Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Stressed Out

I’m really stressed out, feeling unwell (ear ache and sore throat from eustachian tube dysfunction after having a horrible virus) and pregnant at risk of PP. Last week, I spoke to my GP, Midwife, Nurse and Perinatal Psychiatrist about how I’m feeling. No-one seems to be concerned, and when I discuss my thoughts and feelings with my husband he invalidates my feelings and criticises me. I was hoping for some comfort and compassion, but he doesn’t seem to understand why I’m so upset. I went dog walking and swimming this morning, but it hasn’t helped. I really need a glass of wine!

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Hello Jessi_D

It's awful to be stressed out .... earache on it's own is so painful without the added stress of trying to avoid PP. It's very difficult for partners to understand and say the right thing at times. Perhaps a night out together would help .... to have time to discuss things calmly and be reassured that you have all the support you need beside you. Your partner is probably stressed himself so time out together might be good for you both?

Take care .... I hope you have a restful sleep.

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Thanks Lilybeth, I think he’s fed up about hearing my thoughts about what is causing me the stress (it relates to the way I’m being managed at work). I think it might be best to not tell him how I’m feeling anymore, and talk to a counsellor instead. I wonder if his worry about PP and my emotion now is triggering him. He’s trying to calm me down by invalidating my feelings, and validating the actions of my manager. It’s not effective, I need some support.

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Hello Jessi_D

It sounds as though you're between a rock and a hard place with your manager. Some years after my recovery from PP I did have problems with a manager at work, so much so that my GP signed me off with 'work related stress'. I decided that her attitude towards me wasn't worth risking my mental health, as it had taken me so much time to regain my place. Eventually I managed to get a job with less stress and fewer hours. Although I wasn't earning as much I had peace of mind which is priceless. I know this is difficult with the cost of living nowadays but perhaps you might weigh it all up. I think going into an environment where your stress levels are increased so much is not good.

I think you should keep talking to your husband as you're going through this tough time together and he might open up about his feelings. As you say, perhaps counselling might be helpful for you. Do you have Occupational Health services at work?

Take good care Jessi .... I'm sure it's not easy for you but there are mums here for whom PP didn't return second time around.

We are all here to listen to your thoughts anytime. Thinking of you and sending a hug :)

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Thanks Lilybeth, I LOVE my job, the people I work with and the company too. They do have OH, but my line manager would need to refer me - I’ll ask about this. I’ve contacted the counselling service available through work, and hope to have a session with them next week. Being told to ‘control my emotion’, clearly triggers fear in me, causing many thoughts about not being treated fairly or managed effectively, makes me feel very tense and this leads to crying and talking about what’s going on a lot. My hubby just wants me to stay well, and knows this is not healthy. I need to resolve it quickly.

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Hello Jessi_D

Perhaps if you do ask your line manager to refer you to OH, he might realise that he's pushing you too far. It does sound like a good company if you can also access counselling next week. It's very hard to control your emotion when you're going through so much and crying is a good stress release. Your husband wants what's best for you and so it's good to explore the support on offer at work so that you can feel more settled and move forward.

Take care .... good to hear from you.

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We completed the referral to OH yesterday. It will be interesting to hear what OH suggest to reduce stress over the next three months before I go on leave. HR are now aware of the issues causing me stress and the risks of having this stress too, and seem to be very supportive in helping me and my manager resolve any outstanding issues. He’ll be abroad on business for a further two weeks, so I suppose I have to practice patience 😬

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Hello Jessi_D

Sorry I missed your reply ....... I'm sure you're an asset to your employer so HR and OH will want to help you as much as possible to reduce your stress levels. While your manager is away perhaps it will give you time to think of a way forward. If his absence makes such a difference perhaps you could be promoted to work in another role with a different manager?

Be positive and try to take it easy :)

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Thanks Lilybeth, it’s not usually an issue having a manager who is abroad on business. It’s only because I received my year-end the day before he went away for three weeks (simply bad timing for addressing any concerns raised). HR said that they will suggest that managers select an OIC (officer in charge) when they are travelling on business, especially to markets with significantly different time zones e.g. HK or USA. I’d like to try for a promotion when I’m settled back at work after maternity leave, but I’ll see how it goes 🙂 Having two children, I might consider flexible working too.

