Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

‘Taboo or Topical’ – Focus on Women

Kathleen Tuite

By: KATHLEEN TUITE

Monday 20 May 2019

I attended an event last week on ‘Perinatal Mental Health in Focus’ in St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services, Dublin. There were a number of interesting presentations which highlighted the importance of a mother's well-being before, during and following pregnancy. There were thought provoking discussions about women’s physical and mental health during pregnancy and following the birth of her baby. There was an acknowledgement that pregnancy is a uniquely personal experience for each woman and each woman experiences it differently, joyous, the best feeling in the world, love at first sight, sometimes traumatic, sometimes sad, and sometimes taking time to accept.

While I attended this seminar, as an early years specialist with Early Childhood Ireland, I thought of our members, who are a predominately female-led workforce, and most have or may experience pregnancy and return to work after a period of maternity leave. Best practice suggests that every employee returning from a period of maternity leave would undergo some form of induction back into the workplace. A lot can change in a few months, perhaps new staff, definitely new children, new parents and maybe changes to the service type itself. Perhaps policies and procedures have been updated, or new ones introduced and returning staff will not be familiar with these. So, as I thought of all the practical information which returning employees need to know, I also thought of the women who may not have such a positive experience of pregnancy or maternity leave. I wondered about the emotional impact of pregnancy, and how as employers and fellow colleagues, we give thought to it.

The workplace, particularly an early learning and care workplace, is a very emotional environment. The very human aspects of the work are all too real. Building up relationships with children, work colleagues and parents is emotionally challenging, and in most cases rewarding. However, if the experience of pregnancy is equally emotional and challenging, there is a great opportunity for employers to support their employee. Sometimes it may just be enough to ask her how she is feeling/doing. Acknowledging that her physical and mental health is important to you can go a long way in supporting their transition back into the workforce. This can also ‘open up’ conversations which are sometimes difficult to have! Supportive environments where women are encouraged to talk about their experience are likely to be places where women want to be. Where they feel safe to discuss issues from pregnancy, childbirth, to their own childcare needs. Returning to work can be the place to talk to your employer and colleague, to share the highlights and perhaps the low-lights of pre and post pregnancy. It is important to acknowledge and support the mother’s mental and physical health. I particularly mention mothers' mental and physical health, but I also acknowledge that all employee’s mental and physical health is important.

I speak about this subject not as an expert, but as someone who has been made aware of the importance of the perinatal period for women and the subsequent period after pregnancy in terms of their physical and mental health. The importance of talking about the experiences, acknowledging the unique experience for each woman and how this impacts on their physical and mental well-being. It can be enormously helpful to women to keep checking in with them when they return to work and be guided by them as to how the conversations develop. Sensitivity and tact go hand in hand and in the previous blog, Look Who's Talking, Gillian Moore also discusses talking to employees less formally as well as having formal conversations.

So, employers and employees ‘open up’ the conversations, consider the transition back to work as an opportunity to talk about the ‘taboo’ subjects around pregnancy. Keep the space open for the practical work items to be discussed but also the human and emotional issues too.  

For more information, please click here.

 

Bio:
Kathleen Tuite holds an MA in Early Childhood Studies and works for Early Childhood Ireland as an Early Childhood Specialist. Kathleen’s work includes offering advice, support and mentoring to Early Years Educators, teachers and students. Using the National Frameworks, Kathleen offers training across all areas of Early Years Practice and last year became a Marte Meo Colleague Trainer.

