Many new parents are facing mounting debts, childcare issues and mental health problems due to coronavirus, according to campaigners.

More than 270,000 people have now signed petitions for parental leave to be extended by three months.

Three women speak of their experience of being on maternity leave during the pandemic.

‘I haven’t got a support network’

Kirsty Pearce knew she would have to be careful with money while on maternity leave with her baby, but she did not expect to have to rely on family handouts and credit cards.

The learning support assistant, from Harlow in Essex, was meant to return to work at a primary school in June.

Instead, she said she had been forced to take unpaid leave and stay at home with her

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