Prior to March this year, I’d regularly find myself hiding in the first aid room or the toilets at work, unable to cope with the grief of two pregnancy losses last year as a result of a second go at assisted conception. This time it was ICSI; our first go was a wholly unsuccessful try at IVF.
A general lack of awareness about fertility means that workplaces like mine don’t have a fertility policy in place, and though I’ve tried to be as open as I can with my employer, I’ve often felt frustrated by a seeming lack of support and understanding.
While my future as a parent is unknown, my work is everything to me. Yet I was drowning in an office environment full of pregnant colleagues and proud new grandparents sharing photos of their newest family members.
Since August 2019, I’d been denied a pay rise I’d previously been promised, awarded a smaller bonus than colleagues doing the same job and made to feel I was somehow in trouble for the amount of time I’d had off sick as a result of my miscarriages.
The overwhelming sorrow I was experiencing was morphing into a deep-rooted self-loathing.
While I appreciate that my employer’s lack of policy is not conscious or wilful, I am being let down. And in an office of 300+, I can be fairly certain that I’m not alone.