I was hired by a nonprofit organisation on a one-year contract. Almost everyone in the organisation is on this kind of contract because of its funding structure. Anyway, when I told them I was pregnant, there were congratulations all round and as my due date approached, they went out of their way to assure me that they would help me transition back into the role, allowing me to work part time and/or from home if I needed to. My manager confessed, confidentially, that the organisation didn’t have a great record on assimilating mothers back into the office, but that she was committed to being more supportive.
And then two days before I was due to start my maternity leave, she told me that my contract would not be renewed.
They needed to replace me with a specialist in labour market issues because their research focus was going to be gender equity and fairness in the workplace. Apparently the irony was lost on them.
Thinking I might need their good references in the future, I took the news with equanimity and walked away quietly. Still believing in the organisation, I didn’t want to punish them for the error of one manager. But as I now struggle to find enough work to make ends meet, as I go into debt to feed and clothe my two year old, as I have given up on having a second baby because I can’t afford it – financially nor professionally – I can’t help but conclude that that woman ruined my life while the organisation stood silently by.