We are lucky to live in a country (the UK) where women’s rights are well defined and protected, a country that allows working women to have a good number of months off work following the birth of their babies. So we should be pretty happy right?
Of course we appreciate what we have, especially when compared to the ridiculous situation in ‘civilised’ places such as the USA, which see women having to return to their jobs merely days after giving birth, not ready both physically and psychologically.
However, having a child is still seen as a ‘negative’ or at least ‘disrupting’ event in one too many working environments in the UK.
Too many women face discrimination in today’s day and age for choosing to have a child.
According to ‘Pregnant then Screwed’ (http://pregnantthenscrewed.com) , an online campaign which tells the many tales of women being discriminated in the workplace in the UK, 54,000 women a year are forced out of their jobs due to pregnancy. This figure doesn’t include the women who are demoted, harassed, aren’t put forward for promotion, or those that are self employed.
Reading those stories made me aware of how little those protections on paper really count for, unless they are also enforced.
As a pregnant woman, or as a woman who has recently given birth, you are in a position of vulnerability. You do not wish to be defending yourself, not in that moment, not when you mind and body is elsewhere engaged in an altogether more defining task. So those women give up the fight.
It is an incredible waste of talent, and consequently of resources for the wider economy.
Nobody is winning here.
I could talk for ages about how chauvinistic the City of London is with regards to expectations on women.
In the vast majority of cases (and yes, I am aware there are exceptions!) you are either expected to carry on as before (full time, travel friendly, no mention of your child ever) or become a Kath Kinston dressed housewife, complete with matching apron and oven gloves.
Personally, I have experienced the feeling of having no space to relax in the office whilst I was feeling sick as a dog in the first few months of my pregnancy (I ended up having to book the only meeting room with a screen and lying down on the carpet) or even been told to ‘express on the toilet’ upon my return (eeeew, no thanks), and like many women – I haven’t had the strength to fight the ‘system’ either.
However, I believe I should give something to the cause, not just passively moan about it, therefore I have come up with the idea of reclaiming your bump.
Expose and tell those instances where you were feeling out of place in your office just because you had a bump and were expecting.
By using the #reclaimyourbump on Facebook or Twitter we can create a support movement instead of feeling isolated with our struggles.
Reclaiming your bump means asking for a suitable (and hygienic!) place to express if thats how you want to feed your baby, it means having access to a safe and comfortable place to rest during the long working days if you need to, it means being able to request flexible working patterns without the side glances, it means getting that promotion you have been working so hard on….
Reclaiming your bump means being aware of how important self-nurturing is when expecting a baby and keeping unnecessary stress levels away.
As part of my pregnancy support group ‘The Mum Sanctuary” https://www.facebook.com/groups/1749888698633499/ I would love to be able to support even just one pregnant woman in the struggles she faces.
Join my newsletter by visiting http://www.hipmamahypnobirthing.com, you will immediately receive a free ‘Calm and Relaxed’ hypnobirthing mp3.