Maternal instincts

first_img Comments are closed. Now used to being pregnant, Zara Lopez (not her real name) finds it’s timeto make some important decisions about the futureFebruary 20th 2001 Flights taken this month: too many Stress levels: extremely high Dilemmastackled (personal and work-related): lost count The Christmas break did us all good. It gave me time to recover from the caraccident, and James and the HR department time to get used to the idea of mehaving a baby. Although my bosses were pretty good to me after the accident, mymanagers back at US headquarters were not quite so understanding about thepregnancy. I guess that’s because the female expat population is still quitesmall, and as most of these women tend to be single, cases of pregnancy onassignment are quite rare. In short, not only was the HR department completely unprepared for it, itwas also not sure how to deal with my “situation”, as it’s such agrey area. My project manager’s reaction was also one of disbelief. “Howcould you pull a stunt like this after all the other surprises you sprang on usat the last minute when you took on the project?” he asked inexasperation. “You know É going from a single person to married with aready-made family, and now this – all within a space of what É a fewmonths?” He pointed out that I was already quite expensive and this was going to meanmore costs, and probably even more setbacks with the project. His other concernwas that I might not return to work after the baby was born. As if I would beso irresponsible! But we did have to think about my replacement during mymaternity absence – all 12 weeks or so of it. Should a local person or an expat replace me? Since another expat wouldprove too costly, I suggested a local manager who I am training up anyway, andit will be a good test of how well she can cope. I offered to coach and mentorher whenever she needed help, via phone and e-mail. He seemed happy about thatand is even prepared to pay me. Overall, things haven’t been easy for me these past few weeks. And just tomake matters worse, it’s been quite a difficult pregnancy. I have to hide thefact that I’m still suffering from morning sickness and have high bloodpressure. I pretend that everything’s okay, even when I feel like retching myguts up – especially when I’m in the US, where colleagues have been less thanimpressed with my “baby” news. I don’t want them to accuse me of notbeing able to hold down my job. Fortunately, my Venezuelan colleagues are muchmore understanding. They’re okay about me keeping odd, flexible hours, and infact, I’m often encouraged to leave early on quiet days. The other dilemma we have had to deal with is whether the baby should beborn in the US or here in Caracas? Apparently, having a baby in a country otherthan your home country can be plagued with problems. What worried me was thatif I had a boy in Latin America, he would be called up for military service at18. So, we decided it would be best if the baby is born in the US. I’ve informed HR that I’d like to leave for New York at the end of March, asI won’t be allowed to fly if I’m more than seven months pregnant. I’ll thenwork in the New York offices until a week before the baby is due (around theend of May), take my three months’ unpaid maternity leave and return to Caracasfor work some time in August. Pity I’m not in Europe. If I were in Norway, I would have been entitled to ayear’s paid leave. Or better still, Sweden, where they get two years’ paidleave. Bliss! Even the Brits get a fairer deal, as James keeps reminding me.True, 29 weeks of paid leave is better than the 12 weeks’ unpaid leave you getin the US. But I suppose I should be thankful for small mercies as at least I’ll stillhave a job to go back to – something that’s not always possible for localVenezuelans. Another question is, should we keep the house in Caracas on, even thoughwe’ll be in the US for four or five months? As James has found himself aninterim post with his old ad agency in the US, we can probably afford to runtwo homes. So, because decent accommodation is hard to find here, that’s whatwe’ll do. But it’s going to mean more disturbance for Jasmin and Jad, as theywill have to go to American schools for a few months. Fortunately, Jasmin seemsto be delighted at the prospect of a baby brother or sister, but Jad has beenmore difficult than ever since he found out about his new sibling. Problems,problems. As for me, I just can’t wait for this baby to drop. The scorching weather ismaking it unbearable to carry, as he or she is piling on the pounds. Whichreminds me, more decisions to make, like the birth method. Ugh! Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Maternal instinctsOn 1 Feb 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *