1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Advice/ support needed

Discussion in 'Pregnancy' started by TattyCoram15, Jan 2, 2020.

  1. TattyCoram15

    TattyCoram15 New commenter


    I’m hoping to get some honest advice as I‘m really struggling at the moment.

    I have posted this on another thread too— thought it suited both, sorry if not.

    A long story short: after having my second child in June 2018, I was diagnosed with PTSD after haemorrhaging heavily (1850ml blood loss) due to a retained placenta, which a doctor tried to manually remove (without telling me explicitly what she was going to do— it was “I’m just going to try something; have some gas and air!) and it all went wrong. There was no space in theatre so I was literally (cringe word, sorry, but true!) bleeding to death on the bed they’d wheeled me out on, out in the corridor. I was in theatre for over 2 hours and didn’t get to hold my daughter until she was over 5 hours old.

    Anyway, I soon after received therapy from a psychiatrist as I was suicidal and not in a good place at all after having panic attacks, flashbacks, temporary facial paralysis, terrified of noise and crowds etc. It all got more manageable and I returned to work after my mat leave. However, my school was terrible and wouldn’t let me attend my hospital appointments; I then tried to get a new job then the Head made that all near-impossible but I did secure a new job but the whole process of that ordeal meant I was back down to rock bottom.

    So, I started my new school and I love it— almost. My colleagues are great, the kids are, on the whole, good kids BUT we only get a 30 min lunch break, and only 15 minutes if you do a duty, which we all do, twice a week. It’s hard. I have struggled a split timetable: one week, two PPAs and 6 period lessons with 15-30 min lunch etc. I have found it tough, but just got on with it.

    However, two weeks before Xmas, I found my mum in her house after having a stroke. She was just slumped on her sofa. I had to call an ambulance and wait alone with her (she couldn’t talk etc...the scene was horrific) for an hour whilst I waited for the paramedics to arrive. In the meantime, I had several panic attacks and I was signed off as a result. It was all too much.

    It still is. My mum is still very, very unwell. I can’t sleep, I have flashbacks and I have palpitations; I’m just really struggling. The prospect of me returning to work next week is unbearable. I just can’t. I have my doctor’s review on Tuesday, when I should be starting back after Xmas. My doctor said to me before Xmas that it will be awhile before I recover from this relapse. Don’t I know it— I’m living it!

    BUT now I have discovered that I am pregnant over Xmas too and it has just sent my head in a massive spin. It was planned but that was before all the trauma with my mum. I’m of course very happy but equally apprehensive and scared because of what happened with my second delivery. I’m now terrified of going back to work next week because I just can’t at the moment; I’m not mentally strong enough and I now need to get my head around this pregnancy whilst balance and trying to arrange care for my mum (and care for my own children!!). I’m struggling. I really am.

    I’m worried about what people at work will think if I don’t go back next week— and the kids. I can’t sleep and I am so anxious alllll day. People don’t understand how difficult having PTSD is. I want to do things but my mind affects my body and I just can’t. I’m now also terrified I will have another silent miscarriage which I have had in the past too.

    If you’re reading this, I’m asking: what would you do if it were you? “Soldier on” and see how you go? The structure of the school day really doesn’t help my anxiety ( or my need for the toilet or sickness atm). I don’t want work to know I’m pregnant yet either. I’ve been signed off with PTSD not pregnancy— that’s a new dynamic.

    Please can anyone give some advice. It’s a rather lonely place to be with no family to talk to.

  2. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    I'm so sorry to hear you're having such a tough time. I don't have much advice here but didn't want to read and run.

    Congratulations on your pregnancy!
    If you have had that experience with your first birth, you will be categorised as high risk for your second birth and they will be prepared for you. Nothing like as serious as you, but I had lots of blood loss and a transfusion with my first and was placed under consultant care for my second. It was a much easier birth anyway, but as they were aware there was a drip given to me after birth to reduce bleeding. When you go to your booking in appt you can discuss it, maybe take someone with you for support, or write it down for them if it's (very understandably) hard for you to talk about. If you can have your midwife appts at surgery or a midwife-led centre then you might be able to see the same midwife and avoid having to explain it all again in every appointment.

