A career after a baby is possible


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A career after a baby is possible

In the UK, eligible employees can take up to 52 weeks maternity leave with the right to return to work. However, a recent poll of 848 mothers commissioned by ‘Careers After Babies’ suggests that while 98% of women want to return to work after maternity leave, only 13% say it is actually viable for them on a full-time basis. Of the 24% that tried to return to work full-time, 79% ended up leaving because they were unable maintain their full-time job alongside having a baby.

Mandy Purewal shares her experience of returning to work after her maternity leave:

A part-time junior associate role in law is almost unheard of. From my law school friends to my old partners, nearly all of them ask, “how?” and I proudly say that Newmanor Law is different. We are a close-knit team, we support one another and we care. As an unusual offering, I gave my husband my last month of maternity leave as shared parental so he could enjoy some time with a fun and active baby (compared to the blurry newborn stage). So, when my final month of maternity leave came to an end, I was quite happy and content to log in at 9.30am on Wednesday 21 February 2024 and say good morning to my Newmanor team in the comfort of my home.

As a new mum (again), the so called ‘baby brain / mumnesia / brain fog’ is something that I experienced as well as 50 to 80% of other postpartum mothers. Simply put, it is forgetfulness or memory loss and the potential causes are hormonal changes, sleep deprivation or anxiety and stress.

In the first few months after having my baby, there were times I left my car door unlocked, left the iron on and slept through 3am feeding alarms. However, by 9 months, my baby was sleep trained, I wrote lists, I set reminders for myself and I felt human again. So, a week before returning to work, when I could not remember my Outlook or Leap case management system password, I panicked, ‘was my brain fog back?’

My lifelong cheerleader, my mum, and my rational sounding board, my husband, gave me the supportive pep talk I needed, reminding me of all the hurdles I jumped to get to where I am now, in a position I am proud of and in a career that I love.

Returning to work after 11 months has been quite a time warp for me. Ella asked me to reply to a Land Registry requisition and I was struggling to log into the Land Registry portal. I asked Edmund if he had issues logging into Land Registry and he asked “why?” I said “to reply to a requisition” and he howled with laughter and said “that is old school… reply on InfoTrack”. It took me 1 minute to reply on InfoTrack, but would have taken me 10 minutes on the Land Registry portal.

I had quite a few confidence wobbles in the first few weeks I was back at work. Debating with a 3-year-old can often leave you mentally defeated, questioning whether you really sat and passed a 3-hour exam on commercial dispute resolution law.

However, the comforting words from Ella, who has juggled motherhood, work and caring for her parents and the confidence nudge from Karen, a loving mother who can see what I am capable of, and Edmund, who is always on hand to give me his 2 cents has made my first couple of months back to work really enjoyable.