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Hello Jessi_D

That's a good idea to weigh up all your options. Flexible working might be less stressful too and give you more family time, especially with two treasured children :)

Take care.

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Hi Jessi_D,

I am so sorry that you are feeling like this. After my episode of PP and even 3 years on, my husband doesn't like to talk about it - or feelings in general, might be a man thing!! I think Lilybeth is right about still trying to talk to your husband but maybe try to choose the right time when you are both not too tired or upset?

Have you got any close friends you can talk to as well? It always helps to have a good rant/chinwag with a friend and a big big piece of cake!

Is counselling an option at work? By enquiring about it do you think it may alert managers to how you are feeling and possibly get them to change or manage what is causing you stress?

We are all here for you as well to talk and offer virtual cake! 🎂🎂

Take care and look after yourself.

xx

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Oh I love cake, thank you 😘

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I started counselling and a really helpful suggestion was to write down my thoughts - to externalise them. It was really helpful, as I could empty those thoughts sloshing around in my mind and leave them on the page. I also think the meeting with HR and OH referral provided some comfort. It’s possible that the low dose of haloperidol my perinatal psychiatrist gave me 3 days ago helped too 🙂

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Hello Jessi_D,

I am sorry that you feel under the weather, - a lot of people are struggling at this moment with colds and flues, yep-I agree ear ache is horrible...

Let's talk about compassion...you only can share compassion, if you suffered the same...we all have given birth and we all had PPP and then, all the other influential factors and stigma about mental health issues. Thus, your partner/husband only can be empathetic towards your needs, but not share compassion...

Yes, I do agree with Lilbeth...it is important to work on a relationship and keep communication at flow! Sometimes one needs therapeutic help as a couple. Either via self-management; creating opportunities where you can feel relaxed, happy and talk unconditionally or with the guidance of a councillor.

I am a survivor of PPP, but would not have survived without my soulmate, my partner. And I totally understand where you coming from...remember the saying "men are from Mars and we are from Venus"...My big man does not talk much about the traumatic pain we went through, but also suffered a great deal and struggled with PTS...thus, if you love each other, you create a big rock with icing sugar...

...of course there are still continuous obstacles, but our experiences make us stronger and we can give extra strengths to the ones who need us more..

Sending you all my love. :-)

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We’ve had a much better day today, as I think the reason I’m stressed at work is because ‘Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus’. My manager has been coaching me about ‘controlled emotion’ and being stoic. I subsequently felt like work was not a safe place to show emotion or communicate how I feel, for fear of being judged by my manager and colleagues. Last week he wrote about my ability to control my emotion in my year end appraisal. I was so shocked and upset. It’s subjective and not constructive. I don’t think he’d ever write that in a man’s year end appraisal! I’ve told him that I’m unhappy, and he’s agreed to speak to HR about how to articulate his assessment of my development areas in an appropriate way. I think there are not enough women at the top because of gender bias: google.co.uk/amp/amp.timein...

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Hi again, Jessi_D

I've read the article and yes of course gender equality always has been an issue, even in my former professional background in higher education.

My partner is constantly involved in union cases about mental health and gender issues whereby both subject matters are often interlinked ...

Obviously I do not know your details, but if you believe that there are different approaches/treatments towards women with regards to appraisal procedures and you want to " whistle blow", then you have to reflect on cause and consequences.

I have been in those stressful situations before PPP and it is certainly a difficult path to choose, when fighting for equality...in my case "bullying issues within the work environment".

If the work situation indicates lack of quality assurance, and opportunities clearly establishes disadvantages/inequalities for the female employer ie. pay & promotion/appraisal procedures within your company, then you may have a case.