    Re work - you've had lots on your plate with your mum and resurgence of your previous symptoms. Please be gentle with yourself.
    If it would make you feel better to be back at work then go. But if you need to be off to allow yourself to recover then you will not be the first person ever to be absent. You and your family are the most important considerations here, please look after yourself first, that's more important than what people at work may or may not think!

    The lunch breaks thing doesn't sound good to me but hopefully someone with more knowledge will be on here later.

    All the best to you.
    TattyCoram15 likes this.
  3. annascience2012

    annascience2012 New commenter

    I'm so so sorry to hear about your experience.
    If you tell work you're pregnant and your GP can get you signed off for pregnancy related illness, that's legally protected so that work can't fire you or discriminate against you in any way. (I mean they shouldn't for your PTSD but this is much more water tight). I think pregnancy-related ptsd counts in that category.
    Then in the medium term, this sounds awful but could it be worth looking at another job or switching to teaching just part time and supplementing with some other job, maybe where you can work from home. Teaching is so physical and immediate and you have to react on the spot to things. I'm an examiner part time and although it's definitely challenging, they send me work and I send it back several days later, which is so so much easier when I'm feeling anxious. I'm pregnant atm and seriously thinking in the next few years of cutting back way more on my teaching hours. We've done our bit now!
  4. TattyCoram15

    TattyCoram15 New commenter

    Thank you both for your replies, @muso2 and @annascience2012. I don’t have the energy— physically or mentally— to return to work right now. Not only am I struggling with my PTSD but I have spent the past 4 days just being sick and bed-bound with morning sickness (evening/ night sickness, actually).

    I have tried in all schools I have worked in to go part-time, @annascience2012 and my requests have never been honoured due to being short staffed in a core subject. It’s really hard. At my new school, at interview I asked for part-time and they said I could start at 10, each day?! That wasn’t helpful and still meant I’d have to pay for full-time childcare. Furthermore, the new restructure of the day was not mentioned to me — or any staff, in fact— until the start of the new academic year. If I had a full hour lunch break I do feel I’d be able to cope better, especially during pregnancy. Also, I wouldn’t want to leave now as I’d lose my maternity pay. I wish I could work from home! I couldn’t do supply work as not knowing where I’d be each day/ week would just exacerbate my PTSD symptoms.

    I’m not sure why it’s such a battle to go part-time in Secondary; I have many friends in Primary who have easily be granted part/time. It’s very frustrating as it would resolve much of my anxiety and panic.
  5. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    1) Doctor - and take their advice. It sounds like you will need to be signed off for a while.
    2) Union - keep them informed and ask for advice about getting referred to Occupational Health before you go back. They may also be able to advise on whether your PTSD is pregnancy-related. I don't think you can count things as pregnancy-related after maternity leave, but if it is the current pregnancy which is triggering the PTSD, it might count as pregnancy-related to this pregnancy.
    3) Occupational Health - who will maybe recommend to the school that you need a proper break - so no lunch duties, or at the very least making sure those are on a day when you have some non-contact. They might also be able to mention to the school that it might be better to have you part-time than not at all!

    Part-time is genuinely harder to implement in secondary than in primary, unfortunately, because of the problem of split classes. Split classes are not necessarily a problem, and many people make them work very well. However from the point of view of a year 7 pupil who ends up with two teachers for multiple subjects, it's not ideal. For primary, although English/maths will end up split, it's only two teachers in total.
    It's harder to timetable without split classes for subjects with several lessons (ie core subjects), and much easier for something like RE. Two week timetables make it even harder, unless the timetables are very similar between the two weeks, as those with childcare to sort out will want the same days each week.
  6. b15b2y

    b15b2y New commenter

    Hi OP
    I just wanted to pass on my support for you.
    Please remember this is just a job...your priorities are not your school or the pupils/staff there...you have a family and need to look after yourself.
    Split classes...they’ll get over it. It happens in lots of places and should be at the bottom of the list of your worries...in fact...it’s really not your problem.
    As others have said...seek doctors and then unions help.
    I absolutely appreciate your worry about how it is perceived, but I’ve seen people change priorities, relocate, step down, step aside, change career etc and these are the people I now respect...not those who see their sole purpose as to fill a job.
    You’ve been through a lot and don’t owe anything to anyone. Take care.

Share This Page