A new mum recovering in hospital after giving birth by Caesarean
was bombarded with work emails – from the woman who was covering her maternity leave!
And incredibly, her temporary replacement COMPLAINED about mum Michelle Stone being 'unsupportive' when she stopped responding after her baby became ill.
Now Michelle has been awarded £18,000 by a tribunal
following the bombardment of work-related queries.
The tribunal heard that Michelle, general manager of Winfield Hospital in Gloucestershire, was still in her hospital bed taking painkillers when she began receiving emails demanding her views on a complicated restructuring programme.
For four weeks she was continually sent 'insensitive' work emails by her maternity cover Tania Terblanche, who was paid to carry out her duties in her absence at Ramsay Health Care UK.
But when Michelle stopped checking her email after her baby developed a serious illness, Ms Terblanche made a formal complaint about her for being 'unsupportive', the tribunal heard.
According to the Daily Telegraph
, the first email, sent on February 10 2010, read: "Hi Michelle, I think you should give me your views on the email below. Do you have any suggestions? Your feedback would be much appreciated. Regards Tania."
Two days later when Michelle failed to respond Ms Terblanche's PA phoned asking her to deal with the query. Michelle – who had worked for the company for 15 years - was also branded 'unprofessional' for taking her full maternity leave entitlement, a decision which caused her boss to go 'ballistic'.
The tribunal in Somerset heard Michelle became pregnant in 2009. She gave birth by Caesarean after developing Symphisis Pubis Dysfunction
(SPD), a complication causing pain and mobility problems.
Employment judges awarded Michelle, of Gloucestershire, the pay-out after finding she had been subjected to sustained discrimination because of her pregnancy.
The panel ruled the timing of the email was 'extraordinary', adding: "Helen White [Mrs Stone's manager] could see from the string of emails that Ms Terblanche had emailed the claimant to ask for her views and advice on something relatively complicated two days after her caesarean section and yet she took no steps to ensure that the claimant was comfortable with this level of contact."
Michelle was then bombarded for four weeks with further emails until she was forced to stop replying when her baby developed a serious illness.
Ms Terblanche then made a formal complaint, saying: "I have known Michelle for many years and have always had a lot of respect for her. Unfortunately I don't have this view any longer."
The tribunal was also told that when Michelle notified the hospital she would be taking her full maternity leave entitlement, Ms Terblanche said it was "ridiculous for a woman to take 12 months' maternity leave."
Giving evidence, Michelle said a colleague revealed her manager had 'gone ballistic' when told she would be taking 12 months leave.
Another manager in the company had taken just two months for fear of being viewed as unprofessional by her bosses, the tribunal was told.
When Michelle brought her own grievance against the company for the way she had been treated whilst on maternity leave, it was dismissed out of hand and she was denied an appeal. She resigned.
Awarding Michelle a compensation payment of £18,000, the panel ruled that the discrimination she faced was "sustained over a long period of time, affects the claimant at a time when she is particularly vulnerable emotionally and is undermining of the claimant's ability to have confidence in her position both as a mother and as a senior manager."
They added: "There has been an abject failure to protect the claimant from the pregnancy and maternity discrimination that she suffered.
"We find that the respondent organisation is one within which a view was tolerated that it was considered unprofessional for senior managers to take more than ordinary maternity leave."
Were you bombarded with work emails on maternity leave? Did you take full maternity leave or feel under pressure from work to return sooner?
