Viral Post Captures the Unseen Struggle of Working During the First Trimester

“Let's reexamine the cruel standards we have subjected women to and create a world where our children do not have to choose between work and being human.”
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Assistant Editor
July 27, 2022
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Image: Massimiliano Finzi/Getty Images

Sometimes bringing a new life into the world can feel like a full-time job. For mothers who juggle a career during their pregnancy, first trimester symptoms like morning sickness, headaches and depression can make getting the work done more difficult than ever before. In an effort to bring this unseen struggle into the light, a soon-to-be mother of twins recently shared her story in a now-viral LinkedIn post.

Pictured lying on her back in visible pain, Leena Yousefi, a Canadian family lawyer and business owner, begins her story by documenting her day-to-day. “For the past two months, I have been forced to lay on the bed in my work clothes before work in the morning, unable to move, think or function. I wake up in a constant state of chronic depression, nausea, aversions to everything, disabling migraine, a numbness to the world and lack of happiness that at times is one of the scariest things I have ever felt,” Yousefit recounts, adding, “Being pregnant with twins has been the hardest physical challenge I have ever gone through my life.”

Despite these crippling symptoms, Yousefi, like thousands of other women, shows up to work every day with little to no support from their workplace amid a general culture that frowns upon the need for rest. “Having to rest to literally create life—a heart, a brain, organs—is often treated either as vacation or unpaid time when it comes to work. In our most fragile state, we are threatened with our security if we don’t get up and force ourselves to work to earn money for our families. Either we sacrifice ourselves or risk our financial security,” Yousefi writes.

While Yousefi adds that she is lucky to be in a position that allows her the space to rest most of the time, but acknowledges that this isn’t possible for many pregnant women. In order for many women to find the care and compassion they need, policy changes must be made, and more workplaces must consider how to best support pregnant employees.

Yousefi ends her post by expressing her hope that men and women who go through these struggles will know they aren’t alone and might have the courage to speak up without fear of jeopardizing their job. “Let’s reexamine the cruel standards we have subjected women to and create a world where our children do not have to choose between work and being human,” Yousefi writes.

Managing first-trimester symptoms can be difficult, but there are a variety of different remedies to help you through your journey. However, if your symptoms persist or you start having any of these concerning symptoms, don’t hesitate to talk with your doctor about your options.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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