Fertility Network UK

Statutory maternity pay V maternity allowance - HELP!

Bit of an unusual post! I started taking metformin 2 weeks ago and I’m due to start taking clomid around mid-March (whenever the new cycle starts) however I’m in a huge predicament. Our main priority is doing all we can to get pregnant and start a family.

I’m stuck in a job at the moment that I hate. I’ve tried so hard to turn it in to something I enjoy or that I can at least tolerate but it’s not working and I know it’s not for me. It’s really getting me down and my stress levels are pretty high - all negatives when it comes to TTC.

I’d love to find a new job and have seen a couple that I think would be a great fit and something I could really do well. It’s a completely different industry which is a bonus.

DH is not keen on me leaving this job for another as should the clomid work straight away it would mean I don’t qualify for statutory maternity pay but I believe I would qualify for maternity allowance however I can’t seem to find any simple information about what the difference in money that you receive would be and for how long.

My argument is that come May (when our initial clomid prescription runs out) if we still aren’t pregnant I’ve wasted 3-4 months in a job I hate whereas if I had changed jobs not only would I be happier but by that point would qualify for their SMP. My argument is also that by being in a job I hate it could have a detrimental effect on our chances of conceiving.

Just wondering if any other ladies have been in the same situation and if they know anymore about the maternity allowance?

We decided we definitely don’t want to push starting clomid back as we’ve waited nearly 4 years for this prescription but I am realistic in the fact that in some cases clomid doesn’t work and the idea of staying in this job because I hope I’ll be pregnant in a couple of months isn’t something I want to do.

Thanks x

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Hi Caro!

I am in a similar situation.

In december we got the referral letter to get our NHS funded IVF cycle and a job offer...

I really wanted to change job and of course I have been praying to be pregnant for 2 years!

I did a bit of research. The policies change depending on the employer, but as far as I understand this would be the minimum you should get: you will always have the allowance if you are working. Also, if you are working, you would have the statutory pay (£143 a week, I think). However, to get not the statutory pay but the pay from your employer (this is usually 90% or 100% of your salary for at least 6 weeks, normally more), you need to get pregnant once in that job. If you start the job being already pregnant, you would only have the right to the statutory pay. But as I said this depends on the employer: companies often have more generous policies, and some say you are eligible to the full pay right after you join, no matter for how long you have been pregnant...

In my case if this cycle is succesful I would only have the statutory pay! But we thought that if that was the case it would be for such a good reason that we wouldn't care! At the same time I thought that if I didn't take the job and the cycle was unsuccessful, I would feel It has been a mistake not taking the job... So here I am, everything happening now!!

Wish you all the best!

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Thank you so much this has been really helpful! Also HUGE congrats on the IVF and new job! :):). I really hope your first cycle is successful for you! What an amazing year it would be!! :)

When I first looked online I saw something that said the allowance could be as low as £39 a week and that terrified me but it’s reassuring to know I’m not alone in this situation!

I’m a big believer in doing what makes you happy (and paying bills at the same time lol) and I’m so unhappy in this job, Sunday evening I go so quiet and it gets noticed. It’s not the people either, they are lovely it’s just the role and industry.

I feel awful because in our relationship I’m fairly laid back and believe everything happens for a reason whereas although DH is very similar he stresses so easily when it comes to money and my mentality of ‘we’ll make it work’ doesn’t seem to help! We really didn’t think we would even get clomid until at least the middle of the year as I was told to get to a certain weight and I’m not quite there yet but we got it and that was the most amazing feeling to be going forward :).

There is the possibility of me working for my dad (from home) whilst on maternity leave doing a bit of admin for his company to bring extra money in (obviously dependant on how I tackle motherhood!) so one way or another I’m sure we would be fine.

I just feel a bit like I’m floating around not sure what to do and I don’t know if it’s the metformin but since I’ve been taking it I’ve been super emotional so DH thinks this is clouding my judgement but it’s not as I felt this way even before the meds. He tolerates my hormones so well lol!

Anyway.. thank you and all the best with everything! :) xx

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Thanks a lot for all the good wishes!! 😄

I am normally the one stressing easily, but lately I am doing an effort to try and not think of all the things that could go wrong... Of course everybody is in a different situation, we have some savings so it wouldn't be dramatic and otherwise if the cycle doesn't work we would probably have to spend much more money in self funding other cycle/s...

