From baby sick to new suits

You may have caught this on the BBC this week but basically a new survey (by OnePoll) has flagged up that a quarter of mums in the UK feel discriminated against at work.

So quite aptly the paper I work for asked me to write down my own experiences as I returned to the workplace this month following the birth of my son Adam.

Without a doubt they were to be the two pink lines that changed my life forever.

And after the initial shock and tears of happiness from looking at the positive pregnancy test in my hand I grabbed the phone and told my husband Ben our good news.

Soon after this we shared our joy with our nearest and dearest and I basked in the joy of my little secret – for a short while.

I then realised I had to leave my bubble and tell work.

Despite having a good relationship with my colleagues I was surprised to find I was more nervous about telling my manager I was pregnant than my parents.

I had read horror stories about women’s experiences of work after having children and I was worried.

Would my employer be pleased about my expanding belly? Would there still be a position for me if I wanted to return to work? And maybe most importantly will I still get paid?

Question were entering my head quicker than I could answer them but thankfully everyone was delighted by my news and I was referred to our HR department straight away. It can be a bit of a minefield trying to work out as an employee what you are entitled to and how maternity leave works but after a straightforward meeting with the HR team I was soon given the tools I needed to organise both my maternity leave and return to work.

So some time later, up to my elbows in my baby boy’ nappies and laundry, I made the choice to return to the office after seven months away.

During my time on maternity leave I was keep in the loop with emails – which I had requested to be sent to me – and was also offered ten Keeping In Touch (KIT) days vital to introduce me back to the workplace.

I also had my Flexible Working Hours application agreed, allowing me to reduce my full-time hours to part-time.

With a different mindset, responsibilities and even a changed body, I trundled off to work with my packed lunch box and new suit and was instantly welcomed back.

They say nothing prepares you for a baby, and it’s true, but thankfully there’s help to prepare you for work life after the leap into parenthood.

And don’t worry if you haven’t spotted the baby sick on the back of your new suit. It will give you something to laugh about during the morning meeting.

About Donna-Louise Bishop

I'm a writer, freelance reporter, creative writing tutor, and blogger, living in the beautiful county of Norfolk UK. In my spare time I am also a wife, a mother to three boys, and a human washing machine.
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