My husband and I are expecting our first child this fall. Ever since I found out I was pregnant I’ve been torn about returning to work after only 10 to 12 weeks of maternity leave. I just can’t imagine leaving the little one after such a short period of time and while I know women who have done this I immediately grew sad at the thought of it.
I started trying to figure out ways to stretch my time at home. Could I save up my unused vacation and then use my newly allotted vacation when the new year came around? Not exactly. Since I’m due so late in the year HR couldn’t assure me that I’d actually be able to use my saved vacation.
The maternity leave rules says you must use Short Term Disability, (my company provides six weeks), as soon as the baby is born. So if the little one arrives six weeks before the end of the year than I would lose any vacation I had stored. I asked if exceptions are ever made to this rule and of course they said no.
Since I am due so close to the end of the year I can’t possibly know whether or not I’ll be able to use my saved vacation. In essence, if the baby comes on time I can use my stored vacation and if he or she is late I can’t. But all of this noise doesn’t result in much extra time at home. At most it would earn me another week.
I printed out calendar after calendar and tried to calculate the days. I tried to figure out what to do if the baby comes early, on time or late and no matter how I added up the time I couldn’t find more than 12 weeks. I really wanted to figure out a way to stay home longer, but I just couldn’t make the numbers work.
Well it seems fate found a way to grant me my wish. A recent company restructure has resulted in the elimination of my position. While this isn’t the greatest of news the fact is that there has been quite a bit of turmoil where I work for quite a number of years. While the pay and benefits are solid the job hasn’t left me feeling happy and satisfied for a very long time. I certainly wasn’t miserable enough to quit, but I was unhappy enough to hope for a change and a change is exactly what I got!
The best part of this news is that I will remain on staff until just around the time the little one is due to arrive and I will receive a decent severance package after that. The new plan is to stay home with the baby for at least the first six months. I may start looking for a job three or four months after he or she arrives. It’s not exactly clear how long I’ll stay home and whether or not I’ll look for a full or part time job as the months pass.
To be honest I can’t believe how things worked out. It’s not the perfect situation, but it feels as though the universe heard my concerns and stepped in to help choose my fate!