New Mums Take Nearly Six Months To Readjust To Working Life
The study, by TENA via OnePoll, involved 1,000 mothers who went back to work after childbirth. It revealed 31 per cent found it harder to return than they expected after an average of 10 months maternity leave.
Almost a quarter of the mums found the working environment was nothing like it had been before they left temporarily.
Close to one in five women felt their boss and colleagues did not understand what they had been through mentally and physically, with another 14 per concerned that the effects of medical issues brought on by pregnancy and childbirth made them look unprofessional.
One in seven new mums felt patronised by their male and female colleagues as they learned to juggle work and parenting, and one in five women were left in tears after just a few days of being back at work.
In slightly more positive news, the effects of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic might make it easier for new mums to return to their jobs due to many workplaces adjusting to for its employees to work from home. The study found 31 per cent feel Covid-19 will make it easier for women to return to work, with 53 per cent of those putting this down to it now being more acceptable to work from home, which makes childcare easier.
In addition to this, 42 per cent think the rise of working from home means it is easier for women to deal with the physical effects of having a baby.
Almost half of the women polled - 49 per cent - think bosses have become more understanding of the pressures those with children face, while 39 per cent think they have become more understanding of everyone's individual health issues.
The study also found that while 27 per cent of new mums felt excited at the prospect of returning to work, 52 per cent were worried and 37 per cent said they were dreading it.
Lisa Myers, marketing manager for TENA, said: "The working landscape has changed considerably over the last few months - especially for those who are based in offices.
"There are many who believe the rise of working from home will benefit those mums returning from maternity leave - especially if they are also dealing with the physical or mental effects of having a baby."
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Four in 10 felt guilty about going to work instead of being at home with their baby.
Having to leave their child with someone else was the top concern for new mums who were returning to their jobs after maternity leave, along with juggling childcare, childcare costs and fitting back into their role at work.
However, 62 per cent were looking forward to earning money again and 43 per cent wanted to get back to having adult conversations.
The study also found that of the 29 per cent, who suffered from long-term after-effects from having a baby, such as postnatal incontinence or postnatal depression, only 22 per cent were completely open with their colleagues or boss.
Of those who kept it to themselves, 53 per cent did so out of embarrassment while 55 per cent did not want others to think they were not up to the job.
Some women, 40 per cent, suffered in silence to avoid being treated differently because they had children. Others did not want to be overlooked for a promotion or certain tasks (19 per cent).
A quarter of those who suffered long-term physical or mental effects of pregnancy and childbirth said it affected their career, with 32 per cent also feeling like their colleagues or boss treated them differently as a result of their issues.
Lisa Myers added: "Regardless of how much you loved your job, or how good you were at it before you had a baby, during that time away, however long or short your maternity leave was, your whole life has changed.
"Your priorities are different and as you try to juggle childcare and your responsibilities as a parent with your job, you can feel isolated and as if no-one understands - particularly if your boss and colleagues don't have children of their own.
"This is also made worse by the physical and mental effects of having a baby - many of which can still be affecting women months or even years later.
"At a time when confidence levels may already be low, as mums adjust to being back in the workplace after months away, issues such as post-natal incontinence, can make that even harder - especially with the taboo around it making it difficult to talk about."
You can find more information about mums returning to work after having a baby here.
Featured Image Credit: Unsplash
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