Dear John: I've been trying for a baby. Could I take leave to help my chances?

Q

I was wondering if you could advise me on something that is constantly on my mind. I am thinking of having a baby and I am in my fifth year of teaching this year. I have been trying for a baby over the past year but have been unsuccessful. I think its down to the stress and workload of being a teacher as my GP has advised and assessed me and said there is nothing medically wrong with me or my husband. I wanted to know if I could take a career break to try for a baby or resign/leave my job as soon as I get pregnant? Which would be the better decision? I don’t think I want to work once I know that I am pregnant.

Please help with any suggestions.

A

Maternity and paternity leave comes after the happy event and not before. I sympathise with your problem but, unless your doctor is willing to sign you off on sick pay, and that is probably very unlikely, holidays, romantic weekends at half-term or quitting your job may be the only answers. As you worry more about becoming pregnant that will be an added strain both on you and quite probably on your relationship. Nevertheless, giving up work is a big step, both financially and in many other ways and you need to be fully in agreement as a couple that such a step is the correct thing to do. You don’t want to spend your time at home brooding about having a baby and waiting for your partner to come home every evening. If you have been trying for more than six months, perhaps you both should go back and have another word with your doctor in case they have either been over-optimistic or something has changed. 

Good luck, and also consider looking into adoption. It is amazing how many couples conceive when they take that step: perhaps, it is the reduction in anxiety that comes about when contemplating another route to having a family.