This is a hard blog to post simply because it still feels quite raw and real. I was fired at five and a half months into my pregnancy from my job as a teacher. Pregnancy is already a difficult time where you have your emotions completely spiraled out of control. Adding any uncertainty to the mix is definitely not a good combination. Since my job was a permanent position in that I had a full-time permanent contract in the school, I felt quite secure and confident and me and my husband were thrilled that we were able to purchase our first house through a mortgage through our jobs. As the coronavirus hit us in Spain pretty hard, the school decided it was best to kick me out.
Let me go back and explain exactly how we got from having a permanent position in a top leading school in Spain to being landed with zero income and zero financial security more than half way through my pregnancy. After all I wasn’t a lazy worker by any means, I felt that I worked harder than most teachers since I was by far the youngest and I constantly felt that I needed to prove my dedication through my lack of teaching years. I was also more qualified than any other teacher in the department despite being younger by at least seven years to most teachers so naturally I felt so heartbroken and confused.
I still remember the day the head principal came up to me and said she wanted to speak to me before I went home for the day. We had been teaching online from 9 – 5 everyday since the start of confinement (March – June) since we were a private school and parents were paying enormous tuition fees (I was also given extra hours compared to the other teachers although I didn’t mind!). We had been told to come into the school in the last two weeks of June to “set up measures for the next year”. This meant organising all classrooms, planning smaller groups per class for new governmental rules in classrooms, packing the childrens bags and books that they had left amid the panic of being sent home abruptly in March to confine.
I had informed my principal that I was pregnant after two months and she was very supportive and seemed to ask all of the right questions. Four months after teaching online 9-5 (and some extra hours in the evenings) and coming into the school for two weeks despite not feeling comfortable since I had been locked in my apartment for almost four months and suddenly with many teachers in a small space at five at a half months pregnant. My principal definitely was never the understanding type and I knew she wouldn’t be interested in my concerns so I took my mask and hand sanitiser and off I went. Automatically she gave me tasks that should not have been assigned to any pregnant lady (moving tables, carrying books etc.) whereas other teachers would be sat drinking coffee or having a cigarette outside. I was always given tasks and told to do my job. As always, I smiled and got on with it.
Fast forward to what was my last day, the principal asked me to go to her office when I “had a second to talk”. Off I went to her office and she asked me to take a seat to talk about “what would happen in the next school year”. Naturally I thought it would be about my maternity leave or which groups I would have on what days since we were halving the class sizes. What came out of her mouth next sent a chill to my spine and all I remember was feeling numb in my face and a sudden kick in my stomach. I felt my heart drop. So casually the principal informed me that she “wasn’t planning to hire me for the next school year due to my circumstance”. Yes. That’s right. You heard that correct. I’m pregnant and I am at a greater risk of catching this virus yet you happily allowed me to work from 9 – 5 for four months and get me here to move your furniture for two weeks knowing you were going to kick me out. I didn’t want to hear anymore. I was completely and utterly heartbroken. I didn’t know how I was going to tell my husband when I got home. How was I going to tell my colleagues that I won’t be coming back in September. I felt like I had let down my unborn son. I felt like a failure. I felt like this was unfair and I didn’t deserve what was happening to me.
I told one teacher that I trusted and the next day I didn’t go back to work without a word to anybody. I still don’t know if I regret that decision or not. At the time it was raw and I was hurt. I still am. Those other teachers always treated me like crap since I was so much younger and they felt like I would do their dirty work. I felt humiliated that I was kicked out just like that because I was a “risk”.
I told my husband and I cried and he held me for a few hours. We had just lost our dream home after months of searching. We had been confined for all of those months and that house seemed like our way out. Life suddenly seemed bleak. The sun didn’t seem to shine the same way after that. I forgot how to laugh and I lost my interest in almost everything that I loved. I felt like a failure as a Mother before my son was even born.
My husband was my rock. My husband is my rock. Let me tell you that they can send you an army of hate or a wave of destruction and with the arm of your husband you can stand undefeated. I love my husband more than anything in this world and the fact he is still proud of me to this day and picks me up throughout all of my troubles makes our love that much stronger. I want you to know that if you have a similar experience, lean on your loved one, you need them more than ever in that moment. And your baby? He will love you unconditionally because you are his Mother and nothing can change that. No money or financial security will change his love for you when he looks into your eyes for the first time.
It was nothing more than a business decision. It was a dirty, cheap decision. But it was still a decision based on financial gain and losses. Unfortunately you didn’t seem that appealing anymore to the business but that’s OK. You will be valuable for something else and until that moment comes, enjoy your pregnancy. Hold your husband a little longer and take the time to find what you love and what you want to be.
Note: Since firing me, the school did not enclose on the legal papers that it was due to my pregnancy. Legally I don’t think they would be able to use this as a grounds to fire me.