Nairobi News


Work won’t allow me have another child

November 25th, 2013 2 min read

Dear Michael,

I am a single mother of two wonderful children and I am fortunate that I can provide well for them through the job that I have.

Recently, I have been nursing the strong desire to get another child as I am getting along in years.

I get terribly ill and unproductive at work during my pregnancies. Is it ethical to deliberately get pregnant when I know that I can barely function in the office for nine months?

Then I have to take another four months off for maternity?

My organisation is very supportive but my department is extremely busy and there is no chance of changing departments or getting a sabbatical. Please help.

Broody Single Mother
Dear Broody Single Mother,

You are the only provider for you and your two children. Are you ready to jeopardise that in light of previous experiences you have described?

What made it possible for you to go through with the previous difficult pregnancies? Are these factors better or worse?

Your strong desire for a child seems justified. It is reasonable, and arguably best, to have a child sooner rather than later when considering age. And as already mentioned, you are an able provider.

You ask about the ethical nature of getting pregnant knowing its possible effect on your productivity at work. Is there an ethical issue at all? Does an employer have a place in your personal decision to have or not to have a child?

Not in the decision, but based on your decision, the employer can in turn make decisions of his own, which could be unfavourable to you and your children.

However, remember that organisations are generally aware of the possibility of female employees getting pregnant.

That’s why your organisation provides the four months maternity leave. Your contributions might be minimal in the first four months of pregnancy and during the four months of maternity leave.

But it could increase slightly for some months after the first four months of pregnancy.

To maximise your contribution during this time, find out your areas of most significant contribution to the department and see whether you would be able to contribute value in those ways to a greater degree.

Organisations provide for leave days: sick leave, maternity and elective leave days. After these are exhausted within the year, you will not be paid for time away from work.


Though organisations may be lenient and understanding, it is within their prerogative to dismiss you based on the contract, irrespective of your difficulties.

If your employer graciously bears your presumed difficult nine-month pregnancy, you should feel no remorse in gladly taking the four months of maternity leave, especially in your child’s interest, if the organisation states that you are entitled to it.

There is more to your decision than ethics related to the work place. You have two children, you sound like you are in good health, and the reality of life as we know it, is that there is no permanence in life apart from God.

May you make a wise decision.

Do you have a pressing personal problem? Seek advice from Michael Oyler at [email protected]