The assumption that maternity leave is a ‘break’ from work - or even a holiday - is an idea that is quickly quashed once the non-stop, sleepless reality hits home.
With over a quarter of mums (27%) claiming to not have enjoyed their maternity leave as much as they thought they would (according to a poll commissioned for The Emma Barnett Show on BBC5 Live), it appears there is a definite disparity between expectations and the hard-hitting day-to-day routine of nurturing and raising a tiny new person.
So much so, that nearly half of the mums surveyed say they felt lonely while on maternity leave, and one in five wished they’d gone back to work earlier. .
Emma Barnett, 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.’ .
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.’
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