We don’t talk about infertility in the PR industry but we must – PR Week

But the tide could finally be starting to turn, as a number of agencies have recently published their enhanced or new policies around pregnancy loss and fertility.

Its a move that will go over most peoples heads, but for the one in seven couples who have difficulty conceiving many in secret it will be welcome news.

My husband and I were one of those couples, as it took five (very long) years to have our baby; five years, three IUIs (intrauterine insemination), three rounds of IVF and surgeries, plus countless appointments, procedures, scans, injections and hormones.

All while working in a high-octane, fast-paced industry where I was expected to be cool, calm and collected for my clients and team while delivering award-winning work, with a smile on my face.

To be honest, I lost my mind a bit.

Trying to spin all those plates and pretend like nothing was happening, while going through an immense amount of emotional turmoil, started to become impossible.

So I broke the self-enforced rules and spoke out, laid my cards on the table and, thankfully, it all became much more manageable with the support and flex that I needed eventually dropping down to four-day weeks on a temporary basis and working around procedures.

I only felt comfortable enough to have those conversations because I had worked in the same place for many years and could have an open and frank discussion with my bosses. Had that not been the case, I wouldnt have been as brave and would have probably just ended up leaving.

How many agencies are losing good people because they are too scared to ask for support? Because they dont want to be seen as not taking the work seriously, or are worried that they might be passed up for opportunities, or even sacked?

But the best employers, who get the best out of their staff, understand that work is just one part of their lives.

Thats why it is so positive to see agencies start to make their policies publicly available so that people going through similar struggles dont feel like they are asking the impossible or the never-before-asked.

And while writing this article feels like the professional and emotional equivalent of stripping off naked at the PRWeek Awards, I wanted to do my bit to encourage more openness so that others who are struggling feel more empowered to speak out, and so employers in the PR industry are more aware of the positive impact they can have on their employees' journey to parenthood.

Nicola Burton is an associate director at Hope&Glory and is currently on maternity leave

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We don't talk about infertility in the PR industry but we must - PR Week

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