The pregnant woman wants to be sensitive to her co-worker's loss, but still be able to be comfortable as she works
A pregnant woman has been put in a difficult situation by her co-workers and turned to Reddit for some guidance.
Posting on Reddit's AmITheA------ subreddit, the pregnant woman explained she worked in an office where several women got pregnant at the same time.
"We have clinicals set for every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday with the clinic being closed on weekends. I am freshly in my third trimester and showing very obviously," she began. "There were three other pregnant women working at the clinic, one gone for maternity leave, one due next month, and one who was two days shy of my due date. Unfortunately, at about 23 or so weeks, one of the women (who is very sweet and a deserving mother) miscarried with her first."
The original poster (OP) noted that the woman who miscarried was the one who was due just before her. After her pregnancy loss, she took some time away from the office but was set to return "later this month."
OP explained she was excited to see her co-worker, who she "adores" but "felt strange about her seeing me pregnant while she's not."
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
"My two friends both advised me that when she comes back, I should cover up and look 'less pregnant' from now on," she said.
Noting that they live somewhere that it's currently "well over 85-90 degrees on a daily," OP said, "It’s difficult to wear a sweatshirt or hoodie that could fully cover my pregnant stomach, and pregnant women tend to overheat faster and easier than others."
OP pointed out to her co-workers that she wasn't the only pregnant woman in the office, but they countered that the other women didn't have due dates that were so close to the bereaved mom's own.
"Don’t get me wrong — I don’t want to show off my pregnancy or anything, and if I could, I would try to cover more, but I told them I didn’t want to make myself uncomfortable," she explained. "One friend even suggested that I change my entire schedule so I’m there on days she doesn’t work so I don’t upset her."
Aside from feeling that's an unreasonable ask, OP noted that a schedule change "wouldn’t give me adequate hours for my program and would inconvenience me since I specifically have this schedule set up for carpooling."
"I was told that I’m being inconsiderate and met with a lot of judgment when I told them that I can’t and won’t do that," OP revealed. "I was even told that I’m too stubborn. I have spoken of a few people, some being on my side and others agreeing I’m inconsiderate. I’m now starting to second guess myself and feel like I should just listen to them."
The majority of commenters assured OP that she wasn't being selfish or inconsiderate, with one commenter noting it was wrong for her coworkers to "basically [be] shaming you for still being pregnant."
"Has SHE asked this of you, or is this a bunch of others speaking for her when it ain’t their business?" one commenter asked. "She has gone through a devastating loss, and she has every right to be fragile right now. Especially with the shared due date: that sucks. But pregnant women exist, and gently, she cannot expect them all to hide like they should be ashamed because of her tragedy."
The commenter said OP should take care to "be sensitive" and "try to avoid discussing your pregnancy around her, maybe, give her space, but treat her professionally and kindly, sure."
Still, they noted, "I was 8-9 months pregnant in the middle of summer in constant 90-degree heat with a 10lb baby and excessive amniotic fluid. The world was lucky I wasn’t walking around in the nude on the VERY rare occasion I had to venture out of my AC. Asking you to wear extra layers and heavier clothes to cover your pregnancy is not feasible!"
Another commenter noted, "Looking pregnant or not will not change the circumstances you are in."
"It’s going to be emotionally challenging for you two to see each other again. However, one thing I have heard friends say who have had a pregnancy loss is that ignoring it is harder than acknowledging it. They are grieving and the best thing you can do is be there for her and acknowledge her loss and pain in a sensitive and supportive way," they continued.
"Pretending your belly doesn’t exist is almost offensive (although good-intentioned). Be the best friend/coworker you can be for her. Maybe even reach out before she returns to make it a bit less awkward."
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.