Help with dealing with pregnant colleague

Hi girls
Just wanted a bit of advice really.
A colleague of mine is in the early stages of pregnancy. Since she told us at work she has constantly been moaning at how tired she is, how sick she has been and how she needs to go home. Now I think because i'm pregnant i'm actually less tolerant, does that make sense?
I got to 12 weeks without anybody at work noticing I was running off 3 times a day to puke, had to write millions of lists as was so forgetful but managed to hold it together. Now i'm not saying she is putting it on but has anyone found it harder to deal with? I know I sound like an unsympathetic person but I'm not, it's just for the last year she has cried wolf so many times, you name it she has had it, been off sick more times in a year than I have in 3 and I just feel like she is milking it for all it's worth.
It has been noticed by HR as they know I was quite poorly with my pregnancy to start with but even now at 30 weeks im still pretty much doing full time hours or at least getting cover where I can and not just using it as an excuse to sneak off. She's giving us pregnant ladies a bad name and people have started commenting at how all of a sudden she feels like she has leeway to have time off which is unfair. I have struggled most months here but have only taken time off when needed and she is really learning how to play the game.
I thought I would be more tolerant as I have been there and obviously still going through it but actually, i'm the opposite!
Has anyone else been in this situation?


  • Hi Em,

    I've been in the shoes of this girl (well kind of)
    I hardly ever have time off sick but when I do I get the impression that colleagues are thinking that I'm "swinging it" because I'm pregnant
    Now I tend to drag myself into work & leave it up to my boss to send me home if he sees fit
    It's only happened a couple of times but I feel guilty
    Sorry not much help am i lol xx
  • Oh Em, I feel your pain!! I haven't been through it with work, but a friend of mine has been acting like she's the first ever pregnant woman on earth since she found out. I think she went to work a total of 4 days between her BFP and then starting maternity leave at 5 months preggers (don't ask, I have no idea how she got away with that either). She kept saying how sick she was and how exhausted, but then she kept emailing me and asking me to meet her for coffee / cakes / lunch (you name it - I kept having to remind her that I was working and couldn't just sneak out for the day!), or updating her FB status saying what a fabulous time she's had that day having lunch with friends. It must have made all her work colleagues mad as hell, I don't know how on earth she got away with it!! She even emailed me this week to ask me to go to a craft fair with her "either Thursday or Friday daytime" - how hard is it to understand that *normal* people don't start skiving off work just because they're pregnant!

    I didn't tell her I was pregnant until after the 12 week scan (whereas she told the world immediately on her BFP - presumably so she'd get all the sympathy and loads of time off work), so I really really had to bite my tongue every time she canceled a social engagement because "it's just so exhausting being pregnant, you know.....". Yes, I *know*, but I"m not about to start letting my friends down now, it'll be hard enough to keep up once baby gets here!

    It drives you crazy when women do this, because it just gives all of us such a bad name. I think the best we can do is harden our hearts a little, and just be glad that our own children will become much nicer, more rounded people as a result of having decent parents teaching them some values in life, rather than parents who teach them to milk the system for all its worth.....!!

    Chin up, chick, when you have your own baby in your arms, all these (admittedly INCREDIBLY annoying) nuances will be nothing but a foggy memory from "Life before baby"....!!

  • Mrs S
    See you don't strike me as being in her shoes, more mine. I have so little time off that the odd 2 or 3 days off I have had in my whole pregnant I either know my boss knows i'm definately ill or just don't care as they can't tell me I have had too much time off. With her it's all the time. She has actually just been in to tell me that she keeps being sick in the toilet but she doesn't want anybody at site knowing she 's pregnant yet. Well I sit opposite her and can see she has hardly left her desk all day apart from to eat chocolate biscuits and make tea? I couldn't stomach anything, I nearly asked if she thought perhaps the biscuits werent helping?

    KPepper - it's so tough isn't it, your right about harden hearts. I wish I was a bit tougher. I have had days when I really really don't want to go to work or to family events but have dragged myself if only for a few hours to show face. I never understand why people would want to milk the system. I posted last week about gettign signed off work as work was just too stressful but couldn't bear it so have decied to start my mat leave early so it actually only affects me and baby and nobody else as I can't stand people thinking that i'm doing it because i'm pregnant.
    Oh I can't wait to have foggy life before baby memories of work!
  • Hi Emma,

    I kind of understand how you feel if she is laying it on thick!

    However, every pregnancy is different! Some people have severe tiredness and sickness and it really is hard to get through a day at work. My friend had to be signed off as her sickness was so bad. And although I'm at work most of the time, I had to have time off last week because of severe migraine and I felt paranoid that everyone would think that I'm taking advantage! Some people sail through pregnancies and some really struggle. We're probably lucky that we're not suffering too much!

