women with children shouldn’t do PhDs

I was a senior medical trainee very close to being appointed as a hospital consultant when I became pregnant with twins. I was supported very well throughout pregnancy and maternity leave although was bullied on my return to work. This did not deter me from applying for a prestigious research fellowship which I achieved and commenced in a new city with new employers, this time university-based. I adapted quickly to the new type of work and worked full time and extremely hard despite juggling family needs. Now 18 months in I am pregnant again and have been harassed, undermined and am left unsupported. I have had no risk assessment despite requesting one in writing. I am excluded from group emails and there is continual gossip about me which I rise above but it has started to get me down.

I think I should have realised this was a completely dysfunctional workplace from the outset when my boss took me into the office and warned me not to get pregnant and my group colleagues expressed their view that women with children shouldn’t do PhDs. I ignored them and carried on in spite of this but they are getting away with it. I know I’m not alone in this discrimination which helps but I find it infuriating and outrageous. I shift between planning an early departure and taking on an immense discrimination case which I fear may overwhelm me and distract me from caring for my family in the precious time outside of work.

Most of all I don’t want to let such harassment get the better of me especially after all that I’ve endured to get this far.

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