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Sacre bleu! Give mums real break; French minister at work 5 days after a Caesarean I was back filming after just 4 days.. but it's all too soon.

Byline: Elaine C. Smith

MUCH wringing of hands greeted news that French Justice Minister Rachida Dati was back at her desk last week five days after having a Caesarean birth.

In a perfect world mums would have a few days bedrest then spend as much time with baby as possible - but for many that's just not possible.

Usually an early return to work is due to poverty - hence the old story of African women having babies in the fields then getting up and carrying on with work.

They don't mention how many of those babies survive and how many of the women become ill and subsequently die.

I was back in front of the cameras for a Christmas special of the sitcom City Lights four days after the birth of my daughter Katie.

I'd gone into labour two weeks early and the producers "forgot" I was close to my due date when they set the schedule. One even accused me of giving them a false date.

I knew that if I didn't make the filming it would be held against me and they'd never employ a pregnant woman again.

I got out of my hospital bed after a 17-hour labour - stitches, the lot - and went into the studio armed with two midwives and a rubber ring.

I don't know how I did it and if you watch closely you can see my eyes cross as I sit down.

The pressure on women in highpowered jobs and positions like that of Madame Dati is such that they have to get back to their desks ASAP so the men who are in power can't use it against them in future and accuse them of not having their eye on the job.

I think it is a bad way to be.

I can't believe that in hospitals such as Wishaw General you are lucky to get a cup of tea after you give birth and women are tipped out in eight hours unless there are complications.

They do it mainly because in this state-of-the art hospital there is no room to keep them.

The time with your baby in those early days is incredibly precious.

I made sure I had time to recover in hospital when I had my next baby and had months before I returned to work.

As a result I coped far better the second time.

But unfortunately the pressure on women to get back to work can be too great.


Baby, she's back: Dati returns to work
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 11, 2009
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