Returning to work after pregnancy or baby loss can be extremely difficult, not only for the employee affected, but also for their colleagues and managers who want to do and say the right things for them returning back to work. This is why having the right support in place from the beginning makes all the difference, but we know there is still much more to do.
Whilst Sands’ recent survey of bereaved parents found that almost half (48%) of people who were bereaved in the past three years felt supported in the workplace upon returning to work, more than half aren’t getting the support they need, and many remain uncertain as to whether their employer has a baby loss policy.
Laura has shared her story of returning to work after the loss of her son, Theo.
“I work in the finance department of a large organisation. I left the office a day before my maternity leave began and like every expectant mum, excited for the imminent arrival of my baby.
My son Theo was born several days before his due date and died during labour. In that moment my world came crashing down around me. I qualified for maternity leave as I was over 24 weeks pregnant and decided to take 9 months off. There was never any pressure from my workplace to return and it was left totally up to me to decide when I wanted to go back which was hugely appreciated.
Whilst I was off, some colleagues were amazing, they would send me regular texts just checking in on me, this meant a lot to me. It showed they cared, and I wasn’t forgotten. Sadly, my senior manager didn’t contact me once while I was off and on my return to work never mentioned my loss, this was hugely hurtful.
I was extremely anxious about my return to work. I was not sure who had been told and I work in a big department so each day I would sit in fear that someone would ask me how my baby was, and this happened on several occasions. The look on their face when you tell them your baby died is awful.
When I spoke to colleagues after my return, so many of them said they just had no idea what to do or say to me. They felt totally underprepared for the situation.
This is why I believe the Sands’ Bereavement in the Workplace training is so important, if my colleagues had received training, they would have felt they had the knowledge and skills to support me, avoided awful conversations and meant I could have been more productive quicker.”
At Sands we hear stories like Laura’s time and time again. This is why we have created Bereavement in the Workplace training which is designed to empower all staff within an organisation. 97% of Bereavement in the Workplace training participants felt they were more prepared to support a bereaved colleague after completing the training.
We are delighted to now be able to offer training to both small and medium-sized organisations (up to 249 staff) free of charge, thanks to funding from the Department of Health and Social Care. Pricing for larger organisations can be discussed upon registration.