I had it all planned this frozen cycle. My transfer was due to be this week so I booked 2 days of leave and 1 day of flexi which just happened to coincide with my wedding anniversary and my brother’s visit from Canada. Perfect cover and really great to have a few days to relax during the hell that is the two week wait.
But life often doesn’t go to plan. My lining is not playing ball – I am not surprised as it’s always a little on the thin side so my transfer has now been delayed…twice.
To complicate matters I’m starting a new job on Monday. It’s a sideways move within my organisation (which is part of the civil service) and within my current policy area. So what do I do about taking time off? I could soldier on but this may be our final shot and I really want to be a bit more relaxed and take some time off. My job is full on and my new job is going to be really pressured – I know as I’m already getting emails plus as part of the move agreement I agreed to take some of my existing work with me (mug!).
I am really lucky. There is a provision in our HR policy for IVF treatment. This means I can take time off for appointments and 2 weeks off after transfer without incurring any penalty or my sick leave counting towards our monitored days. So why am I worrying?
I’m concerned because during the last 3 years I’ve had a LOT of managers due to changing roles twice and managed moves on their parts and I really don’t feel up to telling my new manager – yet another person at work to know my private business.
My first cycle I didn’t tell. I managed to get early morning appointments and as my managers (they did a job share) both worked part time they didn’t really notice (I always made up time missed). However, I got severe OHSS after my transfer and was signed off work (couldn’t really make it in whilst having a drain in my side and a bag of bloody fluid strapped to my leg). I told them I had gynae problems and they didn’t probe. But my next IVF – which was a year later – I did tell. It was a big step as I had to tell them together and I nearly cried. To my surprise one of them said she’d had IVF to have her all her 3 kids. They were so supportive and kind I wished I’d told them earlier. And then they left.
My next manager was a man. This worried me. But he seemed to genuinely care about his staff so I took a deep breath and told him midway through a cycle. He had actually noticed I was out for appointments quite a bit and was really pleased I’d opened up. He then asked if he could tell my Director. I was reluctant but I worked really closely with the Director so I agreed. Unfortunately although I got pregnant I had a miscarriage and had to take even more time off work. I got a lot of support from my manager, including him sorting out some counselling via work, but ended up going back to work earlier than the doctor had signed me off for and this was partly as I felt under pressure from work to do so. I’ll never forget the first day I agreed to work from home and got asked to phone into an important meeting where I was going to have to negotiate – I broke down and phoned my husband – just the thought of it was making me hyper-ventilate. Then I got this email from one of my team, she just said “I’ve got this. It’s in hand.” She knew about the miscarriage and it was one of the nicest things anyone at work has ever done for me.
Then I moved roles. My new manager wasn’t the most supportive – not that she was unsupportive, as long as I did my work well and she didn’t have to counsel me (ie she didn’t really want to hear anything about the IVF treatment) she was happy. Then she left!
My next manager nearly cried when I told her.I wasn’t expecting that! She kept relating it to her and saying how awful she’d feel if she couldn’t have her kids (er yeah). Then she moved! I didn’t bother to tell the next one (and have made up the hours on all my recent appointments) but now I’m moving.
I feel like half the managers in my organisation know my private business and I’m fed up with telling them. But I will be protected if I do. I also feel a bit weird going into a new role and then effectively saying that I’m desperately trying to get pregnant. Lots to think about….oh and I’ve never taken the full 2 weeks. I’ve always just taken 2-3 days and that’s all I’d take this time too. My friend at work did take the 2 weeks and got pregnant. I saw her last week and she was adamant I should take it – or at least some of it – it’s in the policy because someone fought to get it there and my organisation has made a commitment to supporting people having IVF. I am very lucky in that respect, I’ve heard so many awful stories of people struggling to take their IVF treatment with unsupportive bosses and workplaces.