I’d just qualified as a social worker and had been applying for jobs and had had a
couple of interviews when I found out I was pregnant. I got a job pretty quickly and
told my manager I was pregnant immediately and she was very supportive of me. After
a couple of months she left and we got a new manager who was not very supportive at
all. I began suffering from extreme pregnancy related anxiety and informed my
employer of this, nothing was done. I did not receive a pregnancy risk assessment
until I had complained and complained again and then eventually, demanded one and told my
employer I would be putting in a formal grievance. The risk assessment was appalling
and not done correctly. I was being pressured to work around 10 hours a day with no
breaks, all the other social workers did this and more in order to (barely) keep on
top of their case loads, so therefore it was expected that I would. My midwife wrote
a letter outlining that I should not be working more hours than my contract. No one
cared or did anything. I complained to my manager, my supervisor, the supervisor of
newly qualified social workers, the principle social worker (I actually had a
breakdown on him), the area manager and HR; still nothing. Except a meeting with the
area manager which was used to bully me and ask me why I wasn’t able to do my job in
the time allocated.
My GP signed me off sick for a week but all that meant was I had double the work to
do when I came back. I then had reduced movements and measurements indicated my baby
was not growing so had to go for extra scans. By this time I had another new manager
who was very difficult about me attending growth scans, shouting at me in the office
that I had child protection visits to complete and it was my responsibility to do
them. I was desperately asking colleagues to cover my visits so I could attend my scan
that afternoon (I had only been given the appointment that morning). At the growth
scan the consultant signed me off for another week when I explained the situation,
her exact words were “f*ck them.” I then went back to work for 2 days before going
off on maternity leave. Oh, I also had to do all my own HR as no matter who, and how
many times I asked, nothing was ever done.
My baby was born early, had low birth weight and had to spend time in special care.
I fully blame the way I was treated by my workplace and the stress and anxiety they
caused me for this. They ruined my pregnancy, deleted my confidence and it took me
months to get back to feeling myself.