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Feel bullied by my pregnant colleague

(459 Posts)
Thirtyflippingone Wed 25-Nov-20 23:58:28

I've name changed for this, as it's embarrassing and potentially outing.

One of my colleagues is currently pregnant, and without fail, a few times every week, she will randomly bring up the fact that I haven't had children yet. She says things like:

"Are you not pregnant yet Thirty? Tick tock"

"Do you not worry about your body clock and running out of time?"

"You don't want to leave it too late".

"You want hurry up and get pregnant, you're nearly 40!" (I am thirty fucking one, she is mid 20s).

"You want to get a move on and get pregnant already, you don't want to end up a lonely old woman".

"Don't you worry about not having anyone to look after you when you're older?"

"Are you going to apply for the promotion? You might as well if you're not planning on getting pregnant anytime soon".

I usually laugh off her comments with "one day, just not yet" or "haha, think I've got a few fertile years left yet". But the truth is that I am unable to get pregnant atm, for reasons I don't want to discuss with her, anyone at work, or on this thread. I do want kids eventually, and being reminded of my "body clock" and my body's current shitty state several times a week is stressing me out and upsetting me tbh.

I'm not sure how to handle this situation; I am a people pleaser, and hate confrontation. I am counting down the weeks until her maternity leave starts, but it's not for a while yet and I'm not sure I can go on like this. I cried in the toilet the other day after one of her remarks. I feel pathetic for saying that I feel like I'm being bullied by her, but I genuinely do feel like that.

I know I should just say something like "could you please stop asking me about my womb", but I'm not sure how to phrase it, and embarrassed to say that I'm scared I would end up crying if I did say something like that. This girl is also really nosey, so she would want to know why I was bothered about it. Ugh.

I'm thinking of talking to my manager about it, but worried she'll think I'm being ridiculous. I'm a professional woman in my thirties, why am I letting this get to me so much?!

YABU = suck it up for the next few months and keep laughing it off.

YANBU = talk to your manager about it.

OP’s posts: |
123becauseicouldntthinkofone Tue 01-Dec-20 14:03:47

Next time she comments i would just say something like 'gosh are you still banging on about that'!

Incrediblytired Sun 29-Nov-20 22:22:27

Ok so she’s well out of order.

I’m going to presume her hormones have made her blind to the fact she’s harassing you. (Benefit of the doubt).

Don’t say anything sarky or snide, if she cries at work you’ll be called into a meeting and they’ll say you’re a bad as each other.

Just go straight to your manager. They’ll ask you how you want to deal with it and you’ll agree a plan. At this point you can still plan to talk to her yourself but in the knowledge your manager will take your side. Or you can get them to deal with it.

I’ve had a baby but people constantly ask me when I’m having another and I’ve just started saying that we’ve never used contraception and only had one baby so their guess is as good as mine. We’ve been together 15 years or so, so people can read into that what they will. For some reason people are happy to ask intrusive questions about babies but still blush at the word contraception!

MyMistakeToMake Sun 29-Nov-20 22:04:34

@AhoyMeFarties I totally agree. Completely wrong.

AhoyMeFarties Sun 29-Nov-20 09:45:06

BeautifulPascal

There is another not very pleasant but very effective solution.

Ask how she feels about the unfortunate and common after effects of pregnancy and birth on ones body:

weak bladder, droopy wrinkled (post breast feeding)boobs, distended vagina, reduced ability to orgasm, exhaustion, weight gain, diabetes, post partum depression/ psychosis, cracked nipples, having a yowling infant who wakes screaming countless times a night ...........

or remind her there is no guarantee of a live birth or of a woman surviving the birth.

I am generally quietly and well spoken and bullies mistake this for my being a soft touch. A crisp cruel retort shuts them down very efficently.

What a vile thing to think let alone say to a pregnant lady
Yes, the pregnant woman is behaving appallingly but seriously you think that reminding her that her child could die is acceptable?

NeonIcedcoffee Sat 28-Nov-20 23:41:03

Wow she sounds like a right piece of work. She seems really smug about being pregnant. Why assume you even want children?

Lalliella Sat 28-Nov-20 23:33:47

Setting aside her gross insensitivity and general vileness, she’s making ageist comments which isn’t allowed in a workplace and that alone should be a disciplinary matter. Get thee to HR OP.

lunar1 Fri 27-Nov-20 14:36:09

She sounds absolutely vile, I would go to HR. Anything I tried to say would probably be unbelievably nasty in response so I'd have to leave it to someone else.

Italiangreyhound Fri 27-Nov-20 14:05:40

Any update OP?

DisorganisedPurpose Fri 27-Nov-20 03:35:55

Look you've asked me about this so many times and its getting boring now and rather irritating. Don't ask me again.

Noranorav Thu 26-Nov-20 21:08:55

If you don't feel comfortable to say something directly definitely have a word with your LM with examples. I would personally go down the calm/assertive route ie 'that's personal information and I feel uncomfortable with the comments you are making - please can you stop' as a starter for ten. Often these people actually rely on other's discomfort to get away with these comment ie because they don't expect to get called out on it. Amazing how quickly the direct approach works. If it still doesn't stop after that, then straight to LM/HR.

sneakysnoopysniper Thu 26-Nov-20 20:39:43

You say you are a people pleaser. Unfortunately the meek do not inherit the earth - only the dirt.

The problem with bullying of this sort is that the person does not KNOW they are being a bully and would probably be shocked by the accusation. Also, not knowing the ethos of your workplace, some lisence may be granted there to women who are pregnant. So the posters who have said to avoid clever dick remarks and stratagems are giving you good advice.

