First maternity leave - supportive manager but clueless team

General Details
Working mother
Investment Banking
Type of leave:
Number of years professional experience:
11-15 years
Length of leave:
6-12 months
Type of experience:
Work pattern on return:
Standard full-time
Message First maternity leave very much focused on returning to work as soon as possible so not to “inconvenience” my employer too much. I was so heart-broken every day from not being with my baby, but I was determined to make it through every work day with a brave face. There were however occasions when I would openly express that I was very eager to go (run) home to pick up my baby and colleagues later complained about that and told me they were rather annoyed with my mentioning it, in their own words, they couldn’t care less. Then, when I was totally under the water with a particular project with negotiations that required my physical presence in day-long meetings with clients and lawyers (rather than the occasional conference calls at my desk which allowed me to also work on other projects), I asked a junior colleague (a young woman) to help me and her reply was: “why should I help you when you leave work earlier than us to pick up your baby? YOU manage your work load”. I struggled a lot, the team was not supportive to say the least, and despite the manager saying he was supportive, the team however was not. Lessons learnt: 1) length of maternity: it’s not about the employer, it’s about me and how happy I am to leave my baby behind (this is in hind sight, I couldn’t have known this as this was my first child), 2) even though a manager might be supportive, if the rest of the team is not, it can make the working environment for the returning working mother real hell.
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