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Changing Priorities After Having a Baby

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 15 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Work Employment Employee Career Focus

Many women find that their priorities change after having a baby.

Women who have been very career focused and plan to return to their position straight after statutory maternity leave (or sooner) can, for example, feel very different after having their baby to how they thought they would.

It is important to be honest with yourself about how you are feeling every step along the way of your pregnancy and maternity leave. Research shows that women who bottle up their feelings and feel guilty or concerned about their emotions are more likely to suffer from postnatal depression. There is a great deal of help available but the first step is to ask for it.

If you do not feel sad or confused about your postnatal emotions, but are simply aware that your priorities have changed, you need to decide how to implement the changes you want to make.


If you had planned to go back to work after taking maternity leave but have changed your mind, you need to take some time to work out the best way to proceed. You will first need to talk to your partner to discuss the financial implications of not returning to work, although the cost of childcare can be a contributing factor to your feelings. Many women feel that they do not want to earn money just to pay someone else to look after their child, although this depends on the availability and costs of childcare in your area.

If you had been very focused on your career, you may be surprised by how your feelings have changed since having your baby. It is common to feel less driven or less concerned about your professional development as you are more focused on your personal life. Some women also feel as though their workplace is not suited to allowing them the type of family life they desire, with issues such as long hours and commuting distance seeming less appealing than ever before.


A key area that often changes for women after having a baby is their financial focus. Although it is still important to be able to manage your household expenses, many women feel tat they would rather enjoy the time with their children while they are young than have the additional financial benefits of their job. Some women chose to start their own businesses or work from home, others organise a flexible working arrangement with their employers. There is even a new word for the women who set up their own businesses after having children – mumtrepreneurs – with it being understood that they offer a great deal of innovation and determination.


A less documented area of changing priorities is that of moral responsibility. Women who have previously worked in companies that are less than responsible or even simply corporate focused, such as investment banking, intensive farming or petrochemicals, sometimes feel more aware of the conditions of the industry they are employed by. Having had a child, they can feel as though they are less keen to continue in their role and aim to work in a more morally clear sector.

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