One in eight women have suffered with stress or depression as a result of returning to work after their maternity leave. Many found the transition from being at home with a newborn to re-entering the workplace ‘stressful’ and felt that they no longer ‘fitted in’ with their colleagues.
More than a third said they struggled to deal with being separated from their baby while others reported feeling like they had no support from their employer and that they were resented by their colleagues.
The report also revealed that many felt stressed as a result of changes to their job role and more than a quarter of women had their request for flexible hours refused.
The findings came from a report issued by law firm Slater & Gordon days after they conducted a meeting with Kate Green MP and representatives from Mumsnet, NCT and CIPD about how employers can be creative in thinking of ways to support mums in the workplace.
Kiran Daurka, employment lawyer at Slater & Gordon who commissioned the report and chaired the maternity event said: “There is no doubt that women make a hugely significant contribution to the workplace and most women want to return to work after having children. It can be a difficult transition time for a woman and bosses need to be aware of this.
“What we want is for employers to start thinking creatively about how they can support their staff. Options like working from home and working outside the traditional nine to five can make a huge difference to mums.
“Any mother will agree that having children is a life changing experience. Your priorities will change and after work drinks with colleagues will get replaced by rushing home to put the kids to bed. But in modern society it shouldn't be the case that women are so stressed and isolated coming back to work they feel their mental health is impacted.”
The research also revealed that many women found themselves overlooked for career progression and found it hard to juggle the demands of their job with being a mother.
One in five said they felt like no one understood the challenges they were facing being a working mum and many reported feeling like they weren’t doing as good a job as they were before they had children.
More than a quarter were unsure of their rights and what they could and couldn’t expect of their employer with one in twenty accepting a completely different job role within a company.
Nearly half of the 1,000 mothers asked said that the role they had previously performed had changed since they took maternity leave.