‘I was called lazy for taking 3 maternity leaves back-to-back but it’s my right’

‘I was called lazy for taking 3 maternity leaves back-to-back but it’s my right’

May 15, 2022

A mum was branded “lazy” for taking maternity leaves back to back.

Hebe Axon has spent four of the past five years at home looking after her kids.

The 26-year-old accountant, from Blackpool, was initially "nervous" to tell her bosses about her third pregnancy.

But she didn't have anything to worry about as her manager was supportive about the unplanned baby.

It's actually been the judgement from strangers that's been the trickiest to navigate in recent months.

When Hebe made a light-hearted TikTok video about returning to work after maternity leave, only to fall pregnant again, she was brutally trolled.

The mum told Fabulous: "I didn’t expect more than a few hundred people to see the video and I thought it would give other women a laugh, especially those who could relate to the worry about taking time off from their career to have a family.

"How very wrong I was. It went viral and, though there were some positive remarks, there were many truly savage ones among the 1.9 million views and 1,331 comments it attracted.

"I was called 'lazy' and told I was taking advantage of my company, where I’ve worked for the past six years.

"I was also accused of being a 'drain' on my employer and advised that my fiancé Sam Finch, 25, and I should use birth control."

The online pile-on shook Hebe at first as people called her a "waste of space" and "burden" to her company.

Hebe struggled with the trolling during her third pregnancy and found it difficult to sleep due to the stress.

But now, she's determined not to let it get her down.

The mum, who became an apprentice accountant aged 16 and has worked her way up on the industry, is more than entitled to take her maternity leave.

She explained: "I’ve worked incredibly hard all my life, got my qualifications, paid my taxes and yet, because I want to be a mother and spend some time with my new babies, I’ve been branded a 'drain' on my employer."

Hebe also pointed out that money can be "tight" during maternity leave so the family has had to make sacrifices.

With the support of her fiancé Sam, Hebe is learning to block out hateful comments.

She hopes sharing her story will release some of the stigma that surrounds taking maternity leave.

She added: "We have to stop this shaming of women who take time out of their work to have children. If it was men having babies, it just wouldn’t happen…

"My critics can think what they like, but I’m going to have my career, my family and my maternity leave — and I feel no guilt about that."

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