My journey through a difficult pregnancy

Helen Wilson- Rehabilitation Registrar at John Hunter Hospital.
 
Last year I was pregnant with twins, with a due date of 23 March 2022.  Unfortunately, I experienced complications which required multiple hospital admissions and surgical intervention, and we lost our twin Eva on the 11 November 2011, at 21 weeks.
 
To ensure against further complications I was on high watch for early labour and was admitted early to hospital. At this stage I had completely exhausted all my sick leave entitlements and so I reached out to ASMOF for assistance.
 
Elishka Skelding, an Industrial Officer at ASMOF, got back to me and informed me about my entitlements. She also followed up with the hospital to ensure I could access them. One of the best things about ASMOF was that they handled all of the correspondence for me, so I didn’t have to worry about it while in hospital.
 
Elishka wrote to my employer on my behalf and I was able to access paid maternity leave from 11 November 2021 due to Eva’s stillbirth. Under cl 17A(xii) of the JMO Award  we are entitled to 14 weeks’ of paid maternity leave on the stillbirth of a baby after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
 
Elishka also informed me that I was entitled to ‘paid special pre-term parental leave’ from the date of birth of my second twin until the end of 36 weeks. Pre-term parental leave only came into effect last year and is a new entitlement, and many people don’t know about it.
 
This leave, at full pay, allowed me to spend time with Clara while she was in NICU, but also to recover myself from the birth. It also meant when she was discharged I hadn’t already exhausted most of my maternity leave. I could spend it with her at home, as it is intended. 
 
After such a stressful start I am so happy to be home with my baby Clara.
 
I hope my story helps others understand their entitlements, because I know many of us don’t even know preterm birth leave exists as it is such a new entitlement.
 
If you have any questions about your entitlements to parental leave or pre-term birth leave, or are getting push back from your hospital, I really encourage you to get in touch with ASMOF for assistance.


MORE INFO: If you would like further information about leave after miscarriage or premature birth please see pages 5 & 6 of this NSW Health FAQ.
Email [email protected] for further advice and assistance. 


If you have been impacted by pregnancy and infant loss NSW Health has a list of services that may be helpful to reach out to.