Career, Maternity Leave, Returning to work

What should you expect, when expecting…

So you’re super excited and maternity leave is not far away – you have the nursery organised, purchased some really cute clothes and have had a tour of the hospital.  You have a few weeks of work left before you are off into motherhood – so what are the key things to consider with work before you go?

Clear communication

Most workplaces require you to document your maternity leave period.  They need a letter outlining the date you plan to start your maternity leave and the date you think you will return.  Ensure that you consider your dates carefully and keep a copy of this document yourself.


Keep in touch

Sure you plan to send through baby photos when your little bundle arrives, you will probably get some flowers from work when the baby comes and maybe a visit from close colleagues a few weeks in.  This is all great, but if you have intentions to go back work in some capacity after your baby arrives, then keep in touch with your manager.  Depending on your workplace and your relationship with your manager this could be a formal arrangement where you might schedule a few coffee catch ups, or perhaps something less formal such as a touch base email or phone call.


Getting back

As you return date nears, there is certainly going to be a few butterflies.  Considerations around the care for your child when you are no longer with them 24 hours a day, but also perhaps either nerves or excitement about getting back to work.  You are entitled to have the same position and same remuneration when you return to your work as you had when you started your leave.  Depending on how long you have been away, things may have stayed the same or completely changed – but your role is legally entitled to you and should remain as it was.

In my experience, both cases when I returned to work my return to work was different and not what I expected.  In my first maternity leave of 9 months I came back to an entirely new team and new manager – with all of them having moved on in my absence.  On top of this, my whole department had moved into an entirely different area of the building.  It was like starting from scratch again.

In my second maternity leave of 6 months I was asked to come back early (I had originally stated 9-12 months) and agreed to come back in a part time capacity until the 12 months was finished at which time I would resume my full time role.  However this didn’t happen.  I was told due to budget reasons I could not have my full time position back.  I worked in a part-time capacity for a few more months before I was needed back full time and continued on my journey with that employer – and that manager was soon relieved of his duties.

Everybody’s journey is different.   What you choose to do may seem odd to other people, but it is your road to walk mama – only you know what is right for you.

What was your experience returning to work after your baby?

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