But if my employers were shocked or unhappy when I told them my news, they didn’t show it, merely offering congrats and support, to my relief. “This is why I would never hire a woman,” said one, while another woman commented: “Oh my god, there is birth control.”
I’d been off for 19 months — including furlough during the pandemic, holiday leave and maternity leave — after giving birth to my second daughter Hallie, now 16 months, who, along with her sister Isla, three, was in nursery. Nor is maternity leave a “holiday” like some people think. I’ll be caring for a new baby and my two other children, running a busy household and studying for my next accounting exam. However, far from preparing to throw myself back into my career, after spending more than four out of the past five years at home with my children, I was actually six weeks into an unplanned pregnancy and nervously preparing to tell my bosses it wouldn’t be long before I’d be packing up my desk once again. How very wrong I was. It went viral and, though there were some positive remarks, there were many truly savage ones among the 1.9 million views and 1,331 comments it attracted.
Sadly, not everyone agrees, and I’ve been subjected to criticism and abuse since I started my family. I’ve been told online that I’m a “burden”, a “waste of space” and that I’m “unproductive”, which has left me feeling upset, but also determined not to feel ashamed of my decisions. In October 2021, I returned to my accountancy job in Blackpool, to a cheery “welcome back” from my colleagues. Another TikTok user said: “This is the reason why companies prefer to hire men over women of child-bearing age.” We have to stop this shaming of women who take time out of their work to have children. If it was men having babies, it just wouldn’t happen.
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We have to stop this shaming of women who take time out of their work to have children. If it was men having babies, it just wouldn’t happen.
That’s not a lot, and money will be tight. We’ve cut family holidays, we’re buying own-brand foods and family days out are limited now. But for us, it’s worth the sacrifices to have a beautiful family. I was called “lazy” and told I was taking advantage of my company, where I’ve worked for the past six years. But it was impossible not to feel hurt by the negative comments, and I was shocked that most of them were from other women. At first, I was shaken by the trolling and regretted ever making the video. But then I felt angry. I didn’t deserve a pile-on — I’d done nothing wrong. My critics can think what they like, but I’m going to have my career, my family and my maternity leave — and I feel no guilt about that. Read More on The Sun At first, I was shaken by the trolling and regretted ever making the video. But then I felt angry. I didn’t deserve a pile-on — I’d done nothing wrong. I left school in 2012, when I was 16, and became an apprentice accountant, learning my trade from the ground up. Last month, I packed up my desk again and bid farewell to my colleagues — who were all supportive — to await the arrival of our third baby, due later this month. Here, she reveals why she’s not ashamed to be a serial-maternity-leave mum. WHEN Hebe Axon, 26, an accountant from Blackpool, revealed online that she was planning to take her third consecutive period of maternity leave, she wasn’t prepared for the vitriol that followed. Reading the hundreds of nasty messages on my phone, my eyes filled with tears and my heart sank. I met Sam, an engineer, when we were at school and we reconnected on social media in 2016, getting engaged last year. People think that maternity leave is a chance to lark around while the company pays. Boy, are they wrong.
For the first six weeks of my maternity leave I receive 90% of my regular, full pay, while for the remainder of it I get statutory maternity leave pay, which amounts to £620 a month. The law is on our side, with our employment rights protected, including our right to accrue holiday and be eligible for pay rises while on maternity leave, but in my experience, people — most of them other women — are often not allies. By the time I return to work in April 2023, I’ll have worked just 11 months in more than five years.