Who: Sales manager
What: How redundancy left one woman searching for a new job while heavily pregnant
I had been at my job for about 18 months when my husband and I decided to try to have a baby. We had gone through the list: are we OK money-wise? Am I in the right career? I was happy because my company had a great maternity package. We were set.
Once pregnant, I kept it quiet until four months in, when I sat down with my manager to tell her. But she told me they were letting me go and I was asked to leave that day. My great maternity package was gone.
I stayed in bed for a week. I had stress headaches so bad I had to go to the doctor. My husband tried to reassure me – he earned well and we had savings – but I couldn’t stop worrying.
I started to look for new jobs. My due date was in April, and this was November – Christmas was around the corner. I originally looked for temp jobs, but nothing came up, so when the recruiter started coming to me with full-time sales roles, I had to go for them.
I felt so guilty not telling interviewers I was pregnant, but felt I had no option. I wore blazers over baggy dresses to hide my bump and I remember feeling angry that women could be put in this situation – it’s not something a man would ever have to consider.
Eventually, I smashed an interview and got a job. I was nearly six months pregnant by then, which meant I’d at least be able to claim government maternity allowance. I called my new CEO the next day to tell him – I wanted to be as transparent as I could and start the relationship honestly. I explained that I’d had no other option.
He was surprised but, amazingly, super nice. He said he’d been wanting to fill this role for years and that I was the perfect candidate. He felt certain I’d be able to do the job, pregnant or not. The recruiter wasn’t as nice –she implied I wouldn’t be able to meet my KPIs because I was pregnant. That was incredibly frustrating to hear.
I’m still angry I was put in that situation. If it wasn’t for my husband and his job, I don’t know what I would have done. The upsetting thing is there are so many other women who don’t have that to fall back on. I feel incredibly lucky.
My daughter is now one. I went back to work after six months, not because they asked me to, but for financial reasons. I’m sad it’s taken me away from my baby, but I love my job and they are so supportive; they allowed me to work less hours when I first returned, and I leave early to get to nursery.
Losing my job while pregnant was an awful thing to happen at the time, but it’s become a blessing in disguise – I love my role now. You have no idea how much your body and mind can deal with until you’re tested. In the end I was lucky, and it’s made my little family very strong.