Pregnancy For A Working Woman

PS:I had written this in the 8th month of my pregnancy, thinking of publishing it as the story of someone else. But somehow I didn't get around to doing it. So, publishing it now for you to read, ponder and comment. I'll wait to hear your views.


I see her at office every day, working from the same building and the same floor as I do actually. In fact, her desk and mine are practically the same, with just a divider, like a mirror, separating us both.

8 months pregnant, I watch her reach the desk gasping, every single day. The walk from the campus gate to our building is quite a long one and can be quite exhausting, especially when you are as pregnant as she is. But from what I have heard, she doesn’t take the cart on a daily basis. I think she sees it as a sign of weakness or of taking advantage of her now very visible tummy. I guess she just wants to reaffirm the faith she has in herself, that she can still do things as she used to before another life stared thriving inside of her. It’s not to say she doesn’t take any help at all. Of-course, she does but only when it goes beyond a certain point.

The apprehensions of a huge change eggs her to test her mental endurance much beyond her bodily threshold. Doing things on her own is just her way of maintaining a semblance of control on her changing body and even mind. Watching her makes me realize that bearing a child is no cakewalk. 

I see her struggling with the changes in herself, every single day. She’s not comfortable either sitting or walking. In fact, she looks flustered all day long. The number of trips she takes to the washroom, thanks to her bladder being on an overdrive owing to pregnancy, isn’t helpful either. But amidst all these discomforts, I have seen her try to give her all to the work at hand.

From the first trimester itself she has handled her team with utmost sincerity. I know for a fact that she wants to continue doing so till the foreseeable future. But at this late stage of pregnancy, health seems to be the bother, prohibiting her from going the extra mile. She sits with one hand at her back throughout the day, the pain being a constant, unwanted companion. And the itching, well, relentless. I can see scratch marks all over her hands and legs. It’s sad because she had such flawless skin but now it’s all gone. I don’t know why people keep talking about the pregnancy glow because all I can see in her are the after effects of one discomfort or the other.

Seeing her I realize the apathy of employers towards employees. I realize how much of an overhaul is needed. I wish there were policies to make things easier.

The company we work for doesn’t have very friendly policies when it comes to pregnant women (or just employees for that matter). No pickups or drops. Not enough leaves. You are expected to live, travel, die and even be pregnant within 20 days a year. No work-from-home either, unless the manager is extremely understanding. 

Thankfully, her current manager is a fellow who fathoms the pains a woman goes through during this phase. But just 2 days of work-from-home a month isn’t enough, that too in the last trimester. But these Indian IT companies are like those annoying mothers-in-law who only like to see you toil. And I have not even touched upon the maternity leave policies which are nothing but abysmal as well. So, you see it's a systemic apathy that women need to fight and live with.

It makes me wonder how many women put an end to their careers when they go the family way. What other option is there? They either have to completely give up their jobs or opt for something not at par with their qualifications. Or, even start something completely new, maybe something which doesn’t pay as well?

I get why there is this cloud of uncertainty in her eyes. It’s a welcome change for her certainly, this phase we call motherhood, but that’s not all there is to her. There is so much more to her being and every other woman than being a mother. But in India, you can either be a mother or have a career, most of the times. Very few have both and hats off to them to achieve that in the current set up.

While she has her family and her husband by her side but how much further can she go without support from employers? I can see she worries what her life will shape up to be once the shift happens. Well, at least one thing is for sure, her employer will have no hand in helping her with the transition.

How about your workplace?

What about its policies pertaining to pregnant women?

Don’t you think women who are in higher positions should be more vocal about implementing policies conducive to working mothers?



Labels: , , ,