  • Saying that, there was a girl I know who went on soo much that you woulda thought that she was the first woman to ever be pregnant and it did my head in!!!
  • Mickos
    I do totally agree with you and I do feel extremely lucky that I have managed to function throughout my pregnancy. Even when I ended up at FEtal assessmetn one day, as soon as I got the all clear I was back to work. After my antenatal checks with teh mw I go back to work but she has to have the whole afternoon off from the last 2 she has had even though her appts are at lunchtime and she lives 10 mins from the office. I'm not saying I haven't had bad days at work but normally I am spending my weekends recouperating so I don't take time off where she spent Monday telling me all about her trips out with friends and shopping for baby stuff for the whole day on Sunday etc etc but now has decided she can't do a full day at work. I'm still of the mindset that if I don't go to work, I dont' go out that evening as my mum used to tell me with school he he!
    Honestly hon, i'm trying to be sympathetic as I know some people have it a lot worse than me but it's heartwrenching to have to struggle into the office everyday while she wanders around mothercare in her lunchbreak then complains her feet hurt!
  • I know exactly where ur coming from. I've been pretty sick throughout this pregnancy so far which has only just stopped at 21 weeks, but since being pg I've only had 1 week off work and that was because I had swine flu and wasn't allowed in work. There is another girl therewho is due 2 weeks after me and I don't thnk she's done a full weeks work since she got her bfp. Including a full week off with a uti.
    But it has been noted how I've gone in throughout it all and my boss has even mentioned about how I've managed to go into work despite being sick etc and a lot of people don't even know I'm pregnant yet (don't have an obvious bump). Hopefully other colleagues will realise the effort you've put in to carry on with your level of work throughout when they see how little this other girl is doing.
    I agree I also have less tolerance as I think, well if If I can do it you can too.
    TBH I couldn't afford to be off everytime I felt a bit tired or rough as we don't get sick pay lol
  • Becci it's nice to know someone else knows where i'm coming from. I'm not normally this mean but as you say, it's loss tolerance when you have been through the mill. HR have definately noticied it but it's kinda got to the point where I think that actually a pat on the back of HR is great but a week off work for good behaviour would be nice LOL!
  • You know what Emma, after reading what you just said it would really p*ss me off too! lol xx
  • Saw this on the homepage - IO worked with somneonw similar only we weren;t pregnant at the same time. When I returned form maternity leave, I had to have my work checked for a couple of weeks, perfectly standard with the work we do, but then I realised she was also having her work checked, because she;d only worked about 3 weeks in the previous 3 months - a colleague and friend said to me she had her suspicions about this girl slacking as she'd never quite be off long enough in one go to need a sick note. Anyway, a couple of weeks later she announces she's pregnant (not tghe reason for all the sickness as it started before she could've been pregnant) - I left the job after 3 months and only saw her for one week. She had a semi-disciplinary due to her sickness, but they told her pregnancy related sickness doesn;t count to wards your sickness record, so then she'd be phoning in with morning sickness all he time. Don't get me wrong, I sympathise with anyone who's suffering, I've been there - but even when you're pregnant the same rules apply re time off without a sicknote, and our weak manager didnlt seem to get this. When I had mornign sickness, and struggled ot get in for 9, my manager asked when I could get in for, I said about 9.15 - she said as long as I was in by 9.30 that was fine, if I struggled with that we'd look again - different manager obviously! To me, you either go to work as soon as you can, or you get signed off - she's taken the mick by having so much time off with not so much as a sicknote, thinking she can get away with it because she's pregnant.

    Sorry if this offends anyone, I was sick every day for from 7-18 weeks, and I know people have it worse than that, I'd never judge anyone without knowing their situation - but I do know this person's situation and personality!
  • Thanks Mickos, although I do see where your coming from before!
    Sunflower - thank you for sharing that. Thats exactly what I hate, thinking you can get away with it because your pregnant, its like a get out of jail free card! As you say, I too wouldn't judge someone if they told me they were sick all the time then thats fine. But I can see she isn't running to the loo every 5 mins and it's not like this is a rarity for her!
    I just hate people that play on it. She has even started parking in the visitors spaces and claiming she can't walk far as our car park is about a 4 min walk away and visitors is outside reception. Even security said, how am I managing ok albeit slowly parking with everybody else but she has leeway? I wouldnt' dare ask for a car park space closer unless I was in pain but i'm just mega tired and carrying a huge lump. I really don't want people to talk behind my back saying how I used pregnancy to get what I wanted at work like a closer car park space as it's been the talk of a site for a few weeks since they moved our spaces but hey life goes on. Apparently for her it doesn't!
    After her winging at lunch about how rough she feels I just said she wants to wait till she hits 30 weeks and can't sleep without 5 trips to the loo, then tell me your tired!!! Makes me wonder how she will ever cope with a newborn!!!
  • I think that some people do get very poorly in pregnancy and if she's ill; she's ill. However, from what you've said, she does seem like she's the sort to 'milk it'!

