This is the second in a three-part series, written by a guest TAPA who has some actual life experience that I don’t.
If you plan to work through your pregnancy, my “let’s get real” advice is this: do not announce your intention to start a family and if you become pregnant, hide it as long as you possibly can; just keep working. This is the one thing I would have done differently – I wish I had kept my pregnancy under wraps.
It’s a harsh reality that as soon as people know you are pregnant, work will dry up. There are some exceptions here, depending on what you do and for whom you do it. Unfortunately, even though people may have the best of intentions and wish you the best, they will likely still discriminate against you for being pregnant because they are worried about the impact on their business operations.
Depending on the nature of your job, you might be working in conditions that range from not ideal to totally unsafe to downright discriminatory for a pregnant woman. I once asked for a chair to sit down and was told no (I just wanted it for a few minutes while doing a task that was easily done sitting down). I was publicly shamed as “fat” in front of an entire company. I was climbing up 10 foot ladders in my third trimester. (I only did that a few times when things were really slammed, but when push came to shove the work needed to get done.)
In other industries, there are at least basic worker safety laws that are followed. These are routinely flouted in the entertainment industry. Even in other industries, laws protecting pregnant women are not always great. I never received a single accommodation for my pregnancy – nor did I ever seek them for fear of reprisal. Plus, this industry exists in a weird space where you might be an employee on one project and a volunteer the next for the same company or production team. Use your best judgment and decide where your personal line is that you are not going to cross in terms of compromising your own health and safety and that of your unborn child.
Some people may try to say that pregnant women are inept due to hormones or emotions (surprisingly, I heard this most from other women). Don’t buy into this. I personally never felt that I was in any way “out of whack” while pregnant. Very fatigued and constantly vomiting – but in no way mentally incapacitated. If anything, I was more on point than ever with my work because I was driven to prove that pregnancy would not impact my value to a production team. As things progressed, I definitely felt like I needed to be increasingly more selective about where and how I spent my energy.
I will say that my tolerance level for time wasting and general bullshit went right down to zero. I will never forget the big 6 foot tall guy who thought it would be a good idea to come up to me a couple weeks before my due date when I was trying to eat a snack – he literally grabbed my food right out of my hands and started pushing it into my face as “a joke.” I swear to God I nearly punched him right in the goddamn face. (But seriously, who fucks with someone else’s food like that, especially a REALLY PREGNANT lady? Asshole.)