Return to work and post-natal depression

I returned to work at a secondary school after my 9 months maternity leave. I had struggled with post-natal depression (PND) on maternity leave, however I was expected to go back to work (full time) with no support from my employer. There was no welcome back, no back-to-work meeting and a new Head whom I had never met before. I felt pressured by my subject (as it is a core subject), pressured by my SLT and pressured to still be a good mother. I was crying every morning before I went to work and every night when I went to bed. I felt sick and clammy at the thought of going into work. After addressing these issues with my deputy head and head of department, I was told there was nothing they could do regarding reduced timetables or phased return as my timetable was already in place. I got to the point where I wanted to burst into tears in front with of my classes. It came to a head when I had a breakdown in front of my HoD and took myself to the doctor who told me my PND had returned and I am now on anti-depressants and have been signed off unfit to work. This is not what I want. I want to be the best teacher and mother that I can be but unfortunately, the lack of support I received from Work has left me in this position. 

Why the contribution is important

My idea is important because 1 in 10 mothers experience post-natal depression and there should be far more support in place for these mothers. My workplace was not aware of these issues as there was no return to work meeting and I had no chance to explain these issues. I’m now in a position where I don’t know when I will be back in work and this in itself creates anxiety and depression. There needs to be specific steps in place that must be addressed when someone returns from maternity leave. 

by teacher23 on March 19, 2018 at 08:11PM

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  • Posted by FTWW April 09, 2018 at 11:33

    Welsh Government, and employers, need to be far more aware of the possible mental health repercussions of pregnancy or failed pregnancy. The problem for women affected by the latter is that miscarriage isn't covered by either sickness absence / pay, OR maternity leave / pay. The result is that women suffering miscarriage also suffer a horrible miscarriage of justice. They are traumatised by the loss of their baby(ies) and experience financial detriment on top. Little wonder that this can escalate into severe mental health problems - which then incur considerable cost to services and employers.

    One of our members reports the following, 'When I suffered a miscarriage 12 years ago, my employer at the time was a huge, local, company. They wouldn't even pay me my statutory sick pay. I ended up not returning to work in the end, as they gave me no support.

    'Two other girls at work were pregnant and due to give birth at the same time as I would have done. I just didn't have the strength to go back as I felt seeing them would be a constant reminder. It was truly the most tragic horrific experience I've ever been through.

    'Eventually, I had to get my union to fight my case for me regarding my unpaid sick leave. And eventually after 2 years I received it. However, due to being in another job at the time, I was forced to pay double tax on it'.
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