An expectant mother was told to dress to look “less pregnant” despite the hot weather outdoors to be mindful of her coworker who had recently miscarried.
In a post shared on the Am I the ***hole Reddit forum, a pregnant woman explained the dilemma she found herself in as she wanted to be mindful of her grieving coworker but wanted to feel comfortable at work as well.
She wrote that she was an intern at a clinic along with several other women, with four of them – including herself – getting pregnant around the same time.
“We have clinicals set for every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday with the clinic being closed on weekends. I am freshly in my third trimester and showing very obviously,” she wrote.
“There were three other pregnant women working at the clinic, one gone for maternity leave, one due next month, and one who was two days shy of my due date. Unfortunately, at about 23 or so weeks, one of the women (who is very sweet and a deserving mother) miscarried with her first.”
She added that her co-worker who miscarried was due on a date earlier than hers, and after the miscarriage, the co-worker took some much-needed time off but was reportedly due to return later in the month.
Sensitive to her co-worker’s grief, the poster noted that she “felt strange about her seeing me pregnant while she’s not,” so she asked for advice on her predicament from some of her co-workers. She wrote what they recommended she do: “My two friends both advised me that when she comes back, I should cover up and look ‘less pregnant’ from now on.”
While she understood their advice, she added that covering herself up in hot weather wasn’t practical or comfortable for her. She described the weather in her area as over 85 to 90 degrees, writing: “It’s difficult to wear a sweatshirt or hoodie that could fully cover my pregnant stomach, and pregnant women tend to overheat faster and easier than others.”
She pointed out to her co-workers that she wasn’t the only pregnant woman in the office, noting that by their logic, the other women cover up as well. But her co-workers allegedly responded by saying that because she was due the closest to their grieving co-worker.
“Don’t get me wrong — I don’t want to show off my pregnancy or anything, and if I could, I would try to cover more, but I told them I didn’t want to make myself uncomfortable,” she wrote. “One friend even suggested that I change my entire schedule so I’m there on days she doesn’t work so I don’t upset her.”
But after she told them that she didn’t want to do anything that would make herself uncomfortable, the poster revealed, “I was told that I’m being inconsiderate and met with a lot of judgment when I told them that I can’t and won’t do that. I was even told that I’m too stubborn. I have spoken of a few people, some being on my side and others agreeing I’m inconsiderate. I’m now starting to second guess myself and feel like I should just listen to them.”
The majority commented that the poster wasn’t the ***hole in the situation and she wasn’t being inconsiderate as her co-workers told her. One Reddit user wrote that it was awful that one of her co-workers was “basically shaming you for still being pregnant.”
Another person suggested a different way the poster could still be mindful of her co-worker, saying that she should “try to avoid discussing your pregnancy around her, maybe, give her space, but treat her professionally and kindly, sure.”
They added, “I was 8-9 months pregnant in the middle of summer in constant 90-degree heat with a 10lb baby and excessive amniotic fluid. The world was lucky I wasn’t walking around in the nude on the VERY rare occasion I had to venture out of my AC. Asking you to wear extra layers and heavier clothes to cover your pregnancy is not feasible!”
“One thing I have heard friends say who have had a pregnancy loss is that ignoring it is harder than acknowledging it,” someone else wrote. “They are grieving and the best thing you can do is be there for her and acknowledge her loss and pain in a sensitive and supportive way.”
The UK Miscarriage Association recommends that people create a supportive environment for their co-workers grieving a miscarriage, what they need most throughout this trying time is to know people are there for them. They suggest people check in with them while they’re on leave and ask them what they could do to make things easier for them.