Yes I do have a permanent position and am entitled to maternity leave. I'd rather not say what line of work my government position is in, however I can say that it's (supposedly!) very family-orientated and child focused (haha). I also know from past experience, and from other co-workers, that a temporary position is quite easy to fill and there would be no problems with this. I guess my boss just feels I don't deserve it (and he would feel this x 3 if we were to get pregnant again) which is definitely his problem but not nice to have to work with every day.
I would love it if I could return to work for a longer period however I'm an older mum and if we leave it too much longer I will feel too old and decide for that reason alone that we shouldn't have a third. In hindsight I wish I'd returned to work after one year with my second but my second bub was a very sick baby who didn't sleep at night very well so it wasn't really possible at the time
Thanks for the replies - they are really helping me to work through the thoughts that have been going around and around in my mind! Although I'm still no nearer a solution