But my advise would be to go for It! At least apply! If they make you an offer you can always consider the conditions and decide based on that.

Fingers crossed for you!! 2018 could be a great year!! Xxx

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Thank you again ☺️. 2018 could be amazing! We would be fine financially - just about but you make sacrifices and one way or another you make it work :)

If you don’t mind me asking when does your cycle start? xxx

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I started a long protocol cycle a couple of weeks ago! I am having my first scan next week 😃.

Xxx

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All the luck in the world to you my lovely!! Xxxx

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How good is the maternity package at your current job? And are you sure you wouldn't qualify at the new job? The last 2 places I've worked you qualify for full maternity pay from the day you start working there.

I think being happy in something that you spend 40+ hours a week doing is important and can only help with TTC.

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Heya, it’s fairly standard - you qualify if you’ve been working for the company for 26 weeks and the last week of the 26 weeks doesn’t exceed the 15th week of pregnancy (i think!! the first 6 weeks are then paid at 90% of your full weekly pay then after that it’s SMP for the remainder of the 39 weeks and if you choose to have the full year off the rest of that period is no pay which is fair enough, one of the new roles I’ve seen I’m super keen on but doesn’t give any info on maternity packages.

That’s really good to know! Completely agree! Just not sure how to bring the husband round to this way of thinking! :) xx

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As you don't get any more than statutory maternity pay in your current job and you'd still get this in a new job (as long as you're not already pregnant when you start the job) then I don't see how you'll be any worse off. It's only if you get additional benefits at your current job that you'd lose out.

I worry about money a lot to be honest - but I'd have spent thousands to have a baby.

Also something to point out to hubby - I assume you're planning on returning to work if you have a baby? I was in a job I hated and there isn't a chance I'd have gone back to that job. I had an interview for a new job when my baby was 4 weeks and somehow got it! It was my ideal job and returning to work was actually quite exciting for me. Out of 8 couples in my NCT class I'm the only one back full time. 3 have quit altogether and the others are part time. If you have a job you don't enjoy you're way less likely to go back after which will cost you a lot more in the long run.

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Hello CaroMayberry, I completely understand your situation because I have the same decision to make! My work is a very stressful office job and the days are very long. I’ve been contemplating a new start/career but was scared to do it with ivf on the horizon - so many unknowns not to mention financial pressures of fertility treatments....

I’m glad you have found some potential roles that you think you’d be happy in. It’s my understanding that as long as you are employed with the new employer at the time you become pregnant, you qualify for SMP. I don’t know anything about maternity allowance though I’m afraid.

Good luck with your treatment and I hope you find a more happy less stressful job 😊 xx

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Thank you :) huge good luck to you as well!

I think what got to me is last night DH said I should do what makes me happy and only I can fully make that decision but if I change jobs we can’t get pregnant and need to push treatment back and that was like a knife to the heart. I said we still could but he said we still need to be able to afford to live - it’s quite dramatic as we’re doing ok and both on good salaries but he worries. We both came from backgrounds where our parents struggled financially and I think he’s scared of us having a life of living to work like they did! Xx

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Everything you say is exactly like us! You should double check but I’m pretty sure you qualify as long as you are an employee with your current employer at the time you become pregnant:

Do I have the right to statutory maternity pay?

Statutory maternity pay (SMP) is a weekly payment from your employer. You'll only be able to claim it if:

You've been working for the same employer without a break for at least 26 weeks. You can measure these 26 weeks against the end of the 15th week before the week your baby is due.

You're earning, before tax, an average of £109 a week.

So the end of the 15th week BEFORE the baby is due is 26 weeks in to your pregnancy which means you just need to be an employee at the time of getting pregnant.

I’m struggling to find a new direction to pursue. I’ve qualified after many years of hard work and now feel like it’s the wrong career 🙈 My other half says I should have a complete u turn if I think it would make me happy but I’m not sure what I want to do. So feel like I’m floating along a bit at the moment....

Xx

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Ah it’s the worst feeling! Especially when you’re so sure you know what you want to do then when you get there it’s like ah maybe not. Now I feel screwed lol. I had that a few years ago, all I ever wanted was to be a wedding planner - got there and hated it. Didn’t hate the planning/organisational/happy side but did hate the sales side to it, oddly I’d never even thought sales would come in to wedding planning but you have to make money lol. The groom-Zillas were also horrific 😂.