So I would tell her calmly, either in private or before colleagues (if she spouts out her next remark in front of workmates) that you consider her remarks inappropriate for a workplace and that you are asking her to desist. Then immediately close the conversation by physically leaving. Thats the secret to ending an akward conversation. If the advice is not followed that gives you all the moral high ground to go to HR/manager.

I can tell you that as a manager I would deal with this pretty quickly and firmly if i overheard a team member making such remarks to a workmate.

YorkshireGirl35 Thu 26-Nov-20 20:28:48

Haven’t read the thread but she’s a brainless thoughtless moron

WeatherwaxOn Thu 26-Nov-20 19:27:52

Pisses me off royally when people do this.
I got married at 27, but didn't want kids. Every few months someone or other would say something...after 10 years they stopped asking.
Now have 1 DC, some time on from that 10yr point.

It's rude and intrusive. I'd either ask her why she was so interested, or be tempted to say that some people have issues with fertility.
Case in point is a friend of a friend from a different religious background. She has had multiple miscarriages. Her first husband divorced her because she was 'no good for breeding'. With her second husband I'm aware of her having at least 4 failed pregnancies. I can't imagine how she would feel if someone was grilling her the way your colleague is you.

midsomermurderess Thu 26-Nov-20 19:16:36

I think that Goostacean has pretty much nailed it. Calm, non-confrontational and a consequence attached. Passive aggressive people hate their behaviour being exposed so she might well splutter about how she's only joking, don't be so serious. Leave her to that.

Winterwoollies Thu 26-Nov-20 18:37:36

Honestly OP, listen the the PPs saying to preempt her inevitable histrionics by talking to HR and laying the groundwork. Then tell her, or put it in writing, that she is being extremely inappropriate and you are finding it difficult. She sounds like a nightmare but protect yourself professionally and emotionally.

nancybotwinbloom Thu 26-Nov-20 18:18:53

Just tell her politely you have had enough of her comments and you want her to stop making them and to mind her own business.

Anymore comments from her tell her to bore off and tell her your looking forward to her taking maternity for as long as fucking possible.

Stupid insensitive bitch.

itsgettingcoldoutside Thu 26-Nov-20 18:17:39

Omg someone I knew was like this when I got married.
She would never shut up until I told her I couldn't have children.
That all changed though, and I did end up having my dd. However these people are just so over the top.
I would tell her to fuck off and maybe she should worry about her own body clock.

BitOfFun Thu 26-Nov-20 18:14:49

@Goostacean has the right idea. I'd keep it brief like that (rather than @NewlyGranny's suggestion, which is bang on but far too long, IMO), especially as you are so anxious about directly addressing this woman in the office. Keep it snappy, and rehearse it beforehand.

pinktophat Thu 26-Nov-20 18:12:22

That is just appalling.

I would not enter into any discussion with her about it. Just be clear and calm and say 'I don't want you to speak to me like this again. I don't want any further jokey or non-jokey comments about me. I don't like it and I want it to stop.'

Some people can be so thoughtless and horrendous.

VodselForDinner Thu 26-Nov-20 17:44:42

As a very experienced HR professional my advice is:
Tell her her comments are not appreciated or appropriate and state that you do not wish to discuss the issue with her.
Do not engage with her in a jokey manner.
Speak to your manager or HR if it continues.

As a woman in her late 30s who has chosen not to have children, my advice is to absolutely humiliate her next time she says something.
My go-to is “I’m sorry, why are you asking me about my sex life?”
Or keep asking a combination of “why” or “what do you mean” every time she says something. She’ll have to explain herself and will look like an even bigger fool.

StickTheKettleOnAlice Thu 26-Nov-20 17:43:34

Sounds to me like she unsure of her pregnancy maybe if she is so keen to quiz you op. She is pregnant in her twenties and you have waited (unbeknown to her with fertility issues) and she is jealous.

Daffodil21 Thu 26-Nov-20 17:36:38

What @NewlyGranny said is perfect.

I would absolutely lose my shit if someone said all that to me

BerylSilverstone Thu 26-Nov-20 17:36:11

She sounds quite nasty. Strange that she’s so obsessed about something which is no one’s business but your own. I wonder if in some way she is perhaps just feeling a bit nervous about impending motherhood and is looking for someone to be in the same boat? Or trying to justify her decisions to herself I.e not being alone when older etc. I’m not excusing it in any way by the way, she is being very rude and insensitive.
I’m very lucky to have 2 lovely kids but parenting can be tough! Perhaps she has been hearing some of the realities, no sleep etc etc ( people often seem eager to give you that dose of reality when you’re pregnant!)
I personally would tell her you’re tired of her asking these inappropriate questions and that if she doesn’t stop you’ll speak to your manager.

lemonsquashie Thu 26-Nov-20 17:16:50

Insensitive thoughtless person 😡

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Thu 26-Nov-20 16:53:50

nitsandwormsdodger

This is a pedantic point but you aren't being bullied or harassed until you have asked her to stop and she hasn't
How you choose to do that depends on his cunty she is being
But you do need to stop her . how come the other ladies haven't sud anything ? I would not listen to this being said in my earshot with lout a word

SERIOUSLY @nitsandwormsdodger? I was bullied from the age of 10 until I left senior school at 16 to go to sixth form college. Up until today, only one person has made me feel as if the bullying was my fault, and that was my mum.

But congratulations - with that truly appalling, victim-blaming statement, you have become the second person to tell me I was responsible for what happened to me - and by extension, all the psychological effects from it (depression, anxiety, low self esteem) that have blighted my life.

Or maybe, just maybe, the victim of the bullying is too afraid to say stop. Or they know that the bullies won’t stop if they are asked.

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