- J is for...jeans
If you buy nothing else in a maternity style, buy a pair of soft, stretchy <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/02/13/maternity-jeans-flares-skinny-bootcut-dungarees-buying-guide/" target="_blank">jeans </a>with an elasticated waist for your growing bump. Bootcut styles will balance out your bump with the rest of your body, but if you’re a skinnies girl, there are plenty of maternity versions around.</p>
<a href="http://www.mothercare.com/ " target="_blank"> Mothercare</a> is winner for denim, but also check out <a href="http://www.dorothyperkins.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CatalogNavigationSearchResultCmd?catalogId=33053&storeId=12552&langId=-1&viewAllFlag=false&sort_field=Relevance&categoryId=208668&parent_categoryId=208600&beginIndex=1&pageSize=20#catalogId=33053&storeId=12552&langId=-1&viewAllFlag=false&sort_field=Relevance&categoryId=208668&parent_categoryId=208600&beginIndex=1&pageSize=20&refinements=category~[212220|208668]&noOfRefinements=1 " target="_blank">Dorothy Perkins Maternity</a> and <a href="http://www.mamajeanius.com/ " target="_blank">Mama Jeanius</a> for extensive ranges.</p>
- P is for... perineal massage
Sorry for bringing up something so scary-sounding, but tearing during childbirth is quite common. Give yourself the best chance of getting out without needing stitches with regular perineal massages to help yourself stretch. Try this Bump and Beyond Perfect Delivery Perineal Gel, £4.99 from <a href="http://www.mothercare.com/" target="_blank">Mothercare. </a></p>
- O is for...overdue
Only five per cent of babies arrive on time, exactly on their due date, so chances are, you might well be a little late, especially if this is your first baby.</p>
If you do go past your due date, you’ll probably have an appointment at 41 weeks to see how close you are to going into labour. If nothing happens for another week, chances are you’ll be induced to get yourself going.</p>
- C is for...car seat
Hospital staff will check you have a car seat fitted and ready before you leave with your newborn, so make sure you’ve done the shopping and fitting before your due date comes around. Head to <a href="http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/categorydisplay_storeId_10001_catalogId_10151_categoryId_165586_langId_-1" target="_blank">Halfords</a> for an unbeatable range and free fitting, and gen up on what you need and when with our <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/06/25/car-seat-confusion-why-are-so-many-parents-still-risking-child/" target="_blank">no-waffle guide. </a></p>
- B is for...belly band
As your bump grows, your regular togs will start to feel a little tight around the middle. Invest in a bump band (or two or three for less washing) and pop one over the top of your trousers. They extend the life of your normal clothes if you want to put off buying maternity gear until you really have to, and keep you cosy, comfy and supported when you’re near the end of your pregnancy too.</p>
Try this pair for £8 for two from <a href="http://direct.asda.com/george/women-s-clothing/2-pack-grey-and-black-maternity-band/GEM53033,default,pd.html" target="_blank">George at ASDA.</a></p>
- T is for...teeth
During pregnancy, your body produces extra hormones that soften your gums, leaving them prone to bleeding, inflammation and other dental dramas. The good news is dental treatment and check-ups are free on the NHS during pregnancy. You just need to make sure you pick up your maternity exemption certificate from your midwife when you have your first appointment.</p>
- G is for...ginger
‘Ginger can help with morning sickess as it settles the stomach, so try sipping on fresh ginger in hot water or non-alcoholic ginger beer,’ says Wendy. ‘Nausea sometimes makes us want to eat more, so keep whole wheat crackers, oatcakes and other plain foods to hand which will ease sickness.’ Eating little and often to keep your blood sugar levels up and keeping hydrated can also help beat nausea so sip water slowly and frequently throughout the day.</p>
- U is for...underwear
Your breasts will grow during your pregnancy as they prepare for you to feed your new baby. Some mums-to-be prefer non-wired bras through their nine months as they can be more comfy for your changing shape, but pop along to <a href="http://www.marksandspencer.com/" target="_blank">M&S</a> for a free fitting before you bulk buy. It’s best to get measured regularly throughout your pregnancy, as your shape will grow and change all the time. Try <a href="http://www.mamasandpapas.com/" target="_blank">Mamas and Papas</a> and <a href="http://www.amoralia.com/shop/maternity-bras/nougatine/cat1/prod15/" target="_blank">Amoralia</a> for this gorgeous set, the Nougatine Bra, £39 and Briefs, £19.</p>
- H is for...haircare
Your normal daily hair loss can slow down in pregnancy, so you may find yourself feeling like a L’Oreal girl with all the shine and extra thickness. If you’re a hair dye fan, experts usually advise not to do it during the first trimester. Try highlights instead as the dye doesn’t touch your scalp. </p>
- N is for...no alcohol
The jury’s out on how much alcohol mums-to-be can have, but to be on the safe side, avoid it. There are loads of yummy alcohol-free juices to choose from, so next time you’re in the supermarket, head to the cool drinks aisle and try something new.</p>
- E is for...eating for two (or not!)
