When to go on maternity leave?


Maternity leave start dates – what a nightmare. How are you possibly meant to magically guess how you’re going to feel at the tail-end of your pregnancy and, therefore, when you’re going to feel is the ‘right’ time to start your maternity leave?! I understand that it’s hard for employers, who can’t just wait around for their pregnant staff to either come in or not come into work. But it’s hard for those pregnant staff too.

I had confidently decided to go on maternity leave at 38 weeks. I hadn’t given it a huge amount of thought but had decided that Bug was likely to be late (based on…nothing) and that at-least-two weeks was an adequate amount of time to get all the things ready.

I then had my routine 25 week doctor’s appointment and he raised his eyebrows at my 38 week idea. I have quite a long commute – 1hr10 door to door – including a 25 minute train, two short tube journeys and about a 20 minute walk. He felt I might struggle.

Sooo, back to the drawing board. I’m now unsure whether to go for 22 February, when I’ll be 36 weeks, or 29 February, when I’ll be 37. It’s only a week but I have a feeling that a week at that size/point in pregnancy could feel like a lifetime.

The other factor is that we are considering getting our kitchen redone. The current one was put in when the house was built in the 80s and it’s naff and old. We had thought to get it replaced in a year but, actually, it makes more sense to do it before Bug joins us. If so, our timeline could be to get it done during the last week of February and, if I was already on mat leave by then, I could do a sort of faux project management/sitting around the house job. I think I could be quite good at that. Organising while watching daytime TV.

I am planning to take a year so I feel really lucky in that respect, but I don’t want to squander any of it, y’know? Decisions, decisions.




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