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A bit miserable - just a vent

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by clementinesandbrazilnuts, May 8, 2020.

  1. clementinesandbrazilnuts

    clementinesandbrazilnuts New commenter

    I am 8 weeks pregnant and while I’m emotionally delighted, I am physically really struggling with sickness, nausea, exhaustion/fatigue and headaches, plus a bad back I can’t treat with drugs making me dread every sneeze, of which there are a lot (hay fever!)

    Obviously these come under the heading of minor ailments and I do know there are other things happening in the world. The problem is we are being asked to do an increasing amount remotely - attend Zoom meetings, online CPD, and as well as prepare work for students and I’m also in once a week on a rota.

    I’m seeming to get an awful lot of criticism for the work I do do, and it’s wearing me down more than the pregnancy is!

    I know this too shall pass and in a few months I will laugh at how down I felt but right now I’m just fed up of absolutely everything I do being nitpicked over.
  2. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    Do your school know about your pregnancy? If you tell them, they will have to take it into account - do a risk assessment etc.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You need to sort a telephone appointment with your GP as soon as possible and get signed off until the pregnancy yuckiness settles down.
    This doesn't sound like minor ailments to me. Granted I've never been pregnant, but I wouldn't cope with all that lot as it is, trying to work as well must be close to impossible. Consult your GP, the same as you would if schools were open.
  4. clementinesandbrazilnuts

    clementinesandbrazilnuts New commenter

    I’m awfully worried about them deciding to terminate my contract early if I do so. (I am on a temporary contract due to relocation, and I’d only actually been at the school four weeks before lockdown, which is one of the reasons I keep getting things wrong - that and pregnancy daftness!) Thanks so much for saying that though, I was feeling as if I was being a bit wimpy and wet!
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Hopefully you are in a union, so they will fight any attempt to do this by a school.

    There are all kinds of protections in place for women who are pregnant. Dismissing you because of pregnancy illness would be the height of stupidity.
  6. clementinesandbrazilnuts

    clementinesandbrazilnuts New commenter

    Well yes, but I have to say they haven’t been very helpful historically :( I have found in the past they begin with ‘fighting talk’ which very soon winds down to absolutely nothing.

    The issue is that if the school just decides I’m surplus to requirements, which they could well do given I’m suppose to be there until February half term 2021 and obviously won’t be able to stay that long, then if they make something up unrelated to my pregnancy I won’t have a leg to stand on, and my chances of getting any other work with a growing pregnancy bump and a pandemic seem remote. In normal circumstances I probably would but everything just feels so topsy turvy at the moment.
    gold19951 and Marshall like this.
  7. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    I know it can be easier said than done and I am fortunate enough to be able to work in a few professions but my advice is always and without fail - never let a job destroy your health.

    No-one cares, they really don't and you and I are expendable. You could work your backside off and make yourself ill and then they STILL find a reason to sack you.

    So decide how much work you can do and the least to keep them at bay if you want to stay - and then concentrate on doing it well. Don't do any more than you need to.

    But it goes pearshaped then to hell with it and them - quit.

    You will almost certainly find out you are far stronger and more resilient than you think when your worst nightmares come true and you could move into another job or line of work that has you happier than you have ever been.

    Chin up!
  8. maggie m

    maggie m Lead commenter

    Firstly congratulations. Secondly that exhaustion will almost certainly pass in the next few weeks as does the nausea for the vast majority. I can remember desparately needing to sleep at strange times during those first 3 months.Speak to your GP or practice nurse if you are struggling. I know eating more smaller meals helped me with the nausea..Get signed off if you need to.
    gold19951, Marshall and agathamorse like this.
  9. BoldAsBrass

    BoldAsBrass Occasional commenter

    Does your pregnancy not put you into the clinically vulnerable group?

    I know colleagues in several schools, at various stages of pregnancy, who are all working from home. Your school have a duty of care to keep you safe and should be supporting you to work from home, given your condition. Ring your union on Monday to double check your situation.

    Its ok to put yourself and your baby first. Your pregnancy will also protect you from your work being unsupportive (if they choose to be) Seek advice and stay safe
  10. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    I think that you are looking at this the wrong way around. You are thinking that yoi should keep quiet because if you tell them you are pregnant they may terminate your contract.

    Whereas if you do tell them you are pregnant it will make your position much more secure, no sane employer would terminate the contract if an employee they had recently been informed was pregnant.

