February, you’re here. It’s time to get back to work, and although I will not work more than two days a week because there is no one to mind my baby, it almost frightens me that I will not be able to finish my duties – between work and expressing milk (at least once every 2 hours, because Robert is still a cluster feeder). I’ve read an article on an Irish blog whose owner honestly treats the subject of maternity leave and the circumstances of the Irish mothers at work, both pregnant and after childbirth. During pregnancy I didn’t work very much, in March, with a 5-months pregnancy, I started Health and Safety leave, the type of work I’m doing is very demanding and I haven’t coped with the growing belly. And my supervisor didn’t understand I didn’t have the same mobility and stability as before pregnancy. The study made by iReach and Nestle SMA on a sample of 996 women who are either pregnant or on maternity leave, or had a child in the last 12 months, shows that half of women continue to keep in touch with work duties. 24% of mothers on maternity leave check their e-mail, one in four checks it daily. Almost one in three receives calls from work, 14% of them on a weekly basis. And more than one in ten goes to the office to work, one in three says she goes „several times”.
The general rule is to not work during your maternity leave or you will lose your allowance. And yet some employer-employee contact is allowed during this period. Who sets the limit? It is not very clear.
I found out from the article published relatively recently, less than a year ago – you find it here – that with the announcement of the pregnancy and the arrival of a child, there are many problems for Irish women. I haven’t read much about this subject, between depression and sleepless nights I have only succeeded in reading about breastfeeding and baby sleep. Jen O’Connell talks about one of the less visible consequences of a fresh mother’s life: although the employer can not sanction you legally during pregnancy, the message that you can not carry out your tasks leads you to a punishment towards yourself by choosing to work during your maternity leave and working twice as much when you return to work. I felt the pressure on me all the time during pregnancy, although it is not legal to do this to a pregnant woman, I have stressed many times, but at some point if I felt I couldn’t do something I just said it.
Not to mention that, compared to Romania, where you can spend 2 years on child-raising leave, in Ireland you have to go back to work at no more than 6 months. I was due to return on January 2, 10 days before Robert was 6 months old, but I had holiday and annual leave left from 2017 and I took them now as a continuation of maternity leave.
How will it be when I get back to work? Probably difficult, with a child 100% dependent on me – it can not be less – 24/7 with me. We will live and we will see. I come back with impressions.