I think my biggest fear is going for an interview, getting the job, leaving the job I have now and then finding out I’m pregnant a month or so in to the new role and then them letting me go. I don’t think they can do that legally but it is a worry 😬.

I just feel relieved that I’m not alone on this. I’ve felt like such a whiney girl over it but you spend so much of your life at work that I want to do something fulfilling that makes me happy.

A HUGE thank you for the info you’ve given, I’m going to speak to the hubby tonight armed with all these responses.. wish me luck lol!! Xxx

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They definitely couldn’t let you go because you were pregnant. Instant employment tribunal and no company wants that!

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That’s so good to know! I really hope I get called for an interview 🤞🏻😬 xx

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I would speak to the citizens advice and see what they say or have a look at the following links as they might be able to help.

citizensadvice.org.uk/work/...

citizensadvice.org.uk/work/...

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Thanks for this! I hadn’t even thought of looking on citizens advice, I’ll have a look and get in touch, I’m off work today so going to make it a day of research :) xx

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Hi CaroMayberry i am going to get straight to the point, GO FOR IT! Sorry but you will kick yourself if you're still not pregnant in 6 months time and you didn't. Don't know what the rules are at your current place but legally companies only have to give 6 weeks maternity (which is 90% of current pay) and then you get SMP after that which I think is about £143 per week. I think also you need to be at a new job for 26 weeks by the time you are 15 weeks pregnant to qualify, so really you only have to be somewhere about 3-4 months before you qualify for maternity pay (I'm saying this off the top of my head so please do check the gov.uk website for official guidance). I started in a new job in April last year and then got pg through icsi in July, and I checked and I still qualified (sadly lost baby at 12 weeks though). Seriously though you put your life on hold so much through all this sh*t and nothing is ever certain so I would say do it. Obviously it's your choice at the end of the day. Also check that the new company has a good reputation for treatment of pregnant ladies. I moved from a very blokey company (a bunch of cocks basically) to local government who are amazing. I'm 100% glad I made the move. Good luck in what you decide xx

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THANK YOU! I’m off work today and have decided to apply for the job I love the look of, just so happens I’m also off work on the day of the interviews (is it fate??). I think I just hoped DH would have been more encouraging.

Being a woman on this journey is hard. I think about our infertility struggles daily, I meditate every frickin evening. I take yeast flavoured folic acid tablets that are HUGE and make me gag everytime I take a whiff of them, I use a sensor every night to chart my temperate - this thing is great but nothing kills your sex life more than placing a thermometer the shape of a giant sperm up in your vagina 😂, I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol since OCTOBER, really happy to be on metformin but my god I’ve had the worst side effects from an upset stomach to nausea that lasted a whole week and now bursts of crying and migraine type headaches, I put on the happy face around all our gloriously radiant pregnant friends and secretly cry when no one is watching. Had 6 months of CBT therapy to ‘cleanse the mind’ AND gave up gluten, sugar, dairy (cheese!!!) and most of the wonderful carbs to keep the PCOS symptoms at bay and loose weight so personally I think I deserve to work in an environment that makes me happy. Men have it so easy lol. I just have to remind myself that he doesn’t have all these thoughts going through his head all the time, he worries about money etc and I worry about ovulation. <- all of this written in good humour :). I know we’re all on the same journey and in a way it makes me proud as all the women I speak to (especially on here) are so strong and I’m proud to be one of them, honestly this forum has been a godsend :).

I’m so sorry to hear about your loss :(, that’s an awful thing to have to go through especially with a fairly new job as well. Have you tried ICSI again or holding off for a while?

Current industry is very corporate, investment banking but the new role would be in education at a secondary school. Not sure if the education industry as a whole is good for maternity leave? Xx

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I'm not sure about education, but I have heard good things. My paycut took a little bit of effort on my part - went from getting 30k + generous bonus to 12k, but it was the difference if working 50hrs+ week & 3hrs driving commute every day to working 20 hrs week & 30min bus journey. Ive had to take a hard look at my finances but it just showed me how much money I was wasting on total crap. I guess you also have to think about when you have babies, I'd much prefer to spend time at home with them than work all day and pay for childcare. It just seemed to add up for me to be honest. I think the one thing that got me through my mc was my lovely boss! My last company probably would have treated me bad and I think I would have ended up having a meltdown. We did icsi again in Jan and I'm currently 6wks, hoping to god this one stays put!! Don't worry, whatever happens everything will work out for you in the end x

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A happy, well balanced life is definitely more important than a salary I find although very daunting to take that cut! Huge well done to you for doing it and if you’re much happier then it’s a bonus ☺️. That’s exactly where I’m at, I don’t want to pay someone else to look after my babies, I’ve always wanted us to try and get to the point where we can live off of 1 salary so that there’s no immediate rush to get back to work but life can get in the way!

