Skip to content

In 2013 in the UK, one in every 137 babies was either stillborn or died in the first 4 weeks of life

Here in N. Ireland, over 3 babies a week are stillborn or die in the first 4 weeks of life.

Returning to Work - YOU ¦¦ Returning to Work - EMPLOYER

 

Returning to Work - YOU

 

At some point, most parents have to face going back to work. If you are grieving for your baby, returning to work may be the last thing you feel like doing. It may seem like a terrible and frightening hurdle. While you have been living in a world of pain and uncertainty, other people's lives have gone on regardless. Your boss, colleagues and clients will almost certainly have no idea what you're going through.

No one can tell you the 'right' time to go back to work, though don't be surprised if everyone you meet has an opinion. Only you can really decide, but it will help if you talk it over with people who care for you and that you trust.

Be prepared for the fact that others may think that going back to work will 'cure' you of your grief. There may be some truth in this, for some bereaved parents; returning to a routine can help to bring a focus to days that may otherwise seem endless.

Equally, returning too soon can cause further problems. Be aware that you may not react how you think you'll react; you may find it harder than you thought you would. Of course, hopefully, you'll find it easier than you thought. Whenever you do feel ready, talk it over with your boss. It might be a good idea to explain that you think you are ready but prepare them that if you react differently from how you expect to, you might need a little more time.

Be aware that there are certain aspects common in grief that could affect you at work:
· Loss of concentration.
· Tiredness.
· Hyper-sensitivity.
· A feeling of difference. Bereaved parents often feel 'different' from their colleagues and a different person from the person they were before their baby died.

 

Here are some suggestions that other parents have found have helped their return to work.

Find out if your employer will let you phase your return to work, perhaps with some part-days or working a bit from home. Initially, 9 to 5 or a full shift can be very intimidating. Also think about if you'd like to try part-time working for a while. You have a legal right to have a request for part-time hours properly considered by your employer. Further advice on employment rights can be got from www.workingfamilies.org.uk

Write to your boss and colleagues (this may be easier than trying to do it face-to-face). Explain some of the details of your bereavement - your baby's name; period of gestation or age; birth weight; cause of death if you know; what he or she looked like.

Let you employer and colleagues know if you want to talk about your baby or not. They may be waiting for 'permission' from you that it is OK to talk about your baby.

Be gentle on yourself at the start. It's OK to have bad days but it will help if your employer and colleagues have some idea what you are going through and where you are coming from.

Please note: The tips and advice we are giving here are general; they may not all be appropriate to how you feel or to your workplace and the relationship you have with your employers.