Written by Charlotte Garbutt
Those two tiny lines appearing on a pregnancy test are enough to be life-changing for anyone. But for a newbie living in Sweden, being pregnant will bring along even more questions than normal. Here, I share my experiences of both finding work and working whilst pregnant in Sweden.
Having moved to Sweden towards the end of summer 2018, my husband and I had started to settle ourselves in and fall in love with our new lives. We finally felt ready to start the family we had been dreaming of for so long.
Everything at once
Of course, there is never a perfect time to become pregnant. Our bodies and our lives don’t often follow the same plans we had set out for them. Sometimes nothing happens at all for a long time. At other times it all happens at once. For me, it was the latter.
In January 2019 my place of work announced its forthcoming closure. However, I found myself in a very lucky position. After some interviews, I was offered two jobs and accepted the one I had really been hoping for. A position in fritids at a brand-new school coming to my town in July that year. I would be part of a small team who got to create and deliver the best fritids that we could, all from scratch.
Two weeks after accepting the job, those two tiny lines appeared on a pregnancy test. I was thrilled, excited, emotional and all of a sudden a little nervous about how my new employers will react to the news. For more information on pregnancy in Sweden click here and here.
I decided to leave things for a while until I had a healthy baby confirmed by ultrasound, as well as a due date. At around sixteen weeks into the pregnancy, I was a coward and emailed my news to the headteacher rather than meet face to face.
Pregnancy positive Sweden
After all of the worrying my news was greeted with nothing other than congratulations and kind words. Sure, there have been some surprised reactions in the last few weeks, but starting a new job at seven months pregnant is a pretty big deal. Even more so when you add in speaking another language and learning about a new work culture.
However, that’s not where the surprises end. Not only have I been able to start work creating our new fritids, I have also been asked to cover different responsibilities and act as Head of Department! It is such a wonderful feeling being appreciated for my work and for my pregnancy to not be an obstacle. It makes me wonder, why don’t we hear stories like this more often?
Is my experience unusual?
With just over a month until my estimated date, I’ll be preparing to hand over to my colleagues and get ready for the baby. As well as feeling incredibly grateful for the work culture here in Sweden, fika included in that of course. I would love to hear about other peoples experiences of work and pregnancy and hope they are as positive as mine!
About the author
I am a foodie and feminist with a strong sense of adventure. I moved, with my husband and little black dog, to Skellefteå, Sweden from England in August 2018. I have since been eager to explore and learn more about the Swedish culture and language.