Real Life

Mum takes five hours maternity leave

A Kiwi mum was back in class five hours after giving birth. But she's not the only one forgoing maternity leave.
Newborn baby

Maternity leave is generally accepted as an important part of motherhood, but for Whanganui mum Lissa Mansell, it just wasn’t an option. Only five hours after giving birth to her daughter, Lissa clocked in to her computer class at Tawhero School.

“I had to take my daughter Shelby to kindergarten anyway so I thought I may as well come to class rather than miss out on learning,” Lissa told the Wanganui Chronicle.

Lissa’s daughter Leslee was born at 4.50am yesterday, weighing 7lb 11 oz (3.22kg). Lissa described the labour as “good but painful”, with contractions starting at about 5am the previous day (Monday). Following the birth, her partner went to bed, while she went off to her Computers in Homes class with her baby in tow.

While it might sound extreme, Lissa’s experience is far from unique. It’s becoming more common for new mothers to go back to work hours after giving birth.

Roxy Jacenko was back at work less than an hour after giving birth.

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Celebrity Apprentice star Roxy Jacenko, was back at work sending emails and updating her Instagram account less that an hour after giving birth in 2014. She received widespread criticism for her choice, but it wasn’t the first time she’d forgone maternity leave. She famously took three hours maternity leave after the birth of her daughter Pixie.

“I don’t doubt there’s several people out there with their opinions on [it] being right or wrong,” she said.

A survey of Britain’s top headhunters revealed that more than half of them believe women should not take any maternity leave if they want to advance their careers.

The report, compiled by InterExec, asked 100 of the UK’s leading headhunters for their views on working women. It showed 53 per cent of those recruiting for positions with a salary of £150,000 and above think that women must forsake a career break if they want to be considered for the top jobs.

London-based fashion designer Charlotte Dutton is one such mother choosing her career over caregiving. She returned to work just three days after giving birth to baby Monroe in June. “I gave birth on the Thursday, and was back at my desk on Monday,” she says. “My partner Ben dropped me at the office door and I shuffled in. I’d had a Caesarean, and couldn’t even stand up straight, but I couldn’t wait to get back.”

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer plans to take two weeks maternity leave after giving birth to twins later this year.

Just two weeks after giving birth to her first child in 2012, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer was back at work. The businesswoman is currently pregnant with twins and plans to do the same following their birth later this year. She has been criticised in the past for setting unrealistic standards for working mothers. In response, Marissa told Fortune magazine she is simply “staying in the rhythm of things”. Ironically, after taking the helm of the California-based company, Marissa introduced a generous maternity policy of 16 weeks paid leave for new mothers.

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