Should men/ partners feel pressured to return to work sooner even though they are experiencing grief?
They haven’t had a physical loss but certainly the loss of a future they became excited about and had started to plan for.
Both people in the relationship start to imagine themselves as a parent and a lot of thinking time has been taken up imagining this new life ahead of them as a family. This sense of excitement is heightened as the couple discuss the future together and even more so when sharing their news with others.
When this is taken away the future suddenly looks a very different and uncertain place.
How much leave is fair for male teachers who experience miscarriage?
Women who are faced with the end of a pregnancy before reaching 24 weeks are protected by The 2010 Equality Act; this allows them a period of 2 weeks of leave. In some instances employers agree to a longer period of leave which is classed as compassionate.
There is nothing in place as of yet which supports the partners of those who have miscarried which implies that miscarriage is something that happens to women and not to couples.
Men are typically seen as the one who will emotionally support women who physically experience the miscarriage, but who looks after the men?
Some of the feelings that partners might experience according to The Miscarriage Association are:
Imagine teaching and feeling all, some, or even one of the above when in a classroom full of children who need all of your attention. Is it safe to do so?
It isn’t right that students have a teacher who is not emotionally and mentally fit to be leading a lesson and it isn’t right that the teacher should be there in the first place, given the circumstances.
Yes partners of those who have miscarried might well be physically able to return to work the day of or the day following a miscarriage but whether they are mentally and emotionally ready is another matter entirely.
Soon after their loss, Mike returned to the classroom where he ‘couldn’t help the bad mood spilling over onto’ the students.’ Laura believed that had he had a week away from teaching and more appropriate time to process the miscarriage that he might have been better prepared to return to work.
A recently published article surrounding men and miscarriage found that ‘some men expected themselves, and were expected by others, to be unaffected by the loss’.
This study demonstrates that men feel pressured to push their emotions of loss and grief to one side; indicating that to show this grief could mean they’re viewed as weak and not very ‘masculine’.
Most workplaces have a maternity policy but many don’t yet have policies for employees who have experienced miscarriage.
The problem with Cover work
One teacher who has suffered loss told me ‘…the ideal thing would be to have leave in that situation, because the guilt and having to communicate with school regarding cover is an unnecessary burden [when experiencing miscarriage, and the trauma attached to this]. Although unions say we don’t have to provide cover, its something we do out of care for our classes.’
Too often we hear of teachers speak of the guilt of needing to rush back to classes. The way they feel the pressure to place the importance of their pupils above their own needs is an all too familiar story within education.
Laura wants a miscarriage policy which protects partners as well as women who are experiencing the physical loss so that there is:
How do you think male teachers could be better supported in the workplace with baby loss?