Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I Found Out I Was Pregnant... And I Became Unemployable

A controversial post today. Not one meant to aggravate the hornets nest by any means, but one that I need to write and one that I feel needs to be read. Obviously I'll be keeping names and such confidential - this is about my situation, not the people in it whom I care about and respect, such as my colleagues.
 

In May this year, I discovered I was pregnant.

I was terrified, excited, feeling sick and elated - all at once. But I had a somewhat steady job, each year we'd go through interviews and sign on for another year - it was common practice, and while stressful I didn't foresee any issues. I spoke to my bosses as soon as I knew, because I thought it was the right thing to do. They told me to keep things quiet, until I reached the 12 week mark and work carried on as usual. I couldn't keep it quiet, I admit - who possibly could?

Time came around for the interviews - I hate interviews and while I don't usually perform at my best, I do okay and I'd gotten through a really tough shortlisting round which some hadn't. Usually shortlisting was a scenario you'd have to write about, this time it was three tests - reading, writing and mathematics - it was a huge surprise as we hadn't expected that. A week I was waiting.. A week of working extra hours, walking in incredible heat and then I got told I hadn't got the contract as I left for a weeks holiday.


Devastation was the only word at that point that could explain how I was feeling. So I hadn't gotten the job, I was pregnant, I had just begun the process to move to a new home - that was swiftly cancelled - and I now faced a month or so working knowing I wouldn't be there to pick up my loose ends afterwards. I did find out at this point, that a colleague (who I'm happy for - please don't think I'm not!) who didn't get through the terrible shortlisting task was offered a permanent contract. It was a definite kick to the face, and I felt my self esteem and self worth plummet to the ground.

When I tried to be honest about how I was feeling about my situation, or when the stress began to show through the fa├žade I was fighting to keep up.. I was labelled bitter, selfish and that I should be happy for my colleagues. I closed myself off at that point. I didn't want to be seen as that person, but inside my own head I was frantic - how would I pay the rent? How would I make my appointments without having the money to do so? How could I afford to have a baby now?

All the rational (and irrational) scenarios played out in my mind. I knew I couldn't do anything that would jeopardise my child - I believe every person who conceives a child has that choice but it wasn't for me. I knew that little bundle of cells in my womb was there to stay, and that I'd fight tooth and nail to give it (now him) the life he deserved to have.

To refocus myself I sat down, updated my CV and began e-mailing.

I began applying at similar jobs, jobs I was qualified for and job I knew I had the experience to cover - from my own specialisation with Autism to retail, to reception administration.. I declared each time I was pregnant because I feel that really is the right thing to do. I had three interviews - they went well, and I had the disappointing 'sorry...' call after a few days. Other than that, not even a response. Not even an e-mail to say they'd looked me over but I wasn't up to scratch.

I know I shouldn't assume the worst because of my pregnancy, but as someone who hasn't had more than three rejections previously - its hard to see past the coincidence. Every week I send off my CV or apply for jobs, and that won't change now either - but now you know why it is imperative to get people supporting the Pregnant the Screwed Campaign: March of the Mummies. My own story is pretty tolerable compared to the treatment of some women, so please support the cause.
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