In my last post “How Is Your Baby?” I mentioned that I would touch on my working situation. Especially more so as I don’t have my job role to go back to.
What Is My Job?
It’s nothing exciting like a graphic designer or a travelling musician. I’m just your standard supervisor in a large food retailer. I have been there for nearly four (long) years and to be fair I do quite enjoy it. It pays well and enables me to have a life outside of work.
My work is also really supportive of what has happened to Dexy and my existing mental health. I have had nothing but support from my manager and seeing as I only moved store 4 weeks before I left to have Dexy It’s lovely to have such support.
As I also previously wrote I was made-redundant two weeks after the loss of Dexy. This was incredibly hard for me to try to work out a plan of what to do next. The company is scrapping certain management roles and creating new ones. This means I will have to reapply and I’m not 100% guaranteed a job. I have had a few other options given to me and my manager is helping me work out what would suit me best.
What Are Your Rights When Your Baby Dies?
This was my first question when I thought about what next? Am I still entitled to maternity leave and if so how much?
I rang my work the day after we got told Dexy died and I read through my maternity papers and it stated any baby born or stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy I am still entitled to the full 52 weeks of maternity leave and 39 of them are paid.
When I sorted out my maternity plan with work I took the enhanced pay option. Which means I get 90% pay for a couple of months longer. I was and still am entitled to this. This took a massive weight of my mind because that was 3 months of nearly full pay. As I started my Leave on the 16th December that now means my enhanced pay is up and it drops down to government pay of just over £400 a month. This is a lot less than I am on and budgeting is not really a strong point of mine but I will work out a way I can do it. It also helps that Phil is on a decent wage as it means my money can be used for food and small bills and we can still be comfortable.
If I wasn’t made-redundant my maternity leave would be really straight forward. I could just get on with my 52 weeks out of business and then return on my return date.
But now it’s just a little more complicated. I’ve got to have meetings and reapply to other job roles within the company. I’m trying to keep up with the company news and what is happening whilst trying to become mentally and psychically stronger after our sons death.
How Long Am I Taking off?
This I am still undecided on. I have until the 16th September paid and then I have no form of income from then on. I was aiming to go back at the end of June or beginning of July but after the other day when I got asked about Dexy I realised I’m so far from being ready to go back to work. It’s really hard putting a timeline on your return to work when you are living day-by-day. Some days I feel totally confident in myself and I feel able to go back then something small will happen and I am unable to cope and the pain of Dexy dying is unbearable.
I don’t feel ready to see pregnant women and babies around the shop everyday. I find it hard when I am out and about but at work I am stuck with no place to run to. I don’t want to be around parents shopping for their children’s birthday cakes or an after school treat because I know I will cry as I wont be able to experience that with Dexy. I need to be in a strong frame of mind so I can put on a front for nine hours a day.
Do I Feel Guilty For Being On Maternity Leave?
No. When I was pregnant I thought my maternity leave would be filled with looking after Dexy, appointments, coffee dates with other mums and being constantly stressed and tired. I planned my maternity around looking after an alive child.
When we lost Dexy I took the first month or so really easy. I laid in my bed all day or just sat and zoned out at the TV. It wasn’t until I started my blog that I realised I can take advantage of this time and use it to benefit others.
At the end of the day your maternity leave is to help you and your baby. But instead my maternity leave is helping me keep my son’s name alive. If I wasted this time and done nothing I think I would feel guilty but because I’m using it in a positive way I don’t. I don’t feel like I deserve maternity leave any less than a mum with an a living child. I still gave birth, I still have to physically and mentally recover from that and I have to focus on that even more as I lost my son.
I don’t ever feel guilty for doing something that is going to help me in the long run. I would be useless at work right now because I can’t focus on it and give it 110%.
What Am I going To Do?
I feel like I can’t waste my maternity leave by sitting indoors doing nothing everyday. I have a few goals that I want to achieve by the end of it.
I want to focus my energy into reaching out to other families who have also experienced pregnancy and baby loss. I want to do this by using my blog as a platform and to also find work within a charity supporting this. I have been through the worst thing in the world for any parent and I really don’t want others to feel alone or that no one knows where they are coming from.
I want to be a part of conferences that they do at universities about pregnancy and baby loss. I want to look at future health care professionals and help them shape the care they give to parents like me. Although I received amazing care in hospital my aftercare was a massive let down and I need this to improve for other parents as I know it will be beneficial to them.
I have also decided I am going to learn to drive. This is one thing that I have been meaning to do for the past four years but constantly put it off as my anxiety goes through the roof when I think about being in control of a car. But hey, I gave birth to a baby and that was scary so driving should be a piece of piss.