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:

Wrapping paper(1) Performance Management(1) Capable(1) Irish(1) Supernanny(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Obesity(1) family time(1) Wilenski(1) education system(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) dining experiences(1) Painting(1) Early Years(1) Snack Time(1) Maths(6) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Biting(1) Bereavement(2) Health(2) Relaxation(1) Plants(1) Adoption(1) Behaviour(3) gender bias(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Arithmetic(1) dogs(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Identity and Belonging(4) Mo Scéal(1) Looking Forward(1) Inter-generational(2) CIT(1) Belonging(3) research(6) Celebrations(4) outdoor environment(1) San Miniato(4) Love(3) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) science(3) Training(2) outdoor play(6) Our Little Seed(1) story time(2) Mayo(1) Learning Story Awards(2) International Narratives(1) Patterns(1) Names(1) Large Doll Play(1) preschool(4) First 5 transitions for children award(1) stories(3) RTE Investigates(1) Thank you(1) Reading Time(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Consent(1) European Early Childhood Education Research Association(2) books(4) outdoor space(3) animals(2) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Children's Rights(3) Scents(1) christmas(9) budget(1) CCTV(1) ELC(1) community(5) Seas Suas(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) Light table(1) Trade union(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Home Corner(1) RIE philosphy(1) Siolta blog(8) Engineering(3) Challenges(1) Maternity Leave(1) Self-Esteem(1) Human Resources(1) Imagination(3) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Digital Devices(1) AsIAm(2) Kilkenny(1) awards 2020(1) blog(52) Celebrate(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Graduation(1) Awards Night(1) social media policy(1) Magnavacchi(1) Line-ups(1) Environment(2) SPICE Framework(1) Communicating(1) Plastic(1) Halloween(2) Recycling(2) responsive relationships(1) Looking Back(1) Iraq(1) Jenga(1) Potential(1) Decisions(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Arts(1) ICBN(1) learning bias(1) Trade Unions(1) Storytelling(7) Fabric(1) Inclusion(3) Social Skills(1) aistear blog(3) Visual Impairment(1) risky play(2) Sustainability(3) Upcycling(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) youdoodle(1) Exploring(1) racism(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Games(1) Employee(1) Magda Gerber(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Meal time(1) Support(1) Photographs(1) Early Childhood Ireland(10) Confident(1) childcare services(1) Infection Control(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Wendy Lee(3) Thanks(1) Glitter(2) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Effect of Lockdown(1) ECCE(7) National Annual Awards 2020(1) Syria(1) learning hub(1) art of the relationship(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Kindness(1) Learning Journal(2) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) emotional environment(2) Research Seminar(1) early childhood educator(2) Mealtimes(1) value(1) science week(2) Routines(2) Little Buddies(1) Your place(1) Sweets(1) pablo(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) conversations(1) Universal Design(2) Event Guide(1) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Educators(2) learners(1) early childhood(1) MA(1) Leargas(1) UNICEF report(1) Academic Skills(1) Sequins(1) Workforce(1) UN(1) Policy(2) Decision Making(1) Book Review(1) Buddy Bench(1) Kids Own(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Mental Health(4) Smiles(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Pobal sector profile(1) purpose(1) CPD(1) Frustrations(1) Budget 2018(1) Trick or treat(1) scéalta(55) children’s learning(1) COVID-19 landscape(1) Brain(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Treasure(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) experience(1) Snacks(1) developing motor skills(1) Mixed age groups(3) Scéalta Blog(104) early years settings(1) Early Learning and Care(1) TOY Programme(1) supportive environments(2) Creative(1) GoToMeeting app(1) STEM(3) Research and Professional Learning(1) listen(1) Map(1) School Age Childcare(1) GDPR(1) Funding(1) code of professional responsibility(1) NAEYC(1) reopening(1) Early Years Education(1) Self Help Skills(1) Infectious diseases(1) Party(1) Exclusion(1) Child Care(1) Inter-generational learning(2) creche(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) AIM(2) Academics(1) Visitors(1) Awards 2018(3) Prexit(1) Montessori(3) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) Administrative Burden(1) Craft(1) Qualifications(1) Staff Motivation(1) Competent(1) under 3's(3) Sustainable(1) risk assessment(1) Learning journals(1) Flowers(1) Malaguzzi(1) Cognitive development(1) preschool settings(1) mushrooms(1) show and tell(1) Seanchaí(1) Giraffe(2) Wesco(1) Mantra(1) phone apps(1) risk(2) Special Needs Assistants(1) Window(1) Diversity(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) Síolta(136) Oireachtas(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Workplace well-being(1) Ceremony(1) Care routines(1) Meet the Members(1) online training(1) Maths Week(1) EM Standing(1) Story(2) research submissions(1) Anthony Semann(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Quality(4) Playdough(1) Running(1) child-centred approach(1) Nuturing interactions(1) National Holiday(1) Time Out(1) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Study Trip(1) iOS(1) Fee Play(1) dining(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) reopening ireland(1) Self-regulation(1) Exploratory Play(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Winter(1) Sculptures(1) Youtube