I became pregnant with my first child five months after starting a new job. Three months after returning to work following maternity leave, the organisation embarked on a restructuring. My role was one of six that was going to be made redundant but my team urged the board and director to rethink the proposals, which resulted in the director offering me a diminished role. In doing so she said that I should be grateful since getting pregnant so soon after joining was a surprise and a setback for them.
In my current role I have been shocked by the attitude of management towards maternity leave and parenthood. For example, on being offered my present job, which was described as a “high octane role with travel opportunities”, I was asked how, as a mother, I would cope with this. My line manager often held forth his views on maternity leave, describing it as “damaging to stakeholder relationship building”. He openly decried the fact that women on maternity leave accrued holidays and pension benefits.