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Tell Shared Parental Leave what your maternity/paternity leave was like: win a voucher!

DanielleMFMDanielleMFM admin
edited Mar 26, 2019 3:02PM in Sponsored discussions


Shared Parental Leave and Pay is a government policy that helps eligible parents to combine work with family life.

It means you and your partner can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay. You can choose to take the leave and pay in a flexible way, maybe planning to be off work together for up to 6 months or maybe staggering your leave so that one of you can always be at home with your baby in the first year.

You could win a £200 Amazon voucher for sharing, on this thread, what your maternity/paternity leave was like.

To be in with a chance of winning, please post on this thread to share what your maternity/paternity leave was like was it as you imagined it would be or not? What were the highlights and the most memorable moments? Please feel free to post up a picture, too, if you’d like to: the people at the Shared Parental Leave campaign would love that!

We'll keep this thread open until 11/4/19, and we'll announce the winner's name a few days later.

This discussion is sponsored by Shared Parental LeaveShared Parental LeaveShared Parental LeaveShared Parental Leave. Please note that comments and pictures you post here may be used in future marketing material. See full Ts & Cs.



  • I took the full maternity leave for both our kids and my husband had three weeks off. Financially we couldn't have afforded my husband to be on reduced pay due to the difference in our wages. My husband also would never have taken my time away from them. I know it's probably an unpopular opinion to say that but I would have resented him if he did. I had two horrendous pregnancies and had aniexty issues after my 2nd was born so I don't think mentally I could have gone back after 6 months. I do think it's a great idea though as it will help others more than it would have helped me.
  • Found it so hard for both of us to be off due to money, so hubby went back to work, he was so disheartened & felt like he was missing out, i really needed the support from him as i had nobody to help me out while i had post natal depression. I really think that fathers should be given full pay on parental leave and for a longer time... This is our bundle of joy....Taran Oliver born on the 4th July
  • I started my maternity leave at 29 weeks gestation as I was on leave from work with sickness. I started going into labour at 31 weeks, and my twins arrived at 34 weeks.

    I have taken a full 52 weeks maternity leave as was breastfeeding and it made sense to be off with my girls while they were nursing and not pumping in a small room 2 hours from hone.

    Luckily my partner was able to take some holiday after his paternity finished. I needed him to drive me to hospital for 4 weeks to give my pumped milk to our girls while they were in NICU. I was unable to drive after emergency section (and natural birth). He took a further two weeks off to be at home with us all as well when the girls were allowed to leave hospital.

    My maternity leave ran out when my girls were just 9 months adjusted age and behind developmentally. We couldn’t make nursery work around partners shift work and my 4 hour round trip to the office. I’ve had to leave my job. I’ve also still not recovered 13 months PP and under a number of hospital investigations.

    52 weeks is not nearly enough maternity leave for a twin mother, for a mother of premature babies, a mother that hasn’t healed from a traumatic birth.
  • i was off together with my wife, it truly was a magical time off together and the birth of our children.  If you can take time off together to share its possibly the most amazing thing ever
  • I was very lucky I took the maximum maternity leave & loved every minute. 
  • I had a year maternity leave it was amazing, during which I put in a flexible working request for part time hours which was rejected. I could no longer work full shifts, so I left permanently. I have had an amazing time bringing up my little girl and boy; I am extremely lucky and grateful.
  • I had nine months for the first child, and I think a little less for the second.  However, we didn't see the point in paying for a childminder to have the wonderful experiences of bringing up our children, so we rejigged our lives around the children.  I switched to evening work only, so at least one parent would be with the kids all day.  We used relatives or child minders on very very few occasions.  However, the downside is a reduction in income and a lessening of the chances of promotion!  But both myself and my husband believe in educating the children as much as possible ourselves (we did send them to school though!).
  • It was hard money wise for a while but I really needed to have that rest so we just had to stick to tight budget.
  • I had the bare minimum of maternity leave and do regret it. My husband had a weeks leave and that was all. I felt very alone with my parents a long distance away and I had no transport, living in a quiet villlage and with my husband having the car. 
    The time I spent with my son was wonderful but quite hard. 

  • I left work early and did not go back to work until both children had started full time school
  • Absolutley rubbish! As a first time parent with a not so great support system, I was absolutley terrified to do anything or go anywhere with my baby. I felt like I didnt have a clue what I was doing and everyone was judging me, so I barely went anywhere or did anything unless absolutley necessary. I made myself miserable and didn't use the time I had with my baby wisely, this time round I am going to make a point of getting out and doing things. Time is precious and they don't stay little long enough!
  • I was self-employed as a childminder so went back to work three days after giving birth!
  • It was a wonderful time together and really made a difference. I wish i had more time than statutory minimum but bills had to be paid. 
  • I took full leave and my husband 2 weeks. An enjoyable time to aid with bonding although after a while money is an issue. Having to budget is worth the time with your baby though.
  • I took the full maternity leave and ended up not going back to work after it. We had quite a lot of stress in other areas of our lives and so I felt a little like I had missed out on the time with my new baby. However the time I did have with baby when I wasn’t worrying about other things was magical - though I made sure I did things and got out the house. It’s very easy to feel trapped in four walls and I found it very important to go to local groups, meet with friends and just get some fresh air! I’m now due with my second baby in a few weeks and hope to enjoy the time just as much (hopefully with less stress!).
  • With our first it started as a nightmare as work messed up after telling me I would be entitled to maternity leave but when it came to the first payment I got nothing as it turned out I had been there 8 days short to qualify. Spent 3 days stressing and figuring out what to do when we should of been enjoying life as our new family. Got it sorted and then went on to have lovely maternity leave but still annoyed those first few days were tarnished.
  • My paternity leave was so close to Christmas luckily my work allowed me to take the week before Christmas shutdown and the first week back after. 
  • Pretty stressful. Im a conpletely single parent so there were no breaks and little support from my family which was quite difficult as the little one had really bad reflux so be cried for three months straight until he was perscribed something that works. Was quite glad to return part time to work tbh for a break and adult company. 
  • I'm so glad we took leave at the same time. It was nothing like I expected! Despite both being more tired than we ever had been it was the most joyous time I wouldn't change it for anything. It's a chance to take in the sheer enormity of having a first child and all so special.
  • When I had my first son 13 years ago, the SMP was only for 6 months during which my employers went into administration so I needed to look for a new job which I started when my son was 5 and a half months old.  With my second I took the now 9 months SMP and enjoyed my leave a lot more and was ready to go back to work at that point.
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