When to go on Maternity Leave?

I’m 32 weeks pregnant and, after taking three weeks off for the kids’ Christmas holidays have found it hard to get back into work. I work for myself so it is entirely up to me to decide when to stop work and take maternity leave. I have two chapters of a book that I need to finish, and plan to do one next week, one the week after. However after that I have projects I could get on with – or I could give up and have six weeks off before the baby comes!

I love writing, blogging and my work brings me into contact with some really lovely people so I don’t think I need six weeks off, but the baby may need to be induced early so I don’t want to leave it too late either. It is a real dilemma. I could look at the ‘cold hard cash’ side of things: if I slow down enough that my earnings drop below £108 a week, it is worth going on maternity leave as I can claim Maternity Allowance. I’m entitled to it as I work freelance. I’m unlikely to take the full nine months off post birth as I have projects that I am committed to already so don’t need to worry too much about using up my time off.

This article from California highlights the downside of working right up to the birth. The author explains her reasoning for working as long as possible, “I could afford to take only four months off work and I would rather spend that precious time with my baby and not alone at home, where I would probably laze around watching movies all day long or ordering way too many baby clothes online.” She actually gave birth less than an hour after leaving work.

I think I will continue to take things slowly, and keep on writing until I have done all the work I’m going to be paid for!

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