    I didn't really have the option of milking it, sadly, it just wan't tolerated in my (old school boys-network 95% male) work environment. When I found that my appointments would always be on a certain morning, that day immediately became the one day a week I was required to work a late, so I'd have a morning at the hospital, then have to go into work at lunchtime and work till 8pm. Ta for that!
  • People like this really annoy me as I had hyperemesis during my first pregnancy and struggled into work whenever I wasn't in hospital. I had very little support from my employers and eventually got signed off sick at 30wks. Reading about people taking the p*ss makes me wonder why I struggled through so much!!
  • Exactly Weeble, it's so annoying when you know how hard you have had it yourself then people just take the mick. Makes you wonder why you bothered eh!
  • Emma i'm one of the people whose had loads of time off with her pregnancy and even i can see where you're coming from! i've tried so hard to at least make the effort to get to work whenever i could (even if it did result in me being sent home or put on sick again lol). but one of my best friends who is also pregnant has had no symptoms apart from heartburn her entire pregnancy practically, and she threw up ONCE in 7 months and she was off work for 3 days to recuperate from it! to me behaviour like that is just ridiculous. like people have said fair enough some people are really ill, and i seem to be one of them, i've been in hospital 4/5 times already for 3/4 days stints, but i've also gone straight back to work whenever doctors have said i could too.

    basically after all that rambling my point is i have sympathy for people who really are struggling but still make an effort, but i really don't for those who just take the p***!
  • Jemmykins
    Thank you for understanding, I didn't want to offend so glad I didn't. It would anger me more in your shoes I think as I have been well enough to come to work albeit feel like crap but who said pregnancy was easy! I just want to shake her and scream it's a miracle your having a baby so get on with it. Stop trying to make the world feel sorry for you. I would actually have more sympathy if she tried to get on with her day, I would end up sending her home but when she tries it on every single day, I now refuse point blank to send her home if she complains she's ill. I'm now waiting for her to tell me to then record it with HR. I know there is nothing we can do as she is pregnant but it's people like her that make people like us look like free loaders! xxx
  • you definately didn't offend hun. like i say i totally understand. one of my ex-colleagues played on her morning sickness so much she only ever managed 1 day a week at work, and left early that day, but she never required a sicknote and never looked remotely ill or tired or anything she claimed when we saw her, and she had the nerve to question if i was playing on my sickness?!
  • WOW - she definitely sounds like she's milking it (WTF is going on with the car parking thing?!) and this comes from someone who is currently halfway through a 2 week period of being signed off by the doctor! I was lucky in the respect that my first 12 weeks were really good, but since hitting that I've felt awful! I went to see my doc three days in ioff of being off work as I knew that I couldn;t have much more time off without his say so. Work knew I was pregnant from about 9 weeks (from my early scan) and the sickness has come a bit out of the blue for them as I wasn't boring everyone on a daily basis with my woes (too busy if anything else!). Anyway, I think I am trying to say that I can see both sides (kind of!) but can only imagine how frustrated you must be by her behaviour. On a lighter note, you'll be on a maternity leave and she will have to find somebody else to whinge to!

    K 14+3
  • I can totally see your point of view! I have been off work for 2 weeks now (signed off by doc with confirmed swine flu) but I feel so guilty, I can't wait to get back and I have even tried to get work sent home so I can do it from bed! There is another girl at my work who is a week or two behind me & has not done a full week since she found out, she goes home with sickness, headaches etc. This is the first period of time off I have had since finding out & even though I have swine flu and doctor's certificate confirming etc I feel like work might not believe me and think that I'm taking the p! Hubby has been telling me to stop worrying, that I'm off with swine flue, not with a preganancy related illness & that so many people will have time off with it over the next few months, but I think cos I'm not the kinda person who normally has sick time & I don't wanna be seen as a weaker member of staff just cos I'm pregnant it has realy been worrying me!

    Guess the point of my essay is to say I totaly sympathise with what you are feeling! And although I know people have hugely different experiences of pregnancy, I think the way you deal with it depends a lot on the osrt of person you are, I don't deny that with some things you need time off, but the person you work with sounds like she's really milking it rather than having a genuine reason! Rosie 17+6 xx
  • Hi girls thought would add little somthing!
    First am going to say that I no some ppl r really ill when preg and can't work and so on but my SIL has been t total pain in the bum since she got preg!!
    I was around 18weeks preg when she found out from the min she told me am oh (they r twins by the way but don't really get on!) She acted like only person ever to b preg!I must say until last few weeks av had easy preg but that dis not mean I never went through all the tiredness sore boobs cramps hartburn ect but I never moaned about anything or took any days offf work (still haven't) as we tryed so long to get preg I was happy will all these new strange thing happing!!but from start she was sooo tired sick sore could not get out of bed never went to work for months!!!everytime I said yes I no I felts like tis or that she will say no u had easy time u don't have a clue how I feel!daft witch I do but I just never moaned about it!even my oh n family r saying she is just at it its all about her her her she hates that am preg and getting a little of her familys time!her dad even said to her I am a natural and she is going to b nightmear mum!don't really no what he meant but it was not every nice what he said!
    Sorry for rambling it prob don't make much sence as am rushing to rit it at work!but just to say ano how annoying it can b when someone just takes the mince out of it u should b enjoying the time not moaning 24\7 from the start!
    O 1 more thing we wir at party on sat nit and she did not get there till 9ish then said she was leaving about 10ish coz she was tired n noone would understand but I was quick to say will am 32 weeks preg really tired with aneamia worked till ten all week n al last another hour just say and the look she gave me could kill!! Lol so funny but hay each to there own!!

    Heidi 32+6 xx
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