Companies clueless on need for bereavement time

Dear Annie

Dear Annie: My daughter was 14 weeks pregnant when the baby died. The nurse midwives, who were wonderful, sent her home to have the miscarriage and told her it could take up to two weeks to “be complete.”

I was surprised and extremely saddened by how she was treated by her supervisor at work. She is a professional engineer, and when she called her supervisor to explain why she would not be coming into work, she was told she could have three sick days, but after that, she would need to take vacation time. REALLY? And this was another woman.

After my daughter and I discussed the situation, she applied, and was approved, for benefits from the Family and Medical Leave Act, but the mental damage had been done. To all of us, this was a child. My daughter had known she was pregnant for more than three months, and, as a mother, was devastated when her baby died.

As the grandmother, I also called my office to explain the situation — that I would be staying with my daughter, and I was told by my supervisor that she would put me down for vacation/sick time, and, if need be, for me to call back and she would change it to bereavement. Again, REALLY? When I called back several days later to say the baby had come and we were planning a funeral and burial, my time off was changed. But again, why did it take two phone calls and a second extended explanation?

What is wrong with people? Shouldn’t we both just have been told how sorry they were and what, if any, paperwork would need to be filled out? How can the death of a baby be a vacation? — Surprised and Saddened Grandmother

Dear Grandmother: I am so sorry for the loss of your grandchild. I can feel how much you and your daughter loved this baby. You are 100 percent correct that her employer and your supervisor should have been much more sensitive to both of you. Try not to allow their insensitivities to further your pain. Clearly they have not experienced such a loss and don’t know the depths of your sorrow.

Now is the time for you and your daughter to surround yourselves with warrior women — women who have experienced a similar loss and know what it feels like to live in a world where you lost a baby or a grandchild. This child would want you both to feel loved and comforted. Heal for the baby.

There are readers who are reading this letter with tears in their eyes, sharing your grief. Go and hug your own daughter a little tighter today. Tell her that she, too, is strong and will survive this terrible loss.

Dear Annie: This is in response to “Educated by Others.” I’m a retired teacher with 31 years of being in a wonderful profession. I used to tell my classes at the start of each school year that when you talk, you teach. When you listen, you learn. Just another view. — Always a Teacher

Dear Teacher: Thank you for your insightful tip for not only students but also those of us who are students of life.


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