Yep, I’m Pregnant again. It’s not exactly the timing I would have wished for (I swear I only managed about two months of guilt free drinking in there…) but fantastic news all the same.
Unfortunately, this also means the start of Operation ‘hide the bump’. In my industry being pregnant is not advised if you would like to keep being booked. I imagine ladies who work in a ‘normal’ job (visions of an airy, modern, open plan office, with a fully stocked kitchen and lots of health benefits as part of a monthly pay packet, spring to mind) get to swan about showing off their growing tummies with pride – women who are safe in the knowledge that their expanding mid-section will in no way impact on their ability to do their jobs.
A big part of my income results from work that relies on my looks. It’s a fact! When I was four months pregnant with my little girl I landed a lead role in a big commercial. The role was that of an aerobics instructor. When I turned up for my costume fitting I was handed a sports bra and shorts. Suddenly I was forced to become the difficult/diva actress who demanded a leotard. One look at my soft tummy and the jig would have been up, and I would have been out of a very lucrative job.
Many dancers, models and actress’ work in Promotions between gigs. (If you’ve ever been to a swanky party or event, the girls in smart black dresses swanning about looking helpful yet somewhat pointless are called Hostesses. It’s boring but good money and has often paid my mortgage!) Once I start to show, those jobs dry up faster than a cold glass of wine in front of a non pregnant Casey. I have openly been told that I wouldn’t be booked as; ‘they would feel bad keeping me on my feet all day’ or, ‘the client is only providing dresses up to a size 10’!! Even more upsetting is when I feel that I have to hide my pregnancy on Makeup jobs. During my first pregnancy, I worked a lot for a very popular online clothing site on a regular freelance basis. I had an inkling that my fat little tummy would be an issue, so I was able to perform my concealing magic for nearly 6 months without detection.. Unfortunately one summer day the makeup room was boiling hot and the five hair dryers blasting away behind me weren’t helping the situation, so the top had to come off and my vest and secret were out. I have never worked for them again.
It’s not just me though…
Over nine thousand pregnancy discrimination claims have been brought against UK employers between 2007 and Nov 2013.
A report highlighted that half of all pregnant women in Great Britain experienced some form of disadvantage at work with 30,000 women saying they had been forced out of their jobs.
The EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) are currently putting together a report detailing experiences of mothers being pregnant and returning from work. Research was completed in March 2015 and I look forward to reading the results once they’re published. I guess there are more skilled stomach screeners than I first thought. What a bloody horrible shame…
Between September 2014 and March 2015, IFF Research contacted both employers and mothers, inviting them to take part in a short telephone interview to tell them about their experiences of employing women of child bearing age and mothers’ experiences of being pregnant and returning from maternity leave. Currently this report hasn’t been published but again I look forward to the outcome of this research as well.