Mum-Of-Two, Jess Morgan, Writes Candidly On How Her Family Is Busting Gender Stereotypes And How Its Working For Their Parenting

A Welsh mum, Jess Morgan, 32, has written powerfully about busting gender stereotypes in parenthood – insisting she felt no guilt at going back to work after just three weeks. In the face of judgment from friends and family – as well as online trolls – they decided to go against the grain, following an increasingly popular path for new parents.

Jess told Wales Online that she and husband Dave, 39, rationally decided to swap the traditional parenting roles for career reasons.

READ ALSO: Triplet Who Welcomed Triplets Of Her Own Gets Candid About Her Motherhood Journey

When their first child, Murphy, was born, she was a freelance illustrator and designer with a full list of clients – who were not going to wait for her to return from months off. Whereas Dave was working for Gwent Police in a secure and well-paid role.

Three years down the line, the Abergavenny couple have no regrets, and Jess proudly says she feels none of the guilt working mothers are usually made to feel.

Here she writes….

“When I became pregnant with our first child the only thing I thought about was how life was about to be turned upside down and how amazing it was going to be.

Nappies, tears, and cuddles – I was going to embrace it all.

How we were going to look after the baby day-to-day didn’t occur to me.

A few weeks into the pregnancy a friend casually asked: “How long do you think you’ll be able to take off for maternity?”

I was a freelance illustrator and designer with a roster of regular clients and a career that depended on me showing up at work every day. If I wasn’t working I wasn’t getting paid.

Dave was working full-time as a forensic technician for Gwent Police and people assumed he’d carry on working. After all, he’s the man. I would take the statutory maternity pay offered to you if you’re self-employed and I’d stay at home with the baby.”

She continues to explain:

But what about my career? If I took six months off none of my clients were going to wait around for me.

Alongside this Dave was seriously worried about missing out. He wanted to be as involved in the baby’s early life as I was going to be.

We’ve always been a team – best friends who do everything together.

Dave and I had always had a long-term goal to work together and build a business. Dave had animation skills and we knew we worked well as a team.

But Dave’s job was secure, paid well and, with a kid on the way, we didn’t think it was the best time to get all adventurous with our careers.

Then shared parental leave was introduced by the Government in which mothers would still take at least two weeks of maternity leave straight after the birth but the rest could be shared between parents.

It was like the universe was shining down on us. That was the solution. We were 100 per cent on the same page as soon as we knew this was an option.

I would take the first three or four weeks off and then Dave would take over. Sorted.

Then came the comments. People told me I should be the full-time carer and that Dave wouldn’t be able to cope. We were even told we weren’t thinking clearly because we were so excited.

Everybody had an opinion but we knew it was the right decision for us and our family.

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Obviously, it wasn’t that simple. Having your first child is a monster of emotions, hormones, learning, adapting and yes, I felt guilt.

Murphy Violet Lona Helen Morgan was born on May 7 2016 after a pretty horrendous birth but she was (and still is) utterly perfect.

Then the challenges began. She didn’t take to breastfeeding well. I was in pain doing it, I was miserable, and she was miserable.

Poor Dave just wanted to do whatever he could to help.

When you’ve got health visitors, family and even random people making judgements and unhelpful comments about your decisions it really puts a cloud over this supposedly magical time.

Dave even threw a family member out of the house once for being judgemental and making me cry.

It was a difficult time looking back but Dave and I both agreed that next time would be different. We were going to do what was right for us, not what everyone says is right.

Read on:

I remember the moments before I told Dave. Murphy was asleep and he was on the couch, looking a bit deflated.

He said he was gutted that he’d be back in work soon and that he’d miss his time at home so much.

I handed him a box with a pregnancy test inside, unsure as to how he’d react.

It had been such a hard six months with this new tiny human, and even harder for Dave because he’d been a full-time dad. He opened it and wept tears of joy.

In fact he was so happy, it was hilarious. He jumped up, hugged me, and then shouted “I’ll definitely have to quit my job now!”

And so he did. I took two months off work with Maximus, but I was never really off – I was sending emails while on the labour ward.

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