Woman told to ‘look less pregnant’ at work to avoid upsetting her coworker

Getting ready to welcome a baby is a joyful time for many people. But one mom-to-be, put into a difficult situation by her workplace, turned to Reddit for help. On the site’s popular “AITA” forum, she asked who was in the wrong after a coworker requested that she “look less pregnant” at work — but of course, there’s more to the story than that.

The mom-to-be (OP) explained that she worked in an office where several people got pregnant at the same time.

“I am freshly in my third trimester and showing very obviously,” she wrote. “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.”

OP wrote that the coworker who miscarried took some time off from work, but is set to return soon. Ahead of her return, she’s excited to see her friend, who she “adores,” but she wrote that she “felt strange about her seeing me pregnant while she’s not.”

To make matters worse, “My two friends both advised me that when she comes back, I should cover up and look ‘less pregnant’ from now on,” she wrote.

OP said she lives somewhere “well over 85-90 degrees on a daily,” so “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.”

She continued, “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. 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.”

So OP wants to know: Is she being inconsiderate if she lets her coworker see her, obviously pregnant, at work?

The comments were quick to rule that OP is not required to hide her pregnancy from her friend.

“Looking pregnant or not will not change the circumstances you are in,” the top comment says. “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. 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.”

Another highly voted comment says the only jerks are the people asking OP to hide her pregnancy — who are, notably, not her coworker who lost the baby.

“Has SHE asked this of you, or is this a bunch of others speaking for her when it ain’t their business?” it reads. “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. Be sensitive, for sure: try to avoid discussing your pregnancy around her maybe, give her space, but treat her professionally and kindly, sure.”

We have to agree. While the situation is heartbreaking for OP’s coworker — and OP should approach her with kindness and tact — asking someone to hide their pregnancy is unreasonable.