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Valerie Gaynor(1) Aistear(123) Trick or treat(1) reopening ireland(1) Death(2) Children's Voice(1) Covid19 crisis(1) dublin(2) Pen green(1) Universal Design(2) pablo(1) Funding(1) Thank you(1) Equality(1) emotional environment(2) Arithmetic(1) Supernanny(1) Independence(1) Fabric(1) respect(5) Scents(1) Cork(1) Family(1) Creative(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Identity(5) Flowers(1) children development(1) Vertical grouping(1) Role play(1) GoToMeeting app(1) learners(1) Reopening Childcare(1) Communicating(1) MA(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Intention(1) social science(1) Frustrations(1) ECEC(3) United Nations(1) developing motor skills(1) Sessional service(1) Valentine's Day(3) Sociodramatic play(1) New Appointments(1) maternity health(1) educating(1) Arts(1) continual professional development(1) environments(1) Dance(1) Settling in(4) phone apps(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) iOS(1) Effect of Lockdown(1) social media(1) risk assessment(1) outdoors(4) Magnavacchi(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Loss(1) DES Inspection(1) early life(1) Photographs(1) Montessori(3) InspireMe.ie(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Scéalta Blog(99) Youtube Series(1) Maynooth University(2) Research Conference 2019(1) risky play(2) Gratitude(1) National Awards 2018(2) Albert Einstein(1) Children's Rights(3) Interests(1) Imagination(3) World Health Organisation(1) Siolta blog(8) show and tell(1) Maths(5) SPICE Framework(1) Reflective Practice(1) Mount Everest(1) Meal time(1) Awards Night(1) IGL(1) under 3's(3) Jenga(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) Sustainability(3) Child mental health(1) Sculptures(1) Upcycling(1) Maternity Leave(1) Loving Relationships(1) Little Buddies(1) Change(1) educarer(1) Window(1) Event Guide(1) emotional well-being(1) Drawing(2) structure(1) Iceland(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) gender bias(1) Certificate(1) GDPR(1) friendships(1) ERASMUS+(3) Learning Story(1) Traditions(2) Employee(1) keezy(1) play pods(2) Liz Kerrins(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Playdough(1) School Age Childcare(1) Mental Health(4) Sport(1) Confidence(1) TOY Programme(1) Mayo(1) Weather(1) Exclusion(1) Visitors(1) Maynooth(1) Buddies(1) Pedagogy(2) Reggio Children Network(1) Recycle(1) Trade Unions(1) responsive relationships(1) Culture(2) Rising to the Challenge(2) Fee Play(1) collaboration(1) Seas Suas(1) Hand Hygiene(2) Malaguzzi(1) Norway(2) Workplace well-being(1) Technology(3) childcare services(1) learning bias(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) Routines(2) Reading Time(1) Through the looking glass(1) preschool settings(1) Thinking(1) Inter-generational learning(2) staying connected(1) Iraq(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) man up(1) Laugh(1) Oireachtas(1) Research Seminar(1) Staff Motivation(1) Performance Management(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Horizon 2020(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) Elders(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) Snack Time(1) Prexit(1) Infectious diseases(1) Pretend Play(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Educators(2) Summer(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Whole Group(1) lockdown(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) outdoor environment(1) Children(4) Childhood(1) NCCA(3) Time(1) christmas(9) children’s learning(1) Leadership(1) Graduation(1) grandchild(1) Glitter(2) child-centric(1) ELC(1) Builders(1) journey(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Confident(1) Exercise(1) Leprechauns(1) curiosity(3) research(6) Wrapping paper(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Leargas(1) Care-giving routines(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Creativity(5) toddlers(3) conference(1) mental health problems(1) Covid response(1) Bereavement(2) healthy eating policies(1) ReCreate(2) Touch(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) The Jelly King(1) Trigonometry(1) linc(1) Building Resilience(1) Well-Being(10) Small World Play(1) Ceremony(1) gender stereotype(1) Competent(1) baby room(1) Digital(1) RTE Investigates(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) Laughter(1) MECPI(1) Super Shed Stories(2) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) refugees(1) Anthony Semann(1) Communications(1) Capable(1) Mantra(1) Pobal(1) Grief(1) Your place(1) Love(3) feisty(1) play(35) ICBN(1) Covid pandemic(1) food(1) imotion(1) CIT(1) Academics(1) Challenges(1) Xbox(1) animals(2) Growing up in Ireland(3) Running(1) Large Doll Play(1) UNCRC(2) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Treasure Chest(1) SAC(1) Children and families(1) eating(1) National Holiday(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Buddy Bench(1) Maths Week(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) development(8) PIP(1) dining experiences(1) Care routines(1) meals(3) ECEC Setting(2) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) Pre-School Services(1) Vietnam(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Snacks(1) outdoor play(6) child-centred approach(1) Magic(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Book Review(1) Our Little Seed(1) Craft(1) Opportunities(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) Art(6) Shoes(1) Blocks(1) Graduate(1) Wesco(1) Inspections(1) Arlene Forster(1) creche(1) Workplace Relations(3) Family