When you are well into your pregnancy, you will need all the support you can get. You cannot settle for anything less than being taken good care of and having enough support from everyone who can give it, while you’re making preparations, especially if you have a full-time job and when there is a solution which offers a more comfortable experience for you while you are expecting. Usually, people prepare for this while they are on their early stages. Above everything else, your health and that of your unborn baby, should be prioritized. This is because you are in charge of not one, but two lives. It is only right to come prepared, gadgets, clothes, food, OB appointments, the hospital and all.
If you’re a working mom, you should also file for a maternity leave request so that you have everything settled when you’re well into your pregnancy because the whole process could be more than you had bargained for. Giving birth hurts, yes. But carrying the child in your womb for a good nine months is even tougher. And for most having to go through the process of getting all the paperwork necessary for your delivery, from the leave request at work down to the documents required by the doctor, is even more stressful than the idea of giving birth itself. Sleepless nights become endless with body pains that were not there, when you were not yet pregnant. Being pregnant is not an easy phase for a woman who will soon become a mother. It involves too many hormonal changes on top of money, the time you have to take away from work and you become very sensitive and find yourself harder to satisfy, especially when it comes to food and many other things. In your final month, you will also find it hard to do your job at work, and you would need all the rest and preparation you can get.
Imagine the exhaustion just weeks after being in the hospital, on top of being away from a newborn baby. You’ll have a woman crying at her desk in worst cases, and who would blame her? There’s no way to tell how you would take post-natal situations, especially on the job, and how much time you’ll need or even want. Unfortunately, you have to decide way ahead of your leave effective date about how much time to take. What you can do is negotiate-because you can negotiate the type of maternity leave that can work for you, and there’ll be a few things to consider.
Okay, so you may have won the best baby award when you’ve got one who likes to sleep through the night and not taking hours at a time of your sleep, from day one. Barely two weeks after giving birth, you may feel in great shape. Or you may have like breast feeding more than you expected. It could also be that you have the kind of job you actually love more than most people do, and have a nanny or caregiver ready in case you need backup at home. In this case, you’ll do with four to six weeks leave and nothing more. But then again, maybe not. Maybe you’ll feel that despite having it easier than some new moms, you prefer to continue breastfeeding longer than planned. Or maybe you’re having quite a challenge with finding a child care arrangement that’s good enough for the baby and works with your schedule. Maybe you’re not prepared to get back to work just yet. The truth is, there’s no way to tell what your need would be and how to cover it, after delivery.
Most women ends up wishing they had asked for more time, so the best way is ask for as much time as the company can allow, as long as it doesn’t result in you losing your job and if you can afford to take as much time as you can ask for. Usually, companies offer 12 weeks of maternity leave as the standard but if you personally think it’s better to get up to six months, then ask for the procedures that you should follow to have it granted. That should be enough time to gather your strength for working again and being on course to deliver what’s expected of you when you come back, as well as have time for your baby. If you get bored then you can even try doing some work at home, just so you don’t have to adjust too much when you go to work again.
Just remember that you can always volunteer to take less time after giving birth. An employee who notifies her boss and calls in to inform the management that she’s ready to come and work two weeks earlier than her original schedule will gain more admiration and pride from her boss than the one who keeps asking for an added week or two on her original leave credits at the last minute. Do the right and professional thing, but don’t sell yourself short upfront when you know you can negotiate and when you feel you need to.
One important thing to find out before applying for maternity leave is how much time off you would be paid, because that would help you in deciding just how much time you can afford vs how much time you would need. There are companies who likes to take good care of their employees by having family friendly leave policies, but there are many who don’t. It’s more than likely that the paycheck you will get from your time off will be coming by way of disability insurance which ideally provides you two weeks to prepare before your due and six after normal delivery, which can go up to eight weeks if you delivered through cesarean section. The salary percentage from the paycheck you will collect would depend on what type of benefit plan your company had offered and you had selected. Aside from your maternity leave, you may also be allowed to take advantage of sick, personal and vacation leave days when necessary.
While you’re probably more excited about the idea that you get to be away from work and enjoy time with your newborn baby as well as a new scenery for 12 weeks at least, don’t let your employer in on that. It’s not something you’d want to make obvious, because it’s more important to stress that you’re going to look forward to returning back for duty once you’re fit to come back and you’ve got everything settled at home with your baby.
The best for a working woman to do, when she discovers she is pregnant and is given the hands up by her doctor that she’s in the safe period of her pregnancy, which is usually after three months, is hand in her letter for maternity leavev request. The law allows you to notify your employer about your pregnancy no later than 15 weeks before you are due.
Aside from the formal letter you submit, you will also need a maternity certificate from your doctor (MAT B1) for confirmation that you’re pregnant, including your due date. Usually, the clinic can give this out after you are already into 21 weeks of pregnancy.
Adjusting on your job and trying to do everything right can be stressful, and sometimes, depressing, especially if you’re handed a pile of tasks on your first day back. Asking your employer for a flexible schedule temporarily or requesting for under-time and reduced hours on your first month just until you’re fully adjusted again, can help ease out your way to working just like before and doing your share of tasks normally again.
There is no perfect formula for figuring out the maternity leave that you should be entitled to. It mostly depends on your job and your unborn child, and it even depends on where you’re from and the time of the year you’ll be expecting for delivery. Have a new mother locked up at her cozy home during winter, just getting the hang out of carrying a baby who naturally takes up her sleeping time and more, no support from loved ones, very few well-wishers and you can bet you’ll have a woman begging on her knees to be allowed back for work in just weeks’ time. It’s highly possible, but a more common scenario is a mother forced to return for duty for mostly financial reasons, security of her position at work, and even management demands, long before she’s fit to work, physically, mentally and emotionally.