On Monday I will be doing the thing I have been dreading for my whole maternity leave. Going back to work. I didn’t leave it on the best note. I was signed off sick with stress and depression and found that some colleagues still couldn’t understand how something as “just being depressed” (their words) could allow me time off work. Along with being quite ill with morning sickness which I had more time off for, they began to see me as just milking it and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just manage like anyone else. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t stand up to them. I didn’t have the capacity at the time to do it and I’m not still not sure I do but their lack of understanding mixed with my paranoia led to my distancing myself from work and colleagues which has also led to more problems. Long story short this is part of the reason I have handed in my notice. The other part of this is I actually want to be there for my daughter and the long hours and inflexibility and uncertainty of shift work and nursing in the NHS unfortunately doesn’t fit with my idea of motherhood.
I love my job and I love caring for people. I can’t imagine doing anything else and I wish I could work but for my mental health and the inability to make it work with childcare I had to leave. And I’m sure this choice will be criticised by people who think I’m just not dedicated enough to make it work or I’m being unrealistic in my requirements from my job but if there is one thing I have learnt since becoming a mother it is ignore everyone else and go with your own instinct. Being a stay at home mum has become taboo. You’re seen as unambitious or lazy. Neither of those are true.Being a mother is the hardest job I’ve ever had and you never get time off. I want my daughter to know I am always there instead of feeling ignored whilst I work 12 hour shifts caring for other children and I want control over when I work.
When I go back to work I will have 5 weeks to work to cover my maternity pay and then I will be leaving my beloved job to take on the even bigger task of raising my family. I will not pay to have someone else raise my children and I will continue to work one day a week as bank staff but the joy of that is I choose when and where I work. Maybe then finally will not only my mental health improve but my love of working for the NHS return. And I hope that in the future I will still have an NHS to work for as it is truly amazing but with better value, appreciation and care for their staff.