Episode 137: Pregnancy Loss and Work

Just for practical reasons you have to keep it secret, but then you also can’t be grieving or emotionally affected outwardly in any way.
— Jorli Peña
Photo by Marjan_Apostolovic/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Marjan_Apostolovic/iStock / Getty Images
I remember Googling what to say when you experience a miscarriage at work...I found absolutely no advice anywhere on what to [tell] people you manage.
— Ceri Angood Napier

Around a fifth of pregnancies end in miscarriage, but we rarely talk about it. As my guest April Boyd says:

When you’re talking about infant loss and pregnancy loss, those are incredibly taboo topics in our culture.

In this episode we take on that taboo. Most women work, and when we miscarry we’re often recovering physically and psychologically in the workplace. Often, our colleagues will have no idea we were ever pregnant. But they may wonder why we seem upset or distracted.

In this show you’ll meet three women from three different countries, each with a different experience of pregnancy loss and work. Jorli Peña was working for a US corporate giant when she had her first miscarriage. It was not to be her last. Ceri Angood Napier had spent years trying to get pregnant when she finally got good news, quickly followed by bad. She then had to work out what, if anything, to tell her team about why she’d been off for two weeks. April Boyd suffered the loss of her daughter Nora soon after her birth in 2013. She runs the Love & Loss Project, helping people who have suffered infant or pregnancy loss cope with the world they come back to afterwards.

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You can also read a transcript of the show.