I want another baby but maternity leave would stall my career | Dear Mariella

by pregnancy journalist

That women are still in this position is enraging, says Mariella Frostrup. Know your rights and stand your ground

The dilemma I have a 21-month-old baby and took six months maternity leave. Since returning to work I’ve managed large projects and am delaying trying for baby number two as I don’t want to leave during project delivery. I have high aspirations and I really like my job and enjoy these opportunities. My boss is offering me another big project next year and I feel in a predicament. If I have my “family life” hat on, I don’t want to leave trying for another baby any longer, but if all goes well, I would be pregnant for a large portion of it and my boss wouldn’t give ownership to me – he’d find someone else on the team. My husband thinks we should just go for it. However, it doesn’t have a massive effect on his working life and career. I’d be grateful if there were any reality checks as I feel I’m going around in circles.

Mariella replies Let’s not leap too far ahead. First, can I just say how livid your letter makes me. There’s too much lip service paid to advances in equality for women, generally from those with something to gain by association (ie politicians or business moguls). But whether it’s sexual abuse or harassment, equal pay, investment in female-specific medical research or a fairer division of domestic labour, we still haven’t caught up with the rhetoric. Instead, we dawdle in the doldrums and it’s hard not to surmise that no matter how loud we shout and how many headlines we monopolise with salacious stories of starlets abused, enduring equality remains far from accomplished.

You have every right to this work and no duty to inform your boss

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