Speak up - if you don't ask you don't get

General Details
Network:
Working mother
Profession:
Investment Banking
Type of leave:
Maternity
Number of years professional experience:
11-15 years
Length of leave:
6-12 months
Type of experience:
Mixed
Work pattern on return:
Flexible full-time
Message I've had 2 children and each time I've taken ~6 month leave. I have had very mixed experiences, however in my mind these are clearly attributable to change of management at the time of decision-making, lack of sponsorship from my direct manager (who had no experience dealing with maternity leavers), and a fear of speaking out (and perhaps acceptance that I maybe deserved to be treated that way).
#1 leave: I was up for promotion. I had a good year before I left. My pregnancy was not straight forward. The three managers up the chain, deciding my fate, had no kids and made little attempt to understand my situation. I followed the advise of maternity coaching (exit reviews etc), however it felt a bit empty as I didn't feel like anyone would fight my cause in my absence despite ammunition. Also being a European sub-set of a big American operation means 6-months leave is like you have been out all year - apparently the maternity leave in US leave is 2-3 months max. Result was no bonus, no promotion. I felt like I was not valued and even perhaps had not been axed purely because of maternity leave protection. I took it on the chin as financially I had to.
#2 leave: Much more straight forward pregnancy. I took control of my calendar and started managing workload around my requirements. I worked from home during the last weeks due to medical advise, this was fine. Then.... had an awful exit review, which was unexpected (having had very different feedback just two months prior). I sucked it up... for 2 weeks focusing on the larger things in life... then exploded. I called HR, I called everyone up the chain. I was angry and let people know it. I got paid a bonus. Change of management (again), however the new boss knew me already. During a keep-in-touch day I was told part of my role was being given away. I sucked it up... then saw a lawyer... then went back and politely asked them to think about what they were doing and whether it was intentional. I also pointed out what new responsibilities they could give me. It worked. Let's see if I get paid for the effort since my return though...
Please correct the errors and try again.
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