    Tell them!
    Flanks, Ohwell, 1970devon and 10 others like this.
  11. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    I feel for you - the first three months of your first pregnancy are one of the most exciting, scary and wonderful times of most people's lives. You know you're pregnant but can't quite believe that in 8 months or so, a baby will be here and it will be yours!!! The sickness, tiredness and emotions can be overwhelming - hormones are working overtime. Going through it with this unprecedented craziness all around us every day must make it a hundred times more difficult.

    It will pass - it really will. But you need some help right now, so do tell your line manager/HT. I'm sure they won't be delighted, but they have a duty of care and have to put in place any support you need. Does your GP know that you're pregnant? If not, let them know straight away and get a midwife referral in place. My daughter-in-law is a midwife; she's still seeing expectant mothers in person when needed, but does phone consultations every day - that might be really helpful for you.

    Very best wishes - you will get through this.
  12. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    completely unnecessary and very unkind, in the current circumstances.

    Sending you sympathy
    gold19951, jlishman2158 and Marshall like this.
  13. scott1980

    scott1980 Occasional commenter

    You must tell them. I didn't want to tell my employer at 8 weeks pregnant but when they were doing assistant head interviews and I was pregnant and just couldn't cope with another observation I had to tell them. They were really supportive and understanding. It will help you.
  14. clementinesandbrazilnuts

    clementinesandbrazilnuts New commenter

    Thank you. I have decided to self certify as unwell this next week, while I am happy to set work remotely I won’t attend any online meetings or go in on my day on the rota. I really am not well enough.

    I will hold back the pregnancy news until may 31: if I was a permanent member of staff it would be different but as it is I feel far too vulnerable and unfortunately I don’t trust the unions to fight.
    Marshall likes this.
  15. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    I totally agree with Dumpty - been there and it's so not worth it!!! You and your baby are so much more important. In a few weeks, the school won't even remember you. I know it sounds harsh but it's true.

    Look after yourself. x
  16. shevington

    shevington Occasional commenter

    If you are in a Union, please have discussion with them about your situation. Note not the school rep.
  17. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    If you start to pick and choose what work you will and won't do, they will certainly ask questions. Either you are off sick, no work of any kind, or you are at work doing everything.

    Just tell them you are pregnant and so can't do your rota day due to guidance. Then say that you are ill and so will attend meetings, but with the camera off so as not to scare anyone. Then you can lie on the sofa and listen in, without having to take part as such.
    At this stage, it is exactly the sort of thing the school rep should be involved with. They can speak to the head or line manager and suggest compromises to work patterns to accommodate.
  18. clementinesandbrazilnuts

    clementinesandbrazilnuts New commenter

    I don’t think I’m picking and choosing at all - after all, if I was signed off ‘normally’ then I would be setting cover work but not attending school or meetings. It makes very little difference to anybody if I don’t attend a Zoom meeting and given that the number of children we have are under ten, little difference if I’m not in for my day on the rota, but it does make a difference if I refuse to set work.

    It is simply far too risky to state I am pregnant now, in May. I feel this would lead to no job to return to in September. It is all very well people saying to think of the baby - I am! He or she will need a mother to look after him or her in the first few months of their life - if I’m not working, then I won’t get any maternity pay at all.
  19. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    This is an irrational fear and, as someone else has already pointed out, you are in a safer position if pregnant than not.
    gold19951 likes this.
  20. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    I've only skimmed through the other comments but will go back and read later. However, didn't want to read and run. If at all possible, tell them about your pregnancy. I was quite unwell when I was pregnant but I remember that first trimester was a whole new level of tired!

    I still can't explain to anyone who's not been pregnant just how utterly exhausted I felt but everyone who's had a baby... They get it! The placenta isn't built yet so your baby is taking literally everything from you. Some of the tiredness will lift once the placenta takes over but it's very hard to accept how many changes are going on in your body when there's no outward signs of your pregnancy.

    You have lots of protection in place as a pregnant woman. Honestly, they would need to have a cast iron reason to get rid of you and telling them puts you in a stronger position than not telling them because, immediately, your absences can't be used against you as long as they're pregnancy related and any dip in the quality of your work would be hard for them to claim isn't pregnancy related. Building any case against you and going through proper procedures would take months and more effort than is worth anyone's time. When does your temporary contract run until?

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