Sorry, ladies, this is a myth! ‘You don’t need to double your calorie intake when expecting – unfortunately!’ explains Wendy Powell, fitness and nutrition expert and founder of the <a href="http://mutusystem.com/" target="_blank">MuTu® System. </a>‘During pregnancy your calorie intake needs to increase to around 2,500 a day. But it’s quality not quantity that matters. Your baby’s nutrition is only as good as the food you eat, so remember that achieving your extra calories with a pack of crisps won’t help either of you!’ Pack in lots of fruit and veg, starchy foods and foods rich in protein like lean meat, chicken and fish.</p>
- I is for...itchy skin
As your tummy and breasts grow, your skin stretches and might start to itch and become irritated. Slathering on pregnancy-safe body lotion or having a warm bath or shower can help, and stick to loose, cotton clothes that don’t aggravate the itchiness.</p>
- K is for...keeping cool
Extra blood pumping around your body to grow your baby can up your body temperature. Keep hydrated and go for loose, cotton clothes that won’t make you sweat. A fan on your desk at work can also work wonders – ask your HR department if they can sort one out. Avoid hot baths, saunas and jacuzzis during your nine months too, as they can increase the temperature in your womb making it difficult for your baby to cool down.</p>
- S is for...stretch marks
To make room for your growing baby, your tummy stretches, and can sometimes leave paler wiggly lines on your belly and boobs. Want to try and protect against them? Our <a href="https://www.facebook.com/parentdishuk" target="_blank">Facebook </a>mums had these suggestions:</p>
‘I used <a href="http://www.elemis.com/skincare/ProductDetails.aspx?pid=40" target="_blank">Elemis Japanese Camelia Oil</a> when I was pregnant with Addison - although pricey it was a real treat and my beautician comments at my lack of stretch marks. The smell is just gorgeous and I still use it now.’<br />
Charlotte Everiss, mum to Addison.<br />
‘<a href="http://www.bio-oil.com/en/" target="_blank">Bio Oil!</a> I have two daughters and not one stretch mark anywhere!’<br />
Kelly Hurst, mum to Lydia and Thea.<br />
‘I just used <a href="http://www.nivea.co.uk/" target="_blank">Nivea body moisturiser</a> and moisturised my bump in the morning and evening. It must have done the trick as I haven’t been left with any stretch marks.’<br />
- R is for... recce
Before your little one comes along, take a stroll around your neighbourhood and hunt out cafes where you can take your baby and be welcomed with open arms. Look for breastfeeding mums amongst the coffee cups and cosy corners. Knowing you have somewhere nice to go will make heading out with your new baby a lot less stressful when the time does come.</p>
- X is for...x-rated action
Sex in pregnancy is perfectly safe, as long as your waters haven’t broken, and you might find you’re suddenly up for a bit more action during the second trimester. Feeling a bit tense or worried? Always talk to your partner about your concerns, or perhaps try a massage to wind down.</p>
- F is for...folic acid
Mums-to-be need to take a 400 mgs of <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2010/01/11/f-what-are-the-benefits-of-folic-acid/ " target="_blank">folic acid</a> tablet every day until the 12 week mark (and before when trying to conceive if it’s not too late) to help prevent the risk of spina bifida. You can also up your <a href="http://www.nhs.uk/Planners/pregnancycareplanner/Pages/vitaminsmineralsdiets.aspx" target="_blank">intake </a>naturally by munching on lots of green, leafy vegetables and brown rice.</p>
- Q is for...quality time
Bonding with your unborn baby might sound a bit odd, but it’s important to help you connect to your bump and prepare you for meeting your baby. Read up on everything that’s going on in your tummy with our <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/category/pregnancy-week-by-week" target="_blank">pregnancy week by week guide</a>, and try playing music and talking to your tummy to feel connected.</p>
- L is for...leg cramps