Reading from your notes it appears to be a huge stress factor and could affect your mental health. I believe you've got to outweigh the situation and prioritise. HR are working often in favour of management and in companies interest. Thus, the only way forward is to be a union member and be assigned to a good union representative.

I hope this helps you a bit...

Please, look after yourself and maybe a bit of mind mapping /brainstorming would help with pros and cons about your employment conditions/work: (below a few ideas)

Are there any alternatives?

Do I want to do something I enjoy and feel passionate about?

How do I preserve my mental health?

Can I establish coping strategies and thus, enhance work and life balance.?

Is it more important to do something which makes me happy and fulfilled?

Can I reflect on my newly acquired skills, what else could I do???!!!!

:-)

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Thanks for your advice Jasa. I think that now is not the time to take on any battles or make decisions. I need to step back from the situation, and defer, for the sake of my and babies wellbeing. I’m feeling very sad today, and this has massively impacted on my productivity. The hospital has now assigned me a specialist mental health midwife for one-to-one care, which is amazing. I’m meeting her today to talk about how I feel. While my response to what has happened may be justified, I’m not in a great position to manage the emotions that result from this trigger. I’m feeling a lot of emotions very deeply, and that’s not normal for me.

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Dear Jessi,

very wise thought processes. So happy for you that you prioritise your emotional needs first.

Look after yourself and all in stepping stones. I stopped fighting a long time ago and enjoying the moment!

x

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Hello Jessi_D

I'm sorry to hear you were feeling very sad. I hope your meeting with the specialist midwife went well and you feel reassured about ongoing care.

Thinking of you .... take care.

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Thanks, she took me to A&E for assessment. They’ve given me something to relax, but still not feeling relaxed. I’ve booked two days holiday, so maybe it will help. I feel like I’ve tried so many things to relax, swimming, massage, breathing exercises, bubble baths... I don’t understand why I’m so reactive 🙄 HR are making a referral to Occupational Health, so it will be interesting to hear what they suggest.

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Hello Jessi_D

What a great caring midwife. Perhaps whatever you were given needs a few days to kick in so hopefully you will feel more relaxed soon. I think it will do you good to have a few days away from work and the stress. I'm not sure if you might find mindfulness music helpful as I have in the past? There is also a clip for 'beautiful relaxing music, piano, violin, cello and guitar' which I'm listening to now and it's very calming :)

Rather than using your holidays, would your Dr be able to give you a note if you need a break again? Have you heard anything about counselling this week?

Take care ..... we're here for you.

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Thank you Lilybeth 🙂 I don’t want to take time off work sick if I can avoid it, I’d be more relaxed if I were taking holiday. I’ve an appointment today to see a trainee counselling psychologist.

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I can understand that about taking time off Jessi. I hope your appointment goes well today and think it will do you good to let all your feelings out ... which you can always do here too.

Take care.

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Hi Jessi_D, sorry to hear things have been tough and you feel the meds aren’t helping. Have you been told it will take a few days? Perhaps you can ask for a review if it’s not getting better soon. It’s great your midwife is so good. And I hope our appointment today goes well. Take care, we are all thinking of you and here to chat / offload when you need. Xx

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My husband just told me to ‘fuck off and die’. And I’m the one being prescribed medication?!?!?!

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Hi Jessi_D, that must be really upsetting to hear, I'm sorry that this has happened. I know in my life generally, I try and get support/ a listening ear from the most appropriate person to any circumstance if that makes sense... Of course we want to share everything with our partners/ husbands, but I know from my own experience that sometimes they do not always understand, however much they may mean well. I guess the previous comments about "men from mars, women from venus" may also apply here.

Have you been able to feel listened to by another close friend or relative and health professionals too? Please keep talking to us if it is helping too, we know this is a hard time for you and are wishing you well. Try and not let it get to you, as much as it may hurt to hear. Take care, xx

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He’s in such a bad place right now, very angry when he speaks to me and I don’t know why. After his outburst, he did go to buy bagels (which I’ve been asking for since the weekend), and gave me a cuddle which was lovely. However, his tone of voice is really curt and abrasive right now.

I had a good chat with the trainee counselling psychotherapist, and the most helpful part of the day was overhearing my Mum talk with my husband this morning (she understands me and what I need very well). I met with my perinatal psychiatrist, and he’s given me a low dose of haloperidol to be cautious.

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Hello Jessi_D,

I am so sorry that your husband is giving you such a tough time. He does not seem to cope very well, but that does not excuse his behaviour towards you.

I am pleased that you have called out for help and support. So happy for you that your mum is so understanding.

I have been on haloperidol when I was poorly. It is a traditional and very strong drug. It is good that you are under professional care. I hope the low dosage will help you fairly, soon.

Thinking of you,

x

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Hi Jasa, he really upset my Mum yesterday too, telling her he’ll get the doctors to put me in hospital, and suggesting he would leave me and take our children. It’s all very destructive. I think I will go to my medical appointments alone from now on. I’ve even thought about inviting a friend to my scan, instead of him. Marilyn Monroe once said ‘I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.’ Maybe she’s not the best role model for me though 😆

I think the scan might be a good reminder that I’ve his baby growing inside me; to be loving, kind and protective.

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Hello Jessi_D

Have you been able to talk to your husband if he is calmer now about getting support for himself? I think men find it difficult to ask for help but it does seem as if he needs to release feelings he might be trying to keep under control? Does he have a family member or good friend he could confide in ? He probably doesn't want to burden you as he can see that you're struggling at work and with your health.

It's a very stressful time in your relationship with a lot of give and take needed on both sides. It's very good that your mum is in tune with your feelings and I hope your husband has similar support for himself. Although at times it might be difficult, try to keep communicating ..... even if it's just a cuddle, it's a comfort for you both.

Take care.

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Hi Lilybeth, I asked him about this and he says he has contacted AXA PPP for some (more) counselling. He has just finished 18 sessions, but the circumstances have changed now. He doesn’t communicate with friends or family, when he needs them most.

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Hello Jessi_D

I'm sorry to hear how you are struggling at home and your husband is going to have more counselling. It's such a stressful time for everyone and sometimes like walking on eggshells around each other when things are said in the heat of the moment.

As hard as it might be to get through to your husband I think he needs you to keep communicating so that he's not isolated. You are stronger together and with understanding and support will come through this difficult time. Hopefully your few days 'holiday' will help to reduce some of the stress and your husband might open up about what is triggering his anger. Some men are embarrassed about crying but perhaps such a release would be good for him.

Take care .... we are all here to listen.

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Hello Jessi_D,

I am sorry that it is such a great struggle for the both of you at this moment.

I am pleased that your husband is also getting support. I do hope that there will be given opportunities for the both of you where you just can be relaxed and communicate, perhaps with the help of a professional who is part of your support network and whom you can trust.

Thinking of you, ...yes-we are here to listen.

x

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Thank you 😊

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Hi Jessie you are having rotten feelings relating to the past and this is affecting your confidence at work. You are so brave to go back to the workplace after having post partum depression. I think you are right to be worried about your ear pain. As you have had a virus the current policy is to turn you away without any form of treatment. I think it could be a sinus related problem which could in turn be related to an inner ear infection. I had trouble

when nurses were looking down my Eustachian tube and was in so much pain and just told me everything was ok. I went to a specialist who prescribed me antibiotics and special nasules flixonase which you drop down your nose lying down so one ear at a time and turn your head sideways for the drops to go into the pharynegeal inner ear. The pain relief was nearly instantaneous when paracetomol and cocodomol did not touch the pain.

I would go back to another doctor and explain your symptoms as if they cannot see anything going on in your Eustachian tube they can't see your inner ear or your sinuses.

You can get a feeling of pressure and it is tender under the eyes or even eye ache - with sinus pressure. Another cause of painful ears can be teeth grinding due to anxiety. The tension in your jaw puts pressure on the nerve leading to the ear, and you get pain and inflammation. It is essential for treating secondary bacterial infections in the inner ear and to check your chest and lower lung lobes in case of viral lung infection.

