Bad Mum 2B

Bad Mum 2B

Thursday, 29 November 2018

A quarter of mums find maternity leave harder than they expect

Over a quarter of mums (27%) did not enjoy their maternity leave as much as they thought they would – according to a poll commissioned for The Emma Barnett Show on BBC Radio 5 Live.

ComRes questioned over 1,000 women who’d been on maternity leave in the past ten years, and found that nearly half (47%) felt lonely while on maternity leave.

Nearly one in five mums (19%) wished they’d gone back to work earlier, and two in five (41%) missed being at work.

A quarter (27%) found it more difficult to bond with their baby than they initially thought, and half (49%) felt obliged to be positive about spending time with their baby.

And over half (54%) found breastfeeding more difficult than they thought they would. 

The poll also paints a picture of younger mums finding maternity leave harder than older mums.

Nearly half (45%) of the mums aged 18-24 who ComRes questioned for the survey, and a third (30%) of the mums aged 34 and under, didn’t enjoy their maternity leave as much as they thought they would. 

Nearly three in five (59%) of mums aged 18-24 said they felt lonely, and nearly two in five (38%) of mums aged 18-24 wished they’d gone back to work earlier.

Emma Barnett, 5 Live presenter, who has herself returned to radio presenting this month after eight months maternity leave, said:  “I have had some of the loveliest and more memorable times of my life during my maternity leave.  But it’s still been bloody hard, and, at times, lonely.

“As the one at the home, you struggle to have a sense of self, to remember who you were, and what you thought about before your child came along.

“There should be no guilt in saying you find maternity leave hard, that you don’t enjoy every single second with your child, and that it’s exhausting.

“It’s OK to to say you love your new baby, but that you don’t love your new existence yet.”

Commenting on the findings, Anne-Marie O'Leary, editor in chief of Netmums, said:  "We need to start talking more honestly about maternity leave and everything it entails.  It’s a job, not a holiday. And a pretty tough job at that: there aren’t many jobs where you’re on call morning, noon and night, 24/7, with no holidays.

“We dress it up as being a holiday filled with nothing but hugs and coffee mornings, when the reality is lots of manual labour on very little sleep."
Abi Wood, the head of campaigns and communications at the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) added: 

“It can be really difficult to adjust to all the huge life changes a baby brings.  Maternity leave can be an incredibly lonely time, particularly if you don’t have friends and family around to offer support. 

“It’s worth finding out about baby groups in your area and apps and social media can help you to meet other mumslocally. Even getting out for a walk or to a cafĂ© can help a little. It’s also worth checking out what your local NCT branch is up to.  Our network of local branches organises activities for new mums, so they can build support networks in their area.” 

Commenting on the survey, the Minister for Women, Victoria Atkins, told BBC Radio 5 Live:  “Being a parent is both a wonderful and a challenging time. But for some mothers the picture-perfect portrayal of maternity leave does not match their experience.

 “It is important that new mums feel comfortable and confident to share their worries and struggles – so we can ensure they are helped and supported.
“This government has invested £1.5 million to start up projects across the country that will support people to come back to work – when, and if, they want to.

“We want to ensure parents have the resources to achieve their potential at work whilst enjoying their time at home.”

Rachel Murphy, a 35-year-old mum of three from Reading, told BBC Radio 5 Live:

“I had two years off with my first two children, born just 13 months apart.  It was hard going, and I guess I lost myself along the way. 

“I became isolated and missed having an identity, other than mum.  A lack of sleep, along with not having a clue what I was doing, meant that I wasn't able to fully enjoy my maternity leave. 

“Maternity leave wasn't about meeting friends for coffee. I couldn’t drive because I had an emergency C-section and I was the first of my friends to have a child, so I felt I was boring them. 

“I am now passionate about getting the message out to mums that it is OK not to be OK, and that we all go through it!”

Kerry-Ann Whatley, a 32-year-old mum of one from Worcestershire, added:

“I found it extremely difficult as a new mum.  I felt everyone expected me to be this happy blossoming mother with a beautiful baby, but it was far from the truth.

“I felt the world was caving in. I had this beautiful baby boy who had medical problems. A huge team of medical professionals swamped us and I felt he was more their baby than mine. I would sit and cry in secret because I felt I had to keep up this strong act. I found it affected how I felt towards my son. Now I speak openly and honest and realise it wasn’t me.”

No comments

Post a Comment

Blogger Template Created by pipdig