wall(1) racism(1) Exploratory Play(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Learning Story Awards(2) babies(7) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Reggio(1) early years learning(1) Masterclass(2) Autism(4) Quality(4) Playschool(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) emotions(2) National Pyjama Day(1) European Project(1) risk(2) Design(1) Engineering(3) Human Resources(1) Environment(2) Sequins(1) Learning journals(1) value(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Storytelling(6) Rich Documentation(1) bonds(1) Budget 2019(2) Easter(1) Decisions(1) curriculum(5) preschool(4) Early Years Educators(3) trust(4) Obesity(1) Primary School(2) Mo Scéal(1) NAEYC(1) Learning Stories Award(3) pets(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Study Trip(1) Brain(1) conversations(1) play stories(2) Kids Own(1) stories(3) books(4) Celebrations(4) AIM(2) Inclusion(3) code of professional responsibility(1) Motor neuron disease(1) budget(1) Awards 2018(3) Community involvement(1) Games(1) Policy(2) Interactions(2) Spiders(1) coronavirus(1) Síolta QAP(1) EECERA 2016(1) Patterns(1) Painting(1) Fantasy play(1) Santa(2) Affordability(1) Advocacy(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) movement behaviours(1) The Lullaby Book(1) outdoor space(3) supportive environments(2) Digital Devices(1) code of ethics(1) Nuturing interactions(1) communication(4) Names(1) Empathy(1) Mindfulness(2) keep in touch(1) blog(41) National Awards 2019(1) listening(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Feeding(1) role playing(1) Irish guidelines(1) Body Language(1) Shapes(1) Self-Esteem(1) Favouritism(1) Degree(1) Sleep(1) Qualifications(1) science(3) Rituals(1) Engineers Week(2) Wonder(1) Exploring(1) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) aistear blog(3) Thanks(1) Appreciation(1) awards 2020(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) reading(5) Maria Montessori(1) RIE philosphy(1) Orla Kenny(1) Awards 2019(1) Síolta(125) Investment(2) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Children's Research Network(1) Plants(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) annual conference(1) Impact(1) Identity and Belonging(4) Exit interview(1) Mud kitchens(1) Limerick(1) reopening(1) Recycling(2) Inspired Practice Awards(1) College(1) Budget 2018(1) Learning Journal(2) Lego(2) Winter(1) Party(1) overhear(1) Stress(2) TRAP(1) Support(1) Performing(1) worries(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Giraffe(2) Workforce(1) Social Skills(1) Infection Control(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Sweets(1) early childhood(1) Diversity(1) Penguins(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) dining(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Reggio Emilia(1) scéalta(45) Self-regulation(1) Time Out(1) listen(1) Biting(1) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Teamwork(1) Awards(2) Book Club(2) Afghanistan(1) ears(1) learning(19) Twitter(1) play pod(1) Line-ups(1) Consent(1) Interaction(1) purpose(1) Map(1) relationships(17) experience(1) education(2) Adoption(1) Administrative Burden(1) art of the relationship(1) Early Childhood Ireland(4) First 5 strategy(1) Smiles(1) UD(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) mushrooms(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) Mealtimes(1) Magda Gerber(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Positivity(1) memories(1) Facebook(1) science week(2) COVID-19(10) routine(2) Socioemotional development(1) Wendy Lee(3) primary education(1) Eritrea(1) AsIAm(2) Treasure(1) Anxiety(2) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) San Miniato(4) STEM(3) june29(1) early years research(2) family time(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) parents(6) Queues(1) Traffic Lights(1) Relaxation(1) ECCE(7) Child Care(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Mixed age groups(3) Sustainable(1) Budget 2020(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Margy Whalley(1) Academic Skills(1) documentation(4) Online(1) Inter-generational(2) Professionalisation(5) Kilkenny(1) Celebrate(1) CCTV(1) Irish(1) Light table(1) DCYA(6) St. Patrick's Day(1) Wilenski(1) Belonging(3) Learning Stories(9) research submissions(1) Participation(2) Health(2) HR(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Emergent Curriculum(1) EM Standing(1) life long learning(1) Titles(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) bloom app(1) Engagement(1) Kerry(1) transitions(10) early childhood educator(2) Story(1) Mathematicians(1) Early Years(1) community(5) Document Learning(1) Japan(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Behaviour(3) story time(2) Childcare(3) CPD(1) Visual Impairment(1) Mark Twain(1) Gardening(1) Self Help Skills(1) University(1) Snakes(1) Cognitive development(1) Halloween(2) apps for children(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) planning(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) youdoodle(1) Home Corner(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) play therapy(1) Nutrition(1) Yoga(1) behavioural science(1) Potential(1) Decision Making(1) Training(2) Italy(1) peer group(1) E.coli(1) education system(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Nonverbal(1) Inspirational(2) First 5(1) dogs(1) INTO(1) Plastic(1) Breathing(2) Trade union(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) UN(1) Music(3) interacting(2) Meet the Members(1) Syria(1)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine