Fertility Network UK
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Is it right to be forced to 'babysit' a heavily pregnant colleague?

My boss is very much aware that my husband and I have had 3 failed cycles of IVF. Within my job I am mobile around the area, and have twice now been put into the very uncomfotable position of working with an 8 month pregnant colleague as she can't be left on her own. There are plenty of other staff that could do this, so is it fair for me to ask for this not to happen?

5 Replies

That;s a really difficult one - if your boss knows your situation I think it is unfair to ask you to do this but we all know that people who haven't been through infertility just don't 'get it'. He or she may just not realise how hard this is for you (I appreciate I don't know all the facts and am being very charitable here)

Your next step perhaps depends on the relationship you have with your boss - do you think you could have a word and explain how difficult you find this and ask if someone else could step in instead. As I said it is difficult because you won't want to jeopardise your job in any way. Or do you have a trusted colleague who would speak to your boss (or offer to take over instead?)

I hope you do get this resolved, it must be very hard and the only other crumb of comfort I could offer is that if you don't find a resolution, it will only be very short term

best wishes



Hiya pinkangel, I find it hard to be around or work with other women who are preggy but thankfully my colleagues know my situation. I would explain my feelings to your boss and hopefully someone else can do it. I wish you good luck.


It's so difficult as no answer is going to solve the problem, and it's all personal feeling.

Personally I never get upset seeing other women pregnant as long as I know the women, or working closely with them (I work with 6 women, 4 of whom are pregnant) as you rarely really know how hard it was for them to get pregnant. Don't get me wrong I have days where I see someone I don't know driving a car with "baby on board" stickers and want to scratch their eyes out! And don't even get me started on my "permanently pregnant" neighbour - every time I hear her shout at one of her crying babies (3 in as many years) it breaks my heart.

I think I'm playing devils advocate here and not making much sense! What I'm trying to say is that as much as you may feel your boss is being insensitive, would you feel bad if a happily married woman was working with a recently widowed woman? Maybe you should have a frank discussion with them. Put it to them that they wouldn't expect someone who had just had a child die support someone expecting a baby, and infertility is often a bereavement many times over for some people.

I don't think I'm making much sense today sorry - I think my hormones are messing my head up!!!

Hope you feel ok honey - sorry I don't think i've helped have I, at very least I may have made you laugh at my stupidity ;) x x x


I think it would be the case of asking if there was an alternative as you find it upsetting, therefore it will impact on your ability to perform, and your relationship with your colleague. It's hard because it is hard to judge what is right, and you possibly feel differently depending what day it is anyway, you need to be clear that you're happy working together as part of a wider team, but it is painful one-on-one working. Whilst your boss may be able to help, they could also say no.

I also think you need to think about how you are managing your emotional position, as it isn't healthy for you to be having to actively avoid pregnant women for ever. So you need some support for developing a mechanism for being around pregnant women. One thing I use is to remember that someone else being pregnant has no impact whatsoever on my life and future. Some days, this works, other days it is harder. Whatever, when I get through a day without hurting myself I remember to mentally congratulate myself. e.g. when at a party which unexpectedly had a baby and lots of people cooing around it, whilst I didn't go and hold the baby, I also didn't run out crying (my preferred reaction), and so when I left I was really pleased with myself for handling the situation.

Hope this helps.

FG x


If your boss knows then he/she is being insensitive to your position. Tell them that whilst you are happy to assist in most situations this is one that you can no longer assist with as it is too upsetting. As you say there are plenty of others that can do this. Good luck xx


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