14 Oct Rowan’s story
Rowan experienced pregnancy loss through an ectopic pregnancy.
An ectopic pregnancy is where the pregnancy implants in a location that is not within the cavity of the womb. Sadly the pregnancy cannot be saved and it can be a life threatening condition for the woman or pregnant person if not diagnosed and treated quickly.
Rowan was treated with a drug called methotrexate which stops the pregnancy from developing.
The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust asked Rowan about her experiences of returning to work after ectopic pregnancy loss and we are grateful to her for sharing her thoughts.
What were your feelings as you approached the date of returning to work?
Rowan: I was technically still being treated at the end of my two weeks off and was told that I could be signed off for longer if I wished, but they thought physically I was okay to return to desk duty only.
I think I felt I was at a point where I could stay off forever or attempted to try going back to work (I knew I couldn’t be off forever). I was unsure what my colleagues had been told and was nervous about explaining my absence to them.
What did you/your workplace do in advance to prepare for your return?
Rowan: It was helpful to have some stipulations in place ie can return but only on desk duty. I think it helped me to know what I was going back to do and to know my employer had had to have had some sort of conversation with my team which meant I wouldn’t have to keep telling them I couldn’t help with lifting tables and kit. We also arranged some time for me to work from home and so that I could attend medical appointments.
How was your first day back?
Rowan: It was strange being in a situation where I was aware people wanted to know what had happened but didn’t want to ask. But everyone kept saying how nice it was to see me and hope you’re feeling better, which was nice. And it was easier than I thought it would be to just say that I’ve been “on leave” as a response and to leave it at that. People actually asked less questions than I thought they would and I suppose “leave” could mean I had been on holiday or just had the flu.
What words would you share with others who are returning to work?
Rowan: Don’t go back if you’re not ready – get your health care professional to sign you off for longer.
Do get support dealing with your experience by talking to friends/family, the EPT or another trusted health professional.
Do try to talk to your employer to work out some small adjustments that would help you return to work as well as making sure you are looking after your physical needs – phased return, working from home, desk duty and so on.
What words would you share with employers whose employees are returning to work after ectopic pregnancy loss?
Rowan: Ectopic pregnancy for me, and I’m sure for others too, was really unexpected and quite a shocking experience. If you’re able to, make it as easy as possible for a gentle return to work and offer various opportunities to check in and see how the return is going.
There are many organisations that offer support to anyone affected by pregnancy and baby loss.
The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust focuses on early pregnancy loss through ectopic pregnancy. We are the only charity focusing on ectopic pregnancy in providing such extensive general information and peer support for anyone experiencing the condition. For more information and support visit www.ectopic.org.uk