walking, repetitive strain injuries, personal protection equipment, ergonomic furniture, safe stairways, distance from toilets, noises, fumes, smoking, relaxation breaks, room temperature, fresh air and ventilation, lighting, interpersonal conflicts, discrimination and prejudice, are all really industrial relations issues, but may need to be brought to the management’s attention when pregnancy enters the equation. No-one in business has any right nowadays to discriminate against you on the basis of your condition, and must, by law, act accordingly to ensure you (and your baby) suffer no detrimental effects from the workplace. If in doubt, contact your local Workplace Safety Authority or Workplace Union Adviser or talk to your medical practitioner to lobby for your case.
As well as those very practical, physical elements, working when pregnant can be stressful and detrimental to your baby in other, less definable ways. Long working hours for little financial return; unfulfilling job satisfaction; fellow workers who are not the least bit interested in, or understanding of, your situation; long stressful trips in traffic or public transport; tiredness or irritability at the end of the day; little or no opportunity for eating well; little or no opportunity for necessary relaxation periods; all these factors may well cause you to reconsider your employment.
If, at any stage, you consider your job is making you sick, stressed or unhappy; if you consider you do not have enough time to focus on your changing body and mind; if you are using your job as a distraction or escape from the reality of the impending birth; if you suspect at any time that you might be trading your baby’s wellbeing against acquisition of the mighty dollar; then the best option is to leave that job. Any mother who continues to subject herself to such situations will be ill-prepared for the forthcoming requirements of labour, childbirth and handling a newly born baby. I appreciate that it could make it more difficult to makes ends meet, but I believe the financial sacrifices made in other areas will be more than equally repaid by a smoother transition to motherhood for you and your baby. Pregnancy cannot be cashed in, saved up, put on hold, sold off, mortgaged out, reinvested or spent at another time like money. It cannot be re-instated, re-applied for, re-negotiated or re-trained like employment. It is immediate – something happening right now. It is part of a vocation and career you chose to enter many months ago, and which will have
ramifications for your whole family, well beyond a few extra months of a so-called working career.
If you do leave employment during your pregnancy, don’t be surprised if there is a briefly unsettling period whilst adapting to your new, full time home life. It will take a while to mentally cleanse, as it were, the mindsets of a regular working and socially interactive life, and to focus-in on this new phase. It will take time to learn how to cruise, to listen just to yourself and your baby, and to get into a whole new routine of motherhood preparation.
Out With the Old – In With the New
Most human beings are instinctive socialisers, and because most people live in a self-contained family space like a private house or unit, they tend to spend a lot of time outside their domestic residence in search of like-minds. We make friends, join clubs or mix in social groups to find a commonality that matches where we are presently at in our lives. As your pregnancy evolves, as your home life becomes more attuned to your baby and you become better prepared for birth, you’ll find going out and socialising becomes less and less inviting. You’ll also find that after the birth you’ll have even less interest in (and lots less time for!) many of the old activities – but, on the other hand, you’ll find new opportunities arise outside of your previous experience. Late into the pregnancy if not soon after the birth, a woman will find herself drawn into a new club that revolves around the up-bringing and socialisation of a child. It's called the Mother's Club.
Pregnancy and childbirth will curb the social life of even the most die hard party girl! Hanging onto a social scene more fitting for a teenager than a grown woman is of little value, either to mother or baby. Just as in the working environment, many social situations can be detrimental to one’s wellbeing. Obviously places full of smoke, loud noises, alcohol and stressful people are to be avoided during pregnancy. Such events usually go with late nights and a slow start with extra nausea the next morning, neither of which you will find at all helpful.
People have relationships on many levels and these fulfil lots of small needs in each person. Primarily there is the relationship a woman has with her partner which is (hopefully) based on love and their mutual goal of parenthood. This