Sunday 17 November 2019

‘In 2019, no one should suffer the shock of a miscarriage then have to struggle into work after a day off sick’

Brave face: Lisa Finnegan hid the trauma of two miscarriages from her colleagues and manager but found real support when she was able to talk about it at work
Brave face: Lisa Finnegan hid the trauma of two miscarriages from her colleagues and manager but found real support when she was able to talk about it at work
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

HR executive Lisa Finnegan endured the sadness of two miscarriages in silence, not daring to tell her colleagues or manager about her pain and loss.

She said: "It felt like it was a failure on my part. I was embarrassed about it."

At the time Ms Finnegan (38) from Dublin was in her early 30s and had undergone two rounds of IVF fertility treatment in the hope of starting a family.

"I was with another employer at that stage," said the senior human resources director at LinkedIn. "At 31 I started IVF, with every expectation I would be one of the many mothers to bring a child into the world with this little extra help.

"When I had the first miscarriage I had to call in sick. It's a horrible thing to do and you turn up with a smile on your face when you are devastated."

After her first round of IVF she waited a year and tried again but after the euphoria of getting pregnant it also ended in miscarriage.

Then she became pregnant naturally and the "flood of hope was incredible".

However, she suffered a third miscarriage. This time she opened up about what she was going through.

"This wasn't a conversation either of us enjoyed. I struggled to explain myself as my manager tried to understand and find the right words to say. But despite the challenge, they were very sympathetic, and we agreed that I should take some time out of work to re-group. I felt a weight lift from my shoulders.

"As a human resources professional, it was an eye-opening experience."

After joining LinkedIn three years ago Lisa and her husband Patrick decided to try IVF again. She shared what she was doing and received very good support.

The IVF did not result in a pregnancy: "But because I had been able to talk about what I was going through, the stress at work was gone."

She urges employers to create an environment where women in similar situations can open up.

"We have to talk about IVF at work. Trying for a baby will be the most significant thing in your life when you're in the middle of it," she said. "In 2019 no one, ever, anywhere, should have a miscarriage and struggle into work after a day 'off sick'."

Irish Independent

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