What Happens if You Can’t Go Back to Work After Maternity Leave?
By Katherine Webre
When I was expecting my son, I planned to return to work after six weeks. There was a daycare that accepted newborns in my building, so I’d be close enough to nurse him on my breaks. The whole situation was ideal, but then things went wrong, and my plans changed. My beautiful baby had special needs that required me to stay home, and I had a lot of questions about my career.
What Do I Do Now?
This is not an uncommon situation. Many people find themselves in a similar position after childbirth for one reason or another. We all know the saying about the best-laid plans of mice and men. In addition to discovering that your child requires extra care, there are several other situations you may find yourself in where you realize that returning to work after your maternity leave ends is no longer feasible.
You could have a challenging pregnancy that leaves you in a poor state of health after your child is born. You could find that you simply hadn’t assessed the cost of childcare, and you now realize that the money you earn at your job compared to the cost of childcare means returning to work would put you in a worse financial situation.
Some people may have a spouse that makes enough money so that dropping from a two-income household to a single-income home is not too big of a financial strain. However, for many, losing a job, especially now that there is another mouth to feed, leaves them in an unmanageable situation. Another source of income is essential to get by.
How to Continue to Pay the Bills
If you find yourself in a position where you can’t return to work, but you need the money, you will be looking for options. Fortunately, in many situations, those options are available. Here are a few possible alternatives to help you get by.
Work From Home
Working from home is a possible option that has certainly grown a lot since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. More people are working from home than ever these days, and a lot of employers have found that while they were forced into the position by necessity, there can be a lot of benefits to having employees in many fields work from home.
Therefore, many employers have made temporary changes permanent. So, if you are unable to return to work after your maternity leave, your employer might be willing to allow you to continue to do your job remotely.
Find Remote Work
If doing your job from home is impossible, or your employer is unwilling to allow you to continue your employment in that fashion, then you may consider looking for a new job that does. As mentioned before, more jobs than ever are available as remote work, so even if your current employer does not provide that option, there is still a good chance that you can find a job that does.
Take an Online Course
Maybe you have always wanted to take your career in a different direction or get some further qualifications, but there has never seemed to be the right time to do it. Well, maybe now is the right time! Doing an online course while you have a newborn baby is easier than it sounds. Sure, you are tired and need to be getting plenty of rest while your baby sleeps, but if you really want to start a new career, an online course in pmp certification or something that has always piqued your interest on your career ladder may be worth looking into.
Start Your Own Business
There are many home-based business options, depending on your skillset and the specific reason why you are unable to return to work. If the reason you can’t return to work is that childcare costs are too high, perhaps starting your own in-home daycare would be a great option.
You can be on the other side of that particular fence and possibly help others who are in the same situation you’ve found yourself in to go back to work themselves by providing a more affordable daycare option.
File a Lawsuit
If the reason you can’t return to work has to do with damage that was done to you or your child due to a doctor’s negligence, filing a lawsuit could be an option for you. If you couldn’t return to work because your child was harmed during birth, you can visit this website to speak to a birth injury attorney. You may be able to file a lawsuit that will result in compensation that can make it more comfortable for you to be able to stay home and take care of your child.
About the Author
Katherine is a part-time freelance blogger from Phoenix, AZ and a full-time momma of three who likes to keep it real about motherhood both in the real life and in her blog entries. Remote working for busy moms, juggling career and family life, along with tips for new parents with disabled children are just a handful of her favorite topics to blog about. She’s a regular contributor to birthinjurylawyer.com, but you can drop her a line here too.
*Photos courtesy of Katherine Webre