Back at work after my Covid maternity leave
By Sara Neidle
Maternity was not what I expected second time around. Typically, taking time off work to look after a new baby should be a time for any parent to cherish. It’s a time to bond with your new born child instead with coronavirus restrictions having dominated our day-to-day life, maternity leave looked very different in 2020.
For many new mums, it was a year which they missed out on a typical maternity leave – attending baby classes, meeting up with other new mums and with older siblings full time at home with nurseries and playgroup’s closed. There has been much debate about whether the government should compensate new mums with extended leave for this time lost!
Personally, the time I had with both my children was invaluable. I was able to spend quality time with both children (mostly my oldest, 2 years), which was hugely beneficial to her and me. As the primary carer, I was able to give her the time and attention that she needed. As for my little one, he did lose out on time with his mum, yet he gained massively from being with his big sister.
During lockdown, I did all sorts of activities with my little girl that I would have never dreamed of. It really put my creative brain to work. We made an aeroplane out of amazon boxes, cut and decorated fishes using toilet rolls, we made a broomstick using kitchen roll holders, and much more. You wouldn’t believe the amount of things you can make from toilet rolls!!! We really had an amazing time. It was tough, I’m not going to lie, but I felt a great sense of achievement.
As I return back to work, there are fresh pressures that have arisen for mums like myself. The new normal has meant women are having to navigate their return back to work whether in the office or at home. Lockdown has thrown up many unexpected obstacle, and it has forced us all to find different ways to adapt. It’s not going away any time soon, and the best employers are doing all that they can to ensure the health and wellbeing of parents returning to work, to offer a flexible, understanding and supportive environment.