At the bottom of this article, you will find the translation into the other working languages of the ILO.
Until now, I had never imagined what it could be like to become pregnant while on a TC contract. I had only vaguely heard about other women colleagues’ experience. When I realised I was pregnant, my first work-related question was – Will my contract be extended, until I can access maternity leave? Dealing with uncertainly in “normal” times is one thing, but dealing with it while being pregnant is another. When I knew my team did not have the funds to extend my contract, I wondered:
- Shall I disclose that I am pregnant ? Is there a rule about this? What are my rights – if any?
- If I should, when, and to whom? Will this remain confidential? Who will understand and support me to get a contract extension, yet entrust me with a new job ?
- If I wait before I disclose my pregnancy, will it increase my chance to find another contract, in or outside the ILO, as my belly will become more and more difficult to hide? Will the hiring manager continue to trust me – or see this as betrayal?
If I lost my job, and thus accessto health protection, a salary, and right to reside in the country:
- How will I pay for my regular checks, hospitalisation, and post-natal health costs?
- How will I find space in a crèche, considering crèches are expensive and full, and give priority to working parents?
- Will I still be allowed and able to afford to reside here? Where will I go, let alone, give birth? Shall I get married to be able to stay here? Are we ready for this? Would we manage to organise a wedding in a few months and get married before I am too “big” or unwell to attend my own wedding? Who will show up at the wedding on such a short notice ?
I regularly wondered whether I was doing the right thing for me, and for the future baby:
- Is spending so much time and energy worrying and actively seeking a job, while managing my current workload, the right thing to do for the baby-to-be inside me, when I am already experiencing tiredness and constant nausea ?
- Can the baby-to-be feel how desperate I am? Is the anxiousness I am going through putting me at risk of miscarriage ?
- I need to rest a bit. Should I rest?
I got worried about my career, my future:
- Will I have enough peace of mind and rest to properly give birth and care for a new human being, if I have no right to maternity leave nor right of return to my job, after a few months?
- Will I have to stay at home if we don’t get a space in crèche for the baby-to-be? Will getting married and financially dependent mark the end of my independence as a working woman?
- In this big unknown, when will I have the time and mental space to look for, yet project myself, in a new job? How long will I remain unemployed for, with what impact on my career?
And the list goes on. I found out that no one had straightforward answers to these questions. In fact, I had many contradicting answers : Disclosing your pregnancy status is the right thing to do VS Disclosing your pregnancy is the last thing you should do. Taking care of yourself should be your top priority VS Searching for a job should be your top priority.
I tried to look for jobs opportunities, applied to jobs in and outside the ILO. And my contract expired.
Now the biggest question is: Should we, as pregnant women, continue to go through this ?
Version française: ici
Spanish version: here