Angie experienced very little sympathy at work when she miscarried. After she moved to a different workplace, their response when she had her second loss couldn’t have been more different.
While miscarriage is never an easy thing to go through, the support of a compassionate employer truly makes all the difference.
My first miscarriage was discovered during my routine 12 week scan. I had been working in a high street retailer at the time and had taken the morning off for my appointment. My managers knew I was pregnant, but after my appointment I called them to tell them I wouldn’t be in that afternoon and I could tell they weren’t pleased I wasn’t going to be there.
My body didn’t manage the miscarriage well, so I had to wait a few weeks and have a D&C surgery, which was scheduled for the end of December. As this was over the Christmas period we were very busy in work, and I was happy to continue working to take my mind off things, but I felt that my efforts went unrecognised and I was seen as a bit of an inconvenience when I would nip to the toilet to change my pad, or to take a painkiller.
While my colleagues were sympathetic, management were wholly unsupportive. The festive period is a physically and emotionally demanding time in retail, and I was very clearly unwell, from both the mental distress and the severe bleeding I was experiencing, but I was expected to continue my regular tasks, no exceptions.
When I scheduled my three days off to recover from the surgery and associated general anaesthetic, my (female) manager said to me, “I don’t even know why you need to take the time off for this,” followed by an eye roll. I wasn’t asking for any special treatment from my management, but a bit of empathy and compassion wouldn’t have gone amiss.
I went through my second miscarriage at a different workplace. At this time, I was working for a coffee shop chain and thankfully, my experience couldn’t have been more different. From the moment I discovered I was pregnant, I had weekly scans because of my history. I was given a workplace risk assessment and had time scheduled off for appointments, no questions asked.
When I then ended up going through the miscarriage, my management were incredibly supportive. I had bad days emotionally and physically, and was allowed to set my own tasks, and all my colleagues were warm and sympathetic. My managers regularly asked what they could do to make my job easier while I was going through the process. I was never expected to be at work, and certainly not in my normal capacity, but their support meant I was happy to be there in such a caring environment.
I had another D&C, and this time I was given much more than the minimum time off, and the additional recuperation time definitely helped me on the road to recovery.
The differences in the two workplaces was stark, and I hope that nobody else ever has to experience the treatment I received during my first loss. While miscarriage is never an easy thing to go through, the support of a compassionate employer truly makes all the difference.