Overachievers Are Ruining Maternity Leave

Julie Ryan Evans

newbornAccording to a recent survey in the Daily Mail, more than 50 percent of headhunters say women shouldn't take any maternity leave if they don't want their careers to suffer. 

Outrageous and unfair? Yes, but what's even more shocking is the growing number of women who follow this advice and take barely there breaks after birth.

The New York Daily News used British woman, Zoe Brown, as an example of this trend. Just one hour -- ONE HOUR -- after giving birth, Brown was returning emails to clients when her now 1-year-old child was born. 

She's pregnant again with her fifth child and doesn't plan to take any time off this time either.

Slow down, superwoman, please!

I'm not really one to point fingers as I was back at work just two weeks after giving birth to my daughter (now 20 months). But I work from home and was up at all hours anyway ... or so I told myself.

Looking back, I wouldn't do it again, because I think women like Brown and I are ruining it for other women ... and ourselves.

Giving birth takes a physical toll no matter how wonderful your experience. And that time for healing and bonding and full-focused nurturing should be embraced and enjoyed for as long as you can stretch it -- not rushed through to get to the next thing. There will always be another client to chase, but that time with your baby can never be recaptured.

And if employers repeatedly see women not using maternity leave, they may start to rethink if women really need as much time off after giving birth. They may start to wonder if those who take the maximum time off aren't less committed to careers than others who rush back in post-baby.

For financial reasons, some women may not have a choice about taking an extended maternity leave. But for those who can, we really should -- for ourselves, for our babies, and for all the other women who go after us bringing beautiful lives into the world.

How long of a maternity leave did you take with your babies?


Image via AshBayGrammy

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