Editor’s Note: Several times a month, ‘Ask Away‘ by Still Standing Magazine publishes anonymous reader questions for you to offer wisdom on. Find more on our submission process here, and read our comment policy here.
Dear Still Standing Readers:
I had a miscarriage of my daughter in the fall. I took one week off to deal with the physical aspects and surgery, but then returned to work full time.
I was lucky enough to find a wonderful therapist within the month and have been seeing her weekly since. I am also on medication to help with anxiety since the miscarriage.
I have struggled with panic attacks, which I never had before, and other symptoms of PTSD that are very overwhelming. I try to avoid pregnant women, babies, and all things related to them at this time.
I have had many difficulties at work. There seems to be a severe lack of sensitivity to miscarried or bereaved mothers in the workplace. I politely asked a co-worker/friend to not show me pictures of her pregnant daughter (who was pregnant with a girl, due the same month as me) or tell me about her pregnancy. This seemed to have been understood and our friendship/ co-worker relationship continued.
This month, I had to address another issue of a co-worker face-timing her baby repeatedly during working hours right next to my office. I did not say anything for months and avoided my office when this occurred.
But one day, the usual places I go to were not available and I had to be in my office. I had a severe panic attack while listening to her baby crying and cooing.
My superiors did not wish to do anything about this but instead – downgraded me to another, smaller, windowless office.
I instead tried HR, who came up with the idea for my co-worker to wear headphones for her face-timing periods. This was a great compromise.
Fast forward to the current date, and that is being thrown in my face along with the coworker’s photos from the fall. Phrases such as, “How long are we going to have to walk on eggshells around her?” and I’ve been told to keep my personal life separate from professional life.
Yet, in reality, wasn’t I asking everyone else do the same things I was being told to do? To keep their face-timings, photos, and stories away from me directly?
In the end, all I am trying to do is focus on my job and get my job done. The two issues I faced directly inhibited me from doing that. I would love to hear any stories other bereaved moms have about difficulties in the workplace.
What advice would you give to our writer? What research/articles are there on PTSD after miscarriage she could share with her work? Have you been in a similar situation, and if so, what wisdom can you offer her?