Did you tell your bosses you were having fertility treatment? How did they react? It is a subject that we all need to be discussing more to break down the stigma surrounding fertility issues
That’s exactly what happened to Lily* and Stephen* when they were through fertility treatment. Lily told Women’s Health UK she had been open about her treatment from the start. But her honesty did not help her when she discovered she was miscarrying following the two-week wait.
She said: “I’d told my boss- and my colleagues – that I was going through IVF treatment as I did not want to be sneaking around. That I’d been so honest only added to the shock I felt over how she reacted.
“I was asked: ‘Do you want to carry on from here or go home to log on?’ I thought because my boss was a woman – and a mother – she’d display a bit more compassion.
“I didn’t need a fuss or any grand gestures. But if she had said ‘go home and let us know what you need’, it would make the whole experience would be much less traumatic.”
On the day in question, Lily finished her work and crawled back into bed where she sobbed for hours over the loss.
She said: “Those few hours of my time meant nothing to my team, in terms of my output, but they were some of the most painful of my entire life. My mental health was already poor, but this made me feel broken.
“Everyone around me was getting pregnant easily was my dream was shattered. That I received no support in a workplace where I had worked for years – and had disclosed what I was going through – made me feel extremely isolated. And foolish for thinking that my employer cared about me as a person.”
Weeks later the coronavirus pandemic hit and their plans for starting a family was put on hold. Lily sank into a deep sadness and she turned to helping her father on their farm to get her through the day.
Eventually, the couple had a happy ending: their next cycle worked and they welcomed a daughter in the summer of 2021.
But underneath the deep joy of becoming a mother, Lily said she feels a real frustration about the way she was treated by her workplace.
She said: “A big thing for me was my manager being completely clueless as to what fertility treatment involves. Of course, not everyone is going to have firsthand experience and I didn’t expect her to be the font of all knowledge on the matter. But surely I wasn’t being unreasonable to expect her to understand the basics?”
Did you have a similar experience to Lily? Or was yours a more positive experience? We’d love to hear your stories. Email us at email@example.com.
*All names have been changed to protect the identities.
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