HUGE congrats on your pregnancy!! I hope you have a sticky bean and that your baby dream comes true 🤞🏻💗 xxxx

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I don't have any advice on the maternity pay issue but what I will say is don't put off ANYTHING in the hope it might work. If it does work then you're happy on both fronts, maybe with a little less money, but if it doesn't work you're still stuck in a job you don't like whereas at least you could have changed that. During this process Ive missed out on so much because I kept thinking 'what if this works' and then being doubly miserable when it hasn't worked.

Good luck with everything xx

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Thank you! Exactly the mindset I’ve been in as well. I know that as soon as we see that BFP nothing else in the word will matter, especially for DH as he’s dying to be a father. I just really want to give clomid the best chance of success and I honestly believe being happy in my job will help.

Good luck to you as well xx

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Hi there, i’d also go for it!!! Life’s too short and from reading your post above you’ve made quite a lot of changes to your life already in order to be in the best place to conceive.

As long as you could afford to live on the minimum amount of mat pay should you conceive sooner rather than later... do it!!

💕

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Thank you so much, I’m back to work tomorrow and just dreading it already. Not sure if it’s the metformin giving me headaches or a tension headache from stressing about tomorrow? I applied for the job! :) going to speak to DH about it later if he’s in a good mood or at the weekend :) xx

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Hi Caro. I’m not able to give any advice on the maternity leave but sounds like lots of helpful suggestions already. I left my job in December after being unhappy for so long- I kept on hoping that I would get pregnant and then the maternity leave would be a way out but then it didn’t happen. Luckily, my husband had been really supportive and actually encouraged me to leave. I’m having a break from work at the moment- just had my first round of IVF which unfortunately did not work but at least I don’t have to go back to working somewhere that made me feel so bad.

I know it is hard to balance money etc but life is too short to be unhappy at work. No- one says at the end of their life that they wished they spent more time at work! Good luck on your journey- I am sure your other half will come round once he has thought about it a bit more. Xx

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Thank you for this, I never expected this post to get this many replies! :). I’ve applied for this other job and if I don’t get it I think I’m going to look around and maybe see if there is a way to work for my dad until I find something. I’ve never felt like this about a job before and I hate feeling stressed out. I hope he comes round 🤞🏻

I did the exact same thing as you, kept hoping I’d get pregnant then the wait until Mat leave wouldn’t be so bad but it’s not happened.

Sorry your first round didn’t work, sending baby dust to you for whatever your next step is 💗💗 xxx

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I know where you’re coming from, I stayed in a job that I disliked for a long time. Ultimately I got pregnant but miscarried. I then moved on to what I thought would be a better job, on paper less stress but unfortunately it wasn’t. So decided to take a career break. During that time we did our first round of ivf which again ended in miscarriage. I’m currently in the middle of my second ivf cycle (FET) and interviewing for a new job. I don’t know what will happen but we have reached the conclusion that we really can’t control of any of this and what will be will be. We can figure it out if we have to. A baby is priceless and I think you have to do whatever you can to make the situation as bearable as possible. Could you interview for the roles and make a decision based on the outcome? Sometimes it can take weeks or months for the interview process and if you’re offered a job but already pregnant you could stay where you are, if not you haven’t lost anything or feel like you’ve missed an opportunity. As choctastic said you really don’t know how things will play out so do what makes you happy. Good luck with it all! X

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Amazing advice thank you. I’m so sorry about your losses, I really hope this cycle is successful for you both 💗.

The interview date is the end of this month and my current notice period is a week - I did the exact same as you with the job, started this one thinking it would be a better option with less stress but completely wrong. I don’t feel like I ‘fit’ and I don’t think the company were ready for this role, it’s a new one and I feel a bit like a guinea pig. There’s no written job description and I feel like I’m sinking. everyone says to give it time but I know it’s not right for me, I’ve had jobs before where it’s taken a while to get in to but nothing like this xxx

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Hiya! Good luck with ur journey! Just a thought i think that on average U need to be working for 26 weeks with an employer before you qualify for any maternity. So if u did leave you would still be ok unless you decide to take maternity real early on??

