Maternity leave, and returning to work afterwards, can be a difficult time for a lot of women and a recent survey suggests it’s not made any easier by employers. Norwich based baby and birthing expert, Jackie Heffer-Cooke, has been talking about her own experiences for her latest column in the Norwich Evening News….
A recent survey found that out of 3,200 British mums surveyed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, 11 percent reported having been dismissed or made compulsory redundant, whilst others felt so poorly treated they decided to leave!
In my experience as a Norwich based pregnancy and birth expert, seeing around 80 pregnant and new mums personally a week, I’m surprised this number isn’t higher. Now, I know it is a truth to an extent about baby brain, but really... a baby doesn’t actually suck out a decade (or more) of work experience from your head!
It’s truthful that women change after they have a baby. From now on, your little bundle will always come first, no matter what. Work and a career isn’t the only thing driving us along in our ambition in life. We start talking about things like balance, and juggling. Maybe our employers overhear these ‘dangerous phrases’ and feel fear. A worker who from now on may not want to take their smart phone on holiday so they can pick up those important messages whilst they are on the beach, instead, they may want time off… uninterrupted, building sand sculptures with small people. What?
Ten years ago when I had my first baby I worked as TV executive. After ten months off I was totally ready to go back to work part time. I contacted the company I worked for and got offered a consultant role at half the daily rate I had being earning just nine months before. I took it without argument. I understood I couldn’t do the same executive job part time, and moreover the company created a job for me. Plus, I was able to arrive at 10am, and I left at 5pm – a long cry from the usual ‘before’ hours of sometimes fifteen hours a day!
Did I feel that this was a role that was going to lead me towards my next step on the career ladder? No. But, if I’m honest, did I really want it at that time? Well, probably not. So maybe this role was a good compromise. Nevertheless, it was hard to accept the loss of financial reward, and the feeling of ‘dead-end street’. Just because I had birthed a baby.
I don’t believe that having a baby means our hormones are so uncontrollable and our tiredness so affecting that it makes us worse at our jobs. I know that when I left my daughter at nursery, got into that car, and drove to work I was bursting with ideas and thoughts that I was desperate to implement. They got their dollar from me on those hours I was in, because I was determined and still excited by my job. Let’s face it, as a ‘full-timer’ on the quieter work days I would spend at least two hours queuing in the canteen, chatting on facebook or looking for my next summer holiday. Working part time, in less hours, I wanted to make the most of my productiveness the whole time I was there. I was ‘on it!’
Well, a few years later, that job, and that career, didn’t seem to work out for me for reasons of it all being too difficult. Too difficult to commute, too difficult to travel, too difficult for school runs. So now I do something completely different.
Here’s the positive, why not re-evaluate and go put your heart and soul and masses of experience and do something you’ve always wanted to. Now, for those of you who feel pushed out of your job, maybe, suddenly it’s looking more like an opportunity… 🙂
Jackie Heffer-Cooke teaches HypnoBirthing, is a teacher and the founder of YogaBubs Baby Yoga, YogaBumps Pregnancy Yoga and is a co-Directer of The Orange Grove Clinic. You can book a place in any of Jackies classes via our online shop, by going to our contact page or by calling Reception on 01603 631 900.