Expect you are keeping up with your vitamins and it's worth eating foods with k1 and k2

as well as b12 vitamin c and iron supplement there is a supplement in liquid form or tablets

with the vits to help pregnancy. As many cases of post partum psychosis may be due to sleep deprivation and bi polar affective thyroid hormonal problems or due to a urinary or throat infection define yourself by explaining that feel you need some type of medication

particularly as you are pregnant. I mean ear drops to help the pain, and if the ear pain is there just tell them you don't want your eardrum to burst for fear of deafness.

A gum guard will help if you are grinding your teeth s the pressure is on the guard rather than on the jaw. Absent dental fillings may create infections which can cause sinus problems too. Best of luck.

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Thanks gadgrantgg, I’ve now been given some spray for my inner ear, and just as you described it provided almost instant relief! I also got a UTI a few weeks ago, and they gave me amoxicillin which should help with both UTI and sinus infections. The UTI was sorted, but sore throat and ear ache persisted. Thank goodness I now have something to provide relief, and hope it will get better 🙂

I returned to work so quickly (APR15) after being discharged from hospital (JAN15), after recovery from PP. I think it impacted my confidence, and it’s really upset and concerned me to receive subjective feedback about my ability to control my emotion (knowing that I’m diagnosed with a mood disorder) - it makes me feel like my illness is impacting my performance at work. But in reality Bipolar Disorder is episodic, so it’s probably more about my personality/character. I don’t want to be judged for my personality/character, but by my results (what I achieve) and actions/behaviours (how I achieve it).

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Bipolar disorder unrelated to giving birth may be episodic. You don't have a personality disorder - you have/had an affective mood disorder. Your personality is friendly outgoing and honest - it is perfectly normal to have feelings of inferiority and failure when you have been one to two ha out of 100, 000 women who have this problem which affects their confidence and the way others perceive someone who has had any type of mental health problem. I had no problem with mental health after my second child was born but had post natal complications, and the babe was born with dislocated hip joints which is due to a mother's hormone imbalance. Some women are more affected by hormones with girls than boys and their bodies reject them, I'm ure you will feel better when you get over the infections as you can feel weepy with infections. It's best to let go any feelings of unhappiness with your partner - you have everything to look forward - keep smiling and see

if you can get a bit of help with cooking or chores as you are back at work. Take care..

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Thanks gadgrantgg, my hubby is feeling much better today, as he went to work from the office rather than staying at home with me. I had a lovely afternoon getting pregnancy massage, facial and pedicure (totally spoiled myself) as I know that I’m responsible for my own happiness 🙂 My nails are painted a very bright and cheerful pink!

As it happens, this morning we asked our cleaner if she can come for a couple of hours extra each week to help us keep on top of chores until things have settled down.

I’m sorry to hear about the complications you experienced after the birth of your second child, that can’t have been easy and hope it’s all OK now.

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That was 50 years ago - so I have had lots of happiness and now have 6 grand children - I'm sure you will look back and say if you don't cherish yourself then you may feel you are taking on too much, especially going back to work. That nail polish sounds glam and the facial just the thing you need as well as massage. Well done1

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I had a meeting with HR today and seemed to be really constructive, so I’m feeling a bit better this afternoon 🙂

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Hello Jessi_D

It's good to hear the meeting with HR went well today. I hope you have a good weekend.

Take care.

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rd.com/health/wellness/care... Here’s a good article that I think is relevant for everyone, and especially people supporting others who are not well. Thank you all for your support over the last week, it’s made a huge difference 😊

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Hello Jessi_D

Thanks for sharing the link which as you say is relevant to everyone. Some days are so busy for mums looking after family, going to work and being organised at home that they forget to take time out for themselves.

I'm glad the support on the forum has made a difference. I hope the time away from work has helped too.

Take care ...... we're all here for you :)

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Thinking of you! Keep journalising, if it helps...always here to listen...The forum is great, it has helped me tremendously over the years.

