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I'm Pregnant, Not Dead

Right after I hit the second trimester and was allowed to tell people about the baby, I set up a meeting with the director of clinical education at my school. You see, in January I start my last clinical affiliation, which is 16 weeks long in a local hospital. If you do the math, you’ll discover that I’ll finish when I am about 38 weeks pregnant. Because I love nothing more than cutting it really close.

The director of clinical education suggested that I disclose my pregnant to my clinical site well ahead of my January start date. He said it wasn’t required and they can’t turn me down for my clinical because of it, but it would be the professional thing to do. So this week, that’s exactly what I did. I sent a polite email explaining about my pregnancy, letting them know that it shouldn’t have a profound impact on my affiliation except, hopefully, for just a few doctor’s appointments here and there.

The response I got back was a bit of a shock. Okay, a big shock.

My clinical instructor emailed me back within an hour. Her email contained no greeting, no salutation, simply one sentence. I’m going to paraphrase, but basically she said that I was entering a very fast paced environment and I better not slow things down for her or my patients.

I was and am still totally dumbfounded. This woman has never met me, knows nothing about me, and basically just accused me of being inadequate at my job because of my pregnancy.

She doesn’t know that I’m working 11 hour days right now, which is 3 longer than I’ll be working with her. She doesn’t know that last week I saw more patients than my clinical instructor did. She doesn’t know that despite first trimester fatigue and morning sickness that still. won’t. die. I haven’t missed a single day of my clinical affiliation and I’ve kept up the entire time. And yet, she’s acting as though because I am pregnant, I am now totally incapable of doing work.

Obviously, I know that the fatigue will increase again in the 3rd trimester. I know that the bigger I get, the lower my endurance will be. But none of that damns me to being unproductive or in the way. None of that merits a warning now and a very curt assumption that I’m going to be anything other than productive and attentive to my patients.

I still haven’t replied to the email because I’m not really sure how to even go about replying. It’s clear that she’s made up her mind about me, about what I am capable of and I almost feel like there’s no point in trying to defend myself or reassure her that I can perform adequately. I find myself really wanting to send her a reply that simply says, “I’m pregnant, not dead.” But somehow I imagine that there are better courses of action to take.

Has anyone else experienced this kind of response to a pregnancy announcement? How did you reply?

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