Thursday 20 June 2019

'I had to go back to work two days after I had my second lad' - business owner turned down by 40 different crèches in the capital

Childcare search: Mother-of-two Sharon Keegan with her six-month-old baby Bobby. Photo: Mark Condren
Childcare search: Mother-of-two Sharon Keegan with her six-month-old baby Bobby. Photo: Mark Condren
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

Business owner Sharon Keegan contacted around 40 different crèches after having her second baby boy six months ago, but her search has proved fruitless.

She lives in Walkinstown, in Dublin 12, and while there are a large number of childcare providers in the area, there was little space available for babies.

Ms Keegan, who runs leisurewear business Peachy Lean, had to extend her search out to the Dublin 24 area only to be told the same.

She described it as a huge crisis facing working parents and mothers trying to return to work after maternity leave.

"I had to go back to work very early, two days after I had my second lad.

"That's my own choice, you have to just dig in when you have your own business," she said.

Her eldest son Liam (4) is in a childcare facility and she assumed that her baby would attend the same one, only to be told there was no room.

"I had to put the baby's name down when I was pregnant, which I felt really funny about.

"They do have a baby room but it's full and they were lovely about it. They say they're trying their absolute best but right now, I don't have any other options," said Ms Keegan.

She suffered from post-natal depression (PND) after the birth of her first son and she credits being able to return to studying in UCD with helping her to cope with it.

"I think it was the shock of being at home all day with a child, I just couldn't cope and I needed to be creative," she said.

Her PND returned after she had her second son but she was better able to deal with it this time around.

However, she said that while her business is starting to really take off, she is unable to return to work full-time until she secures a place for Bobby.

"If you don't work, you're not going to be able to pay for childcare but if you don't have childcare, you can't work so it's a 'Catch-22' situation," she said.

Irish Independent

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