Take care

Big virtual hug :-)

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So my manager told me he doesn’t support me going on a training course because it’s not good timing with me going on maternity leave, and to wait until I return. How many men have to put up with this shit?!?! They are really pushing my buttons!

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Hello Jessi_D

As you said earlier in your thread, now is not the time to take on battles as you must consider your babies and wellbeing. I'm not sure but I don't think your manager can make such a decision as HR and OH are now in the picture. As you said, they will want to resolve any outstanding issues to reduce your stress, so lean on them if you're manager is sending negative vibes!

Take care. :)

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Hi Jessie_D,

That's a shame about your manager not supporting you in doing the training course but at least it will mean you have some spare time to concentrate on yourself.

But that's good news about the meeting with HR.

Hope you are managing to have some time to look after and focus on yourself.

Take care.

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Happy International women’s day ladies!!! I had a really great morning at an event, and have another great event tomorrow morning. I was excited today, because I decided to apply for a new job, but then my manager told me that he doesn’t support the move, explained that I’m not ready (that I don’t have what it takes). It only affirmed the doubt I have in myself, so I won’t go for it now and hope he’ll clearly explain what I need to do to have what it takes. I’ve emailed him to ask for clarity in his rationale to refuse my attendance on a training course, asking me to wait until my return/use my KIT days for it. Hopefully he’ll give a better reason and I won’t have any cause to be concerned. I think I need to get a new job ladies!!! This environment is toxic 😮

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Hello Jessie_D

I'm really pleased you had a great morning yesterday and there's another event this morning. Please don't let your manager have such an affect on how you feel about yourself. You're a great woman ...... battling through PP is no mean feat so rather than having doubts about your ability, be proud of what you have achieved.

I think your manager is wrong to put obstacles in your way and might have an ulterior motive for doing so. You are probably invaluable in his team so he doesn't want you to progress and is holding you back? It's not easy but try not to let his attitude bring you down.

Take care.

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I don’t think I know how to communicate my needs, without sounding critical. Men don’t like unsolicited advice or criticism. Equally, I don’t think my new manager is a good listener and lacks empathy (when I’m feeling upset). My old boss is much better at listening and empathising.

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Hello Jessi_D

Try not to be so hard on yourself. Perhaps your counsellor will be able to help with your worries about communicating your needs? I think you're doing really well and hope OH can come up with a plan to reduce your stress in the next few weeks before your leave.

I hope you find time to relax this weekend. Take care of yourself ..... we are all here to listen and support you.

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OH told me that they’ve written a report and made recommendations, but I’ve not heard anything from my manager or HR yet. I’ve never raised a grievance before, but decided that my manager really crossed a line by telling me he doesn’t approve a training course in May because I’m going on maternity leave. This is discrimination, and I should be treated the same as others (i.e. his rationale should not have my maternity leave in mind). It’s taken a lot of courage to escalate it, but I feel it’s the right thing to do, as he doesn’t see that what he has said is wrong and could treat more pregnant women this way throughout his career.

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Hello Jessi_D

I hope you can relax today. It's not easy having so much to cope with at work and preparing for a new baby at home. Perhaps your manager hasn't mentioned the report from OH because he doesn't like the recommendations. I think HR and OH will want what's best for you. You have shown a lot of courage but please remember to take care of yourself.

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Hello Jessi_D

I hope you had a better week at work. Not long now until your maternity leave when you will be able to rest at home.

Take care.

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Hi Lilybeth, my interim line manager hasn’t been very good, but I’ve not seen him this week which has been good. I’m just been doing as best I can at work, so far so good this week. Really tired today though, as had a busy weekend. Next weekend should be much quieter. Hubby has been great lately, very supportive. Starting to feel the baby every day, which is nice!

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Hello Jessi_D

Good to hear from you. Work still sounds like a challenge but I'm glad this week has been good so far. I hope you can relax next weekend and have a break from work during the Easter holidays.

Take care.

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I didn’t work during my last pregnancy, highly recommend it! I can’t wait for maternity leave now (mostly because I’m feeling so tired today, and could do with more rest).

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