Carrying extra weight around can take its toll on your pins, and can result in leg and calf cramps. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and try foot exercises to stretch the muscles, which can easily be done when you’re at work, watching TV or on the bus. Simply bend your foot up and down a couple of times an hour throughout the day and just before bed. </p>
- Z is for...zzzzzzz
Extra body weight, increased body temperature and mum-to-be night time niggles can make getting your beauty sleep tricky. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/parentdishuk?ref=ts" target="_blank">Parentdish Facebook</a> fan Ruth Shirley reccomends a pregnancy pillow to wrap under your bump and through your legs to keep comfy. Try the popular DreamGenii, £45.99 from <a href="http://dreamgenii.com/" target="_blank">Dreamgenii.com:</a><br />
‘A long body pillow between my legs and up under my bump and boobs for comfort, milky drinks and lavender oil on my pillow worked for me’</p>
- D is for...decoding your buggy
Whatever you do, buy and have a play with your pram before your baby comes along. There is nothing more stressful than trying to head outside with your newborn for the <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/04/13/taking-your-newborn-baby-out/" target="_blank">first time</a> and having to faff around trying to get out the door, getting upset and teary because your state of the art four wheel drive won’t pop up properly.</p>
- V is for...varicose veins
These are dark, swollen veins that can appear on your skin (most commonly on legs) during pregnancy when your growing baby puts pressure on your body pumping around extra blood. Keeping your feet elevated and not standing still for long periods of time can help. You can also buy special maternity tights, and if they get very bad or painful, contact your midwife or GP for prescribed compression stockings.</p>
- W is for...water
If you’re expecting, you might find you feel thirsty or suffer from dehydration. ‘This is because water is needed for the development of amniotic fluid around your developing baby,’ explains Dr Derbyshire, independent advisor to the Natural Hydration Council and author of <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nutrition-Childbearing-Years-Emma-Derbyshire/dp/1444333054/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314970421&sr=8-1" target="_blank">Nutrition in the Childbearing Years. </a></p>
‘Morning sickness, can also contribute to dehydration if there is fluid loss through vomiting. As a rule of thumb mums-to-be should aim to drink around 300ml more than their normal, pre-pregnancy daily fluid intake of 6-8 glasses. <br />
‘Other drinks including tea, coffee, juice and milk can contribute to our daily hydration needs.'</p>
Watch your caffeine intake during your nine months, and limit yourself to 200mg a day, which adds up to two mugs of tea or two cups of instant coffee.</p>
- M is for...maternity leave
You need to let your employer know about your pregnancy at least 15 weeks before the start of the week your baby is due. Arrange a one-to-one with your boss and have all the information, like your due date, when you’re hoping to start your leave and any up and coming appointments for your pregnancy with you, so you’re prepared.</p>
- A is for...anxiety
Many mums-to-be feel anxious and nervous throughout their pregnancy - especially with baby number one. Talk to your midwife when you see her if you any niggling worries. You’ll see her regularly throughout your nine months, so write your worries down and take them along when you see her. Try gentle exercise to help keep you calm and take your mind of your concerns too. Swimming is an excellent way to relax and keep fit - why not ask a friend or your partner to go along with you?</p>
- Y is for...yawning
Extra body weight and an increase in hormones whizzing around your expanding bod’ can make you, quite frankly, knackered and a bit grumpy. Don’t be embarrassed about needing extra sleep, or not being up for going out and meeting friends if you don't fancy it.</p>
‘When I was pregnant I was shattered, and being the first of my friends to be expecting, they didn’t quite get it when I didn’t want to go out,’ says mum, Katie Smith. ‘I kept up with them by inviting them around for dinner or suggesting a movie night rather than trooping out and about or going to a pub.’</p>