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The Lowdown on Shared Parental Leave

Hi Mamamates!

Maternity Leave is a big topic for us at Mamamade, but one thing we haven’t really dived much into is Shared Parental Leave. That’s why we’re thrilled to have sat down with Miriam Faber, Head of Marketing at Facebook and D&I Activist, all about how she and her wife have shared the parental leave of their twins.

So, what exactly is Shared Parental Leave?
"Shared Parental Leave (SPL) gives parents greater flexibility in how they care for their child. SPL allows birth mothers to share a portion of maternity leave and pay with their partners to care for children from birth until their first birthday. SPL can also be used by parents who are adopting  or having a baby through surrogacy.” - Working Families 

Hi Miriam! We love getting to know our Mamamates - it would be great if you could introduce your family as well as a little bit about yourself too…
We are Miriam, Rachel, Sophia, Teddy and Esme aka @twomummiesoutnumbered. Rachel and I have been together 10 years and married in 2016. Sophia is 3.5 and Teddy and Esme are almost 11 months old.

You and your wife have taken the awesome decision to take shared parental leave to share the care for your gorgeous twins. We’d love to hear how you split parental leave in your family?
I physically carried Sophia through pregnancy and took 6 months off when she was born and then Rachel took the second 6 months off.

We have created our family through intra-partner IVF aka 'shared motherhood' which you can find out more about here @courage_is_contagious_ - so it was equally as important for us to also share the post-pregnancy care and time for us to bond with our daughter and 'learn the ropes' so to speak, as first-time parents - equally.

Mamamade Shared Parental Leave blog - same sex female couple with their three children.

How did you find shared parental leave? What’s the best thing you’ve experienced doing it this way?
Rachel physically carried the twins through pregnancy and we of course wanted to do the same thing - 'the other way around'. Since I've been working from home for the past 2 years and been flexible with my diary - I was able to do nursery drop-offs, change nappies, do some feeds, etc in the day and support Rachel, whilst the babies were pretty stationary - and doing all this was a full-time job. And with all the best intentions to be present - it was impossible with 3 children.

So, we decided it would make much more sense for me to take my leave when the babies were older (now!) and Sophia is also off for the Summer from nursery and we can enjoy the time together as a family.

It's not all glamorous though - Rachel and I finally took the bull by the horns to tackle sleep training head-on - now we have both been able to dedicate time to it - and the hard work has paid off! In the first 2 weeks of my pat leave, we have managed to sleep train the twins. This is MAJOR for us - and getting a full night's sleep will (hopefully) be something we can enjoy for a long time to come!

It has been brilliant to spend a lot more time with all the kids - doing nursery drop-offs and pick-ups means I've really gotten to see Sophia's development and relationships with her friends and teachers and also meet other parents! Now it's warm weather she loves going on her scooter and that has also been so lovely to see - she is mastering new skills and confidence every day - even tells me when to cross the road, etc - these moments are things I will never forget and I'm so grateful to be present for them.

Any advice for other parents looking to take shared parental leave?
My advice to other people is DO IT!! It's a completely different pace of life from my work and I recommend it to anyone thinking of doing it. The memories you'll make and the moments you will cherish will be worth it.

Thank you so much to Miriam for sharing your experience!

If you’r looking to find our more about SPL, there’s lots of helpful information on the GOV website, and at Shared Families.

Love, Team Mamamade

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