Series(1) reading(5) Annual Conference 2017(2) life long learning(1) Titles(1) pets(1) bonds(1) grandchild(1) Thinking(1) Independence(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Certificate(1) Family(1) Engineers Week(2) Care-giving routines(1) Mathematicians(1) Childcare(3) Settling in(4) Covid19 crisis(1) linc(1) journey(1) Positivity(1) imotion(1) playleader(1) College(1) overhear(1) New Appointments(1) peer group(1) The Jelly King(1) Equality(1) code of ethics(1) Loving Relationships(2) Trigonometry(1) Covid pandemic(2) Whole Group(1) Culture(2) Workplace Relations(3) Sleep(1) Síolta QAP(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) food(1) Mark Twain(1) Family wall(1) Elders(1) Nonverbal(1) Body Language(1) Feeding(1) Return to Work Training(1) primary education(1) ECEC(3) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Nutrition(1) Awards 2019(1) play pods(2) Research Conference 2019(1) Treasure Chest(1) National Awards 2018(2) educarer(1) Advocacy(1) child-centric(1) Grief(1) Appreciation(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Children's Voice(1) role playing(1) Maria Montessori(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Art(6) Learning Stories Award(3) Professionalisation(5) PIP(1) MECPI(1) Design(1) Interactions(3) Lego(2) curiosity(3) Sessional service(1) eating(1) Loss(1) Spiders(1) Shapes(2) Impact(1) COVID-19(14) Budget 2020(1) Exercise(1) Santa(2) trust(4) coronavirus(1) Early Years Educators(3) feisty(1) Exit interview(1) Playschool(1) healthy eating policies(1) Inspections(1) play pod(1) Learning Stories(9) ERASMUS+(3) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) ECEC Setting(2) routine(2) Favouritism(1) Inspired Practice Award(6) COVID-19 crisis(1) Orla Kenny(1) E.coli(1) Childhood(1) United Nations(1) Kerry(1) keep in touch(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Touch(1) early years learning(1) behavioural science(1) emotions(2) Interests(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Mount Everest(1) Penguins(1) Liz Kerrins(1) early years research(2) Easter(1) Child mental health(1) TRAP(1) Awards(2) Aistear(130) Socioemotional development(1) Traditions(2) toddlers(3) Through the looking glass(1) Vietnam(1) Community involvement(1) refugees(1) Confidence(1) keezy(1) curriculum(5) Wonder(1) friendships(1) Counting(1) Graduate(1) National Awards 2019(1) First 5 strategy(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) DES Inspection(1) development(8) Horizon 2020(1) Degree(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) social media(2) Online(1) Laugh(1) Investment(2) education(2) Masterclass(2) Iceland(1) planning(1) Super Shed Stories(2) relationships(18) early life(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Technology(3) documentation(4) play stories(2) Facebook(1) Recycle(1) inspiring interactions(1) InspireMe.ie(1) Weather(1) Reggio(1) Proceedings Journal(1) Reggio Children Network(1) transitions(10) Rituals(1) meals(3) democratic citizens(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) worries(1) play therapy(1) Mindfulness(3) Sociodramatic play(1) Reopening Childcare(1) Cork(1) Arlene Forster(1) Japan(1) conference(1) Children and families(1) Children's Research Network(1) mental health problems(1) Snakes(1) DCYA(6) Breathing(2) Buddies(1) Queues(1) NCCA(3) Pedagogy(2) Creativity(6) collaboration(1) SAC(1) Vertical grouping(1) Small World Play(1) Autism(4) Summer(1) Inspirational(2) continual professional development(1) Yoga(1) Afghanistan(1) Gratitude(1) Pretend Play(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Annual Conference 2019(1) Engagement(1) baby room(1) Interaction(1) Builders(1) environments(1) memories(1) Leadership(1) Document Learning(1) parents(6) Empathy(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Book Club(2) Building Resilience(1) ReCreate(2) Eritrea(1) Digital(1) Performing(1) learning(19) Access and Inclusion Model(2) First 5(1) INTO(1) Learning Story(1) EECERA 2016(1) listening(1) Mud kitchens(1) multi-generational community(1) UD(1) Reggio Emilia(2) Communications(1) Limerick(1) Irish guidelines(1) Hand Hygiene(2) apps for children(1) Kindness Challenge(1) Norway(2) European Project(1) play(35) movement behaviours(1) dublin(2) Participation(2) Death(2) ears(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) structure(1) maternity health(1) Xbox(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) IGL(1) Role play(1) ECIAwards20(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Children(4) Dance(1) UNCRC(2) Maynooth(1) staying connected(1) Twitter(1) Online Research Symposium(1) outdoors(4) University(1) Opportunities(1) interacting(2) Gardening(1) World Health Organisation(1) Maynooth University(2) communication(4) Rich Documentation(1) educating(1) Sport(1) Intention(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Shoes(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Valentine's Day(3) june29(1) EECERA(1) social science(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) man up(1) Inspiring Practice(1) Drawing(2) Ariana Pucci(1) Margy Whalley(1) babies(7) Pen green(1) Albert Einstein(1) Anxiety(2) Primary School(3) lockdown(1) Music(3) Pobal(1) Well-Being(10) Identity(5) Learning through Storytelling(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) Leprechauns(1) respect(5) Pre-School Services(1) gender stereotype(1) Blocks(1) Reflective Practice(1) annual awards(1) Traffic Lights(1) democracy(1) Fantasy play(1) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) Time(1) Covid response(2) Scéalta Book Review(1) Laughter(1) children development(1) Affordability(1) Engineering Ireland(1) HR(1) Italy(1) emotional well-being(1) Change(1) Magic(1) Early Childhood Education(1) Stress(2) annual conference(1) bloom app(1) Budget 2019(2) Teamwork(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine