FICTION: Shameless Shewa – fired because she’s pregnant

I saw myself punching Anwuli’s face as I typed my answer – hitting the keyboard with hard, fast blows – as fast as 100 words per second! That was how badly I wanted to punch her in the face.

I felt overwhelmed and wanted to bring out the injustice and anger I felt in my response. I copied everyone’s copy-able to the founder of the organization to the gateman (apologies… no one at the door).

But just as I was about to send the email, I freaked out and deleted everything!

My answer would lead to my summary dismissal! I still cared. Second, I still need to get my monthly salary.

I typed another long epistle. And I deleted it again! I spent the rest of the day, sitting in my chair, typing and deleting, rephrasing and rephrasing until 5 p.m.

When I got home, Grandma and Aunt Iwa were lying on the couch. Sheri and Charles just announced their engagement. Adeiwa was in the dining room, helping the five children with their homework, while Sheri’s sister-in-law cooked dinner for the family.

I fell on my bed, cried and slept.

I was four months pregnant and the morning sickness that was starting to go away all came back the next morning. I couldn’t lift my leg or hand, so I called in sick.

“This is not acceptable, Shewa. You have a question to answer. Don’t use illness as an excuse,” Naffy replied over the phone.

Sheri who was listening to our conversation snapped, “What?!!! What kind of organization is this???…give me the phone, let me talk to her, she asked…looking more shocked than angry.

“Please take it easy, I don’t want to mess things up…” I begged Sheri.

“No way…I can’t allow you to go into this office,” she insisted. “Do you know that you can sue them for violating your right to see a doctor? What if you collapse along the way?

She took the phone from me and barked into the handset. “She’s sick… She’s sick….”

“I’m her sister, and I’m telling you, she can’t be in the office today. She is sick.”

Sheri refused to simmer, so I hung on to the bathroom, got dressed, got my ginger tea, and dragged myself out of the house, against Sheri’s warning.

As I was about to enter the office, I passed out at the entrance. That’s all I could remember. The moment I opened my eyes, I was on a hospital bed and a doctor dressed in white was standing over me.

Sheri was by my side giving me the ‘I told you’ watch.

“How did I get here?”

“……Your crazy boss is in the lobby…she’s the one who brought you here. Ask him….”

The doctor told me that I had threatened to have an abortion and that I had to be confined to compulsory bed rest.

“Threat of abortion? Isn’t that a threat of miscarriage? »

“Yes.”

“What are the causes?”

“Stress,” says the doctor, no more, no less. The expression in his eyes showed no desire to explain further. “I’ll send the nurse to get your medicine,” he said and left.

And then Naffy and Mariam, Ruth’s secretary came in. Naffy leaned against the wall, while Mariam sat on the chair. Sheri sat down at the foot of my bed.

“Please take it now. It’s for the well-being of the baby,” said a nurse who came in a sky blue uniform.

Naffy’s eyes met mine. I tried to look away, but she held my gaze for a moment, then looked at her colleague.

“Baby?” she whispered.

I quickly motioned to the nurse, with my eyes, not to reveal more. But the loudmouthed nurse didn’t understand, she continued instead; “You should thank God you didn’t lose your baby…at this point the baby’s most important organs are forming…you really need to rest.”

I kept coughing to distract the nurse. Sheri even searched the room pretending to fetch water, all in an attempt to stop the nurse from spilling the milk…but it seemed too late. Naffy seemed to have understood my secret.

”Are you expecting a baby?’ Naffy asked when the nurse left.

‘Not really…”

“So what baby was she talking about?”

“We were watching a soap opera about a woman who nearly had a miscarriage because her employer threatened to fire her,” Sheri lied.

“Oh…I see, why would she fire her. Hadn’t they made a deal before she signed the contract? Nafy replied

I was dying of nervousness. My heart rate tripled and I sweated profusely. Her eyes told me what her reaction would be if she found out. I thought I had to open up to her once and for all. I’m tired of living a lie.

At 1 p.m. sharp. Naffy and Mariam left.

************************************************** ************************

At the end of my bed rest, I went back to work; and for the first time in four months, I felt energized. I could run into the mountains and move them. All the mood swings that accompanied the first trimester were gone.

Anwuli and Stanley were busy chatting when I entered the office. But only Stanley answered my greeting. A few minutes after I sat behind my desk, I noticed that my computer was no longer working. I had thought it was because of the tea that had poured into it the day Anwuli snatched the teacup from me.

Then the HR manager called me into the boardroom. It was already a bad omen!

Anwuli and Cordelia, looking like a jury, sat down on the other side of the chairs arranged around the huge mahogany table, And Naffy began:

“Weren’t you asked the day you were employed that you weren’t allowed to get pregnant in the first two years.”

My heart was beating so hard. Hard!

“Yes”, I tried to gather my courage. I couldn’t deny anything anymore. Whatever happens should happen!

”So what is it?” She took out a paper and put it on the table. I grabbed it with shaking hands.

My eyes were blurred and blinded with tears, I couldn’t see or read the letters. The tears fell on the ink and the blue ink washed off some parts. But I could partly read the handwriting

Threatened abortion, first trimester: Hospitalized for compulsory bed rest.

“So you’ve been pregnant all along, and you haven’t revealed it?” Cordelia said.

I gave no answer.

“Why didn’t you reveal anything,” she asked again.

“I was going.”

“Go to?” Naffy asked “When?” After giving birth? It’s very inappropriate. Haven’t you been warned not to get pregnant, for at least the first two years? »

‘Have you told us, we would have made a special arrangement for you, but that amounts to deception, dishonesty, misrepresentation and offering misleading information,’ Cordelia listed.

Absolutely! Naffy approved.

“We’re supposed to summarily fire you, but out of compassion, we’ll ask you to resign, so as not to tarnish your record.”

“I’m sorry, but this has in no way affected my ability to achieve my key goals.”

“It’s not a question of competence. It’s because of your dishonesty,” Naffy enthused.

I fixed my gaze on Cordelia and heard nothing but hypocrisy in her voice. The same HR manager Cordelia, who did nothing to defuse the conflict between Anwuli and me, even after I repeatedly pointed out her attitude; the same Cordelia now talking about being compassionate, tarnishing my record?

Okay, I haven’t told the whole truth about my status, but what kind of women’s rights organization won’t protect a pregnant woman’s right. Does pregnancy turn off a woman’s brain?

I had 48 hours to send in my resignation letter. I didn’t get a chance to be suspended or write a letter of apology, but a dismissal. Isn’t that using a cutlass to kill a mosquito? What about tempering justice with mercy? Where are the altruistic values ​​of feminism or the defense of women’s rights? I thought what Tunbi did was painful. But it hurts more because it is an organization that presents itself as defenders of women’s human rights. This seems to me to be a parody of human rights, a caricature of justice.

I wanted to be a feminist, but not that kind!

Naffy and Cordelia logged my file. Meeting over.

Now I knew why my computer stopped working. I had been judged! I packed my bags and left with a strange mixture of grief and relief at the same time.

Sheri’s head was spinning when I told her the news. She said she would take the matter to court.

I sent a letter of apology, but I received a termination letter that said “:

You are hereby discharged without notice for serious misconduct – deception, offering misleading information, similar to perjury, a crime punishable under Article….

Sheri put on her legal cape, ranting all kinds of legalese, punching holes in their action… “It’s illegal!” It is illegal for them to obtain your doctor’s report without your consent. We’re going to file a complaint…” she fumed…

“Plaintiff vs. Accused Injury Claims

Case 1: Obtaining the medical file without the employee’s consent

Case 2: Denial of employees’ right to seek emergency medical care

Case 3: Manslaughter, Discrimination

Case 4: Non-disclosure of actual organizational policies…etc.

It was illegal for them to have insisted that you come to the office when you were not in good physical condition. They made your illness worse by preventing you from seeing a doctor when you needed it most. They haven’t even paid your medical bills! This is unacceptable, women have the right to work even when they are pregnant. This is a misnomer for a so-called equal opportunity advocate/employer. »

Those words brought me back to hope….the mood swings disappeared. And I thought justice was not too far away!

(To be continued)

You can read the latest edition HERE


Shameless Shewais a story by Shewa and Sheri. Both are single mothers who live in a society that judges them. As Sheri continues to search where and what to hide behind, Shewa decides to stop hiding or withering under the condescending gaze of society. She was ready to stop shedding tears, but to shed the scales of self-judgment and begin a journey of self-realization. Going against societal norms, will she change the norms or will the norms change her?


Abiose A. Adams, journalist, creative writer and senior program manager at the Cable Newspaper Journalism Foundation, can be reached at [email protected]

Author Disclaimer: This story is purely a work of fiction. Any coincidence of the characters with real people is strongly regretted.

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