Sarah experienced recurrent losses in two different workplaces, and found much more support and understanding in the second of the two.
I told people I was taking 3 days holiday. It was so hard because everyone asked me how my holiday was and I just lied and said it was good.
I had 4 miscarriages during my time at my previous company.
My first miscarriage was so unexpected as I only found out at the 12 week scan. I had a blighted ovum and I chose the surgery and I took 10 days off in total including the surgery and recovery time. I only told my boss but as I disappeared quite suddenly during a really busy time in an office environment where everyone knows who should be there or not, it was blatantly obvious something had happened. I was fairly newly married so I think people just put two and two together. My boss was great though and as no one talked to me about it, I actually found work a bit of a hiding place from the grief as I didn’t get chance to think about it.
We struggled to get pregnant again for a long time and I got a bit bored of my job as I was on top of it and not learning anything new. I asked my boss if I could change roles and to be honest was looking for a bit more responsibility but I was offered a sideways move and took it. As I was moving roles and handing over my old role, I got pregnant again but this time I booked an early scan at 8 weeks. The scan showed no heart beat but a foetal pole so the sonographer asked to see me again in a week.
I will never forget that week as I went back to the office (unlike my first miscarriage where I stayed at home). I couldn’t concentrate at all and I couldn’t get my brain to work. I remember as I was handing over to my male colleague, I couldn’t do simple maths in my head and he picked me up on it saying some horrible remark and I literally could have screamed at him. I felt so, so low. Again I told my boss (who was a different boss) and he acknowledged it, but no one really offered me any support.
I had the surgery again, took 3 days off and came straight back to work as I didn’t want to be missing and people start wondering where I am again. I also told people I was taking 3 days holiday. It was so hard because everyone asked me how my holiday was and I just lied and said it was good.
I remember coming back to work and seeing some replies to some emails I had written during that week. It was the strangest feeling as I don’t remember writing or sending any of those emails, almost as if I had dreamt it.
I went on to have 2 more miscarriages in the same role and I found myself not really progressing at work. I wanted them to restructure the team so I could take on more but they weren’t willing to do it so I left the business as I decided I needed a fresh start.
Within 3 months of starting at my new job in a new company I got pregnant again. I thought I would be able to handle just keeping it to myself until the first scan but I had a full on meltdown at work and I had to tell my new boss my full history. As I had only been there 3 months I couldn’t believe how understanding they were. I went on to have a full pregnancy and they were supportive throughout. They took all the stress out of scans and appointments by being fully flexible and I never felt like I fell behind as I was able to catch up when it suited me.
Leaving my old company for a fresh start was the best thing I did. I wouldn’t say I went onto having a full term pregnancy because of it as I had found a doctor who treated my miscarriages, but the flexibility and kindness of my new company and the acknowledgement of it certainly made me feel better.
Miscarriage at work is still such a secret. If I had taken 3 days off to have minor surgery on a limb, I would just tell people, but for some reason I couldn’t tell people what was happening and had to just put on a brave face throughout each miscarriage. It was so tempting to go off sick and take time out but I just felt like that would be a slippery slope.