… this is an article about my experience.
As Infertility week finished yesterday I think it is a great time to reflect on what this can mean in the workplace since I have personally been affected by this. Now some will say how is having fertility problems relevant at work? This is a widely accepted position but unfortunately it affects every part of your life. I write this now from a position of having two adopted children who are happy and healthy but I know I was not strong enough to bring up the discussion at the time it was happening.
We went through two and half years of dealing with infertility before we received our first adopted baby. Many of you probably think this is a long period of time but to anyone who has been, or is going through this it is not; many people struggle with this for many more years than us.
So why is this relevant in the workplace? Perhaps something everyone can reflect on for themselves at the end of this article. During these two and a half years I miscarried six times at different stages of pregnancy, underwent two operations and my husband and I had multiple invasive tests to try and understand what was happening. I can tell you it is emotionally and physically draining.
Can you imagine the impact it then had on me when I got questioned about our lack of children or why I would consider a complete change in job role when I had just got married and presumably wanted to start a family? Generally people have good intentions when they ask these questions but they left me feeling even worse than potentially I already did. I had good days and bad days and certainly on a bad day I could not always just change the subject and keep going.
I ask everyone who is reading this to please think twice before offering helpful advice or asking potentially hurtful questions to women or couples in your life who don‘t have children. The situation is not always as it might seem to someone on the outside and you run the risk of upsetting or even alienating the person who you thought you were trying to help, even if your intentions were kind. They may have just decided not to have children or there may be one of a number of other reasons behind their situation which are for no one else but themselves to judge. I hope that if the individual or couple do want to talk about their situation then they will find the appropriate time and place to talk to their own support network but this is more than likely not going to be in a work environment.
I have heard these comments all too often and know many other women with different histories who have been affected by these type of questions & comments. I really hope me opening up may just help a few others so they don’t have to be put on the spot and made to feel uncomfortable in this way..