you can go for coffee / lunch / shopping. That said, I had no friends in the same situation as me so they were all working. DC1 was very overdue so i ended up having nearly 9 weeks being quite lonely and miserable. Just something to think about. You might have plenty of friends to see and things to do etc.

Congratulations for surviving HG! smile

Nurse15 Mon 10-Jul-17 07:30:53

I worked till 36 weeks and baby was born 4 days later, I totally regretted it as had no time to rest or catch up on stuff I wanted to do before baby was born! Take it now, it'll all work out in the long run!

NapQueen Mon 10-Jul-17 07:35:05

Definetly take sickleave until enforced ML.

If you go on to have a second you wont have the opportunity to rest so take this time!

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