Maternity Leave and Merry Christmas from Leanne Buckley-Thomson

Tue, 17 Dec 2019

Perhaps writing an article as opposed to a post is the wrong way to go about these things but somehow it felt appropriate.

For those who know and have worked with me, you'll be keenly aware that I am one of life's grafters. I genuinely love my job - which helps - and I enjoy the hustle and bustle of practising at the bar. For those who read my social media you'll also be aware that I went through IVF last year which was, thankfully, successful and in October I gave birth to my little girl.

After such a long wait, I am relishing in the opportunity to be a mum. However I am also faced with the conundrum that I think most women at the bar face - feeling blessed to be a parent but also craving the different type of stimulation that work brings. It's a balance between wanting to be working but feeling as though you should feel guilty that the thought even crosses your mind.

I faced quite a lot of questioning in my personal life about wanting to return to work in February 2020, after 4 months leave (and when my daughter will be 3.5 months old). Yes part of that decision is due to me being self-employed but also a very big part of it is that I genuinely love working. I spent most of my life wanting to be a barrister and working towards that aim so of course I feel so very lucky to be in the position that I am in and I absolutely love driving for results for my clients. I am itching to get back to it so much so that today I am working my first KIT day whilst my daughter sleeps peacefully in the next room with my own Mum watching over her.

Why did I decide to write this post? Well, because having read quite a lot on social media recently about women at the bar returning to work, and having had fears myself about how it would all play out, I am reassured that it is possible to thrive. I know many women, including women in my own chambers working in my areas of law, who are fantastic mothers and exceptional barristers. Some women (and of course many parents, not just women) want to be at home but others do want to be at work too and it is absolutely possible to be wonderful in both arenas.

So here's to all of the working parents (and of course to all of you who have caring responsibilities) smashing it on the daily. I salute you all. I'm still here...now a working parent too.

I'll be back in February 2020 raring to go - and doing my KIT days beforehand. A huge Merry Christmas to all with a big thank you to my chambers who have been fantastically supportive both during my treatment and my leave, to my clients who have been an absolute dream, and to the best colleagues one could wish for. I look forward to working with you all in 2020!

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