Why cant you leave; join another job and keep ttc with the clomid etc. You will have accrued enough working weeks and legally you dont need to tell the employer until a certain time in ur pregnancy 🤰🏻 so dw! Xx

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Thank you 💗 I think I must have been working things out wrong when I looked at general maternity leave requirements! It’s so reassuring to know I should be ok. Providing when it happens there are no issues we agreed that I’d work as near to the due date as possible so that I can use most of the leave for when we have our baby. Just keep visualising it happening and keeping the positive thoughts coming... aside from work related thoughts lol xxx

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I will have another look at the legal requirements and get back to you if theres anything useful xx

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Thank you! If I come across any clear info I’ll update as well :) xx

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4. Eligibility

Statutory Maternity Leave

You qualify for Statutory Maternity Leave if:

you’re an employee not a ‘worker’

you give your employer the correct notice

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been with your employer, how many hours you work or how much you get paid.

You can’t get Statutory Maternity Leave if you have a child through surrogacy - you could get Statutory Adoption Leave and Pay instead.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

To qualify for SMP you must:

earn on average at least £113 a week

give the correct notice

give proof you’re pregnant

have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks continuing into the ‘qualifying week’ - the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth

You can’t get SMP if you go into police custody during your maternity pay period. It won’t restart when you’re discharged.

5. How to claim

Statutory Maternity Leave

At least 15 weeks before your due date, tell your employer when the baby is due and when you want to start your maternity leave. Your employer can ask for this in writing.

Your employer must write to you within 28 days confirming your start and end dates.

Use the maternity planner to work out when you must claim your maternity leave.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

Tell your employer you want to stop work to have a baby and the day you want your SMP to start. You must give them at least 28 days’ notice (in writing if they ask for it) and proof that you’re pregnant.

Your employer must confirm within 28 days how much SMP you’ll get and when it will start and stop.

If they decide you’re not eligible, they must give you form SMP1 within 7 days of making their decision and explain why.

Proof you’re pregnant

You need to give your employer proof of the pregnancy to get SMP. You don’t need it for maternity leave.

Within 21 days of your SMP start date (or as soon as possible if the baby’s born early) give your employer either:

a letter from your doctor or midwife

your MATB1 certificate - doctors and midwives will give you this no more than 20 weeks before the due date

You won’t get SMP if you don’t give your employer proof that the baby is due.

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Ah massive thanks for this!! 👍🏻👍🏻 So, because I suck at maths if you have to have worked for them for 26 weeks with the qualifying week being the 15th week before the due date does that mean you only really have to have worked somewhere for a couple of weeks before conceiving? I feel like I’m being thick 😂 xx

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I stayed in my job longer than I should have done due to thinking of mat pay, and it was a huge relief to move. Having still not had a baby two years on, I’m so glad I didn’t stay any longer. Maybe you’d just have to think that you wouldn’t be able to take as long off work if your mat pay arrangements weren’t as good in a new job?

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Exactly, I definitely don’t want to have any regrets at all and if I get asked to go for an interview it would be the best and I really hope I get it 🤞🏻. If we got pregnant as well it would be double celebrations for sure 😍 xx

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I have been in this dilemma for 3 years while going through IVF cycles! I hate my job im full time but the maternity package is good so I have stuck with it through gritted teeth. with each failed cycle i felt worse being here! But our 4th try and im currently 19 weeks pregnant and really enjoying putting my fingers up at work :) i cant wait to go on maternity and part time when i come back. (hope to do a hairdressing course to leave altogether but i can manage part time for a while)

I wouldn't necessarily recommend staying in a job you hate its so hard and with each failed cycle you want to leave even more! but luckily for me its worked out for now... xx

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Firstly, congratulations!!!! When does your leave start? Such an exciting time for you!! :).

Sticking it out for 3 years whilst doing ivf must have been really hard at times, finally spoke to DH about it last night and all is now good :). I’ve applied for this other job and just hope I get an interview 🤞🏻Xx

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awww good luck!!! Im wanting to start it as soon as i can to get out of here lol but my sensible head is saying start as late as possible so im with the baby more next year! x

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