Monday, June 01, 2009

Bed rest, maternity leave and beyond

These pictures were taken last week when I got back from Preggi Bellies. 25 weeks, 1 day.

I know you think I'm knee-deep in denial (I probably am) but I still don't feel as big as I am. I mean, this is GIGANTIC. I still do a double-take when I walk past a mirror or window.

On the bright side, I'm carrying enough baby to equal someone else's 33-week singleton pregnancy.

I don't mind being big because they're my beloved babies but I am scared of looking like this.

Anyway, back to what I actually want to talk about...


We've known that my goal is to get to 36 weeks but I wanted to know from the doctor about when to stop work, etc, etc.

This was all before the bed rest episode this week.

He said he’d recommend I stop work at 32 weeks which is 4 weeks before the babies come…or at least work from home and not go in for meetings or anything like that.

This is because I'll have over 4kg of baby and could go into premature labour if I'm too active.

My job is not really active but I do have lots of meetings and since the building is huge, that's a lot of walking. Even going to the toilet (bathroom/ loo :)) is a walk from one end of the building to the other.

In South Africa, we get 30 days' sick leave for every 3 years worked. And you can't accumulate it. If you haven't used up your sick leave and you start a new 3-year cycle, the old leave all falls away.

I had 11 days' sick leave before these 4 days of bed rest (but I will only put in for 4 half days since I've been working a bit from home - thank God for technology). The remaining 9 days has to last me until April 2011! It's because I had those two laparotomies with 4 weeks' sick leave each time. Good thing I only took 3 weeks to recover from the last op!

So basically using up the sick leave is not an option...

Now the maternity leave - in South Africa everyone is entitled to 4 months' leave BUT your company does not have to pay you while you're on maternity leave.

My company pays 100% of salary which is great and usually what people do is they add on any annual leave they've accumulated to increase those 4 months to 5.

Of course I don't think about the future - if I need a holiday, I take my leave. Hence Ireland :)

All that to say this...

I spoke to my boss and he is totally fine with me working from home from 32 weeks (we'll see if I actually make it to 32 weeks because this week has thrown things out in my mind...) and then when I want to go on "actual maternity leave", I just phone in and he will activate it. Very nice.

I've done some planning and I'm thinking to start my leave the last week of July and then my maternity leave ends about 2 days before the end of November.

If I then add up all my accumulated annual leave, I should be able to almost make it to the end of December. I may take the last 3 days as unpaid leave so that I start in January, or else I'll just go back then.

It will be dead quiet anyway (I'm in financial services) which is always a good time to catch up on things and start getting used to leaving the babies in the mornings.

Now afterwards (from January), I haven't quite decided if I'm going to go back full-time or only work a half day.

We can do it because my coaching business will be able to supplement my half-day salary...but I'm still not sure. I like lots of cushioning, finance-wise, and am just not sure if this is the best way to go.

Because obviously our monthly expenses will go up with the full-time nanny, all the disposable nappies (diapers), formula (if there's a problem breastfeeding), doctor's bills, etc.

So what do you think I should do?

If you're pregnant, what do you intend to do? How much time will you take off and from when?

And if you're not pregnant YET, have you thought about what you'll do when you do fall pregnant and have your baby/ies?


  1. Oh, you just asked my question of the year! I have very little certainty about what to do when my baby is born. At my job, and I think most of America, you get up to 3 months maternity leave, but it is unpaid. It just allows you to have the time off work without being fired or anything. In order to get paid during that time off, you have to use any paid time off that you've accumulated since you started working. I'll be here a full year once I have my baby, but I've used my paid time off every time I've taken off for a holiday or was sick or had a doctor's appointment (because my paid time off is all lumped together in one amount). So, I only have enough to be paid for about a week once I have the baby.

    In the meanwhile, I REALLY don't want to come back to work afterwards. I want to be able to be home and raise my baby as much as possible. And, working part-time only makes things MORE complicated. I'd be spending more on gas, insurance, childcare, etc., that the amount I would be getting paid is no longer even worth it.

    So, in order to stay home, I've considered having my own in-home daycare. This seems like almost the perfect solution, except that I only have one person who's committed to using me, and I'd be splitting that amount with someone else (which is not enough income for me to live off of). More clients are definitely a possibility, but I don't have them lined up yet, which makes me uncertain about what will happen.

    And, finally, I'd love to start doing my own party planning business, which would be awesome, allowing me to work from home and make my own schedule. But you can't guarantee how much money you'll make or what clients you'll have. I'm willing to do both of these previous options together, but so much of it is still in the air that I have yet to decide when I can quit my job and what career path I'll be taking in the next 3 months. EEEK!!!

  2. This is great Leigh that you were able to make arrangements to work from home after 32 weeks. You still have a lot of time to think on how you'll go back, if full or part time. So, you don't need to rush for decisions ritgh now, I understand.
    Your belly is beautiful! congrats!

  3. All thoughts I've been contemplating. I get 13 weeks paid maternity leave (although it's not 100% of salary) and up to 2 weeks sick time ahead of time.

    As for what's happening after, there are still ridiculous variables in play. I'd ideally like to come work PT.

    Yeah on your arrangements! Your bump is looking fabulous!

  4. When I decided this while pregnant with Kendra - I never questioned it - I stayed home. I didn't want to miss even one second of her smiles and wiggles and giggles, after 4 years of trying to have a baby. It wasn't easy financially - but I've never once regretted my decission. In Colorado, I was able to homeschool several children, but now I live too far out in the country. God always provides the basic needs that we have.

  5. Greetings from NZ :)
    We now receive 14 weeks paid parental leave here - albeit nowhere near a professional full time salary, but still more than enough to pay for the groceries etc. I'm 28wks along now with a high risk singleton pregnancy and started leave from work today. I'll head back to work next June, but have the legal flexibility to extend that time until next August. All the very very best with your pregnancy - keep cooking! :)

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