Working While Pregnant

Oral Histories

Dianne Williams

Dianne Williams talks about the special work area for pregnant woman at her post office.

Dianne Williams: We had what you call a patch and seal area in Indiana. And that was where the women would go that was pregnant, when they got to the point where they couldn’t do their duties. Then that’s where they would go and they would patch and seal repair mail, I mean damaged mail, or packages that had gotten damaged in the equipment. I t was like a sit down job where you have a room full of people that are sitting down and just doing repair work on letters or packages. And yes, I did have some experience in that particular area, because I had two pregnancies in the post office. When I went in I only had one child and I had my other 2 children during the time I was in the post office.

Jane Broendel

Jane Broendel talks about the challenges of working as a letter carrier while pregnant.

Jane Broendel: You know the only amusing, there are lots of amusing things, the only amusing gender thing I can think of. Well I had my daughter 6 months before I started there and 6 years later I had my son and I got really big with him. He was due May 31 and I worked until May 30 which was a mistake. And so I was a floater at that time, now I have my own route, when you first start, you’re a part time flaps, which means you go wherever they need you, so you never get used to any one thing. And that’s kind of bad in that you’re new, so you’re already confused and then you’re never on the same thing, so you never have any continuity which makes you feel kind of stupid like the first couple of weeks I was there, I’d go home and I’d be almost in tears and I’d tell my husband, they’re going to fire me I know they’re not going to keep me, but they did. But with my son, I started getting an hour’s help every day. So I was giving away, kind of then part of my route because I was too big. I couldn’t walk that fast. And there was a hilly route in Davenport that I floated on, it was above the river, it’s called McClellen Heights, it’s kinda across from the Rock Island Arsenal, where they held Confederate prisoners during the war, and it’s on a bluff where the Mississippi river goes through between Illinois and Iowa. And there’s this one place where I would deliver, I would go up this alley, go in their back gate, deliver their mail, and then I could either walk like 15 feet to this ledge, that was about this high, or I used to be able to put my foot on the ledge, you know ‘cause I was young remember, and that was a back door delivery, because their back door for delivery for the next house was right there and then “bam” you had three more houses to go and you were back to the jeep. But when I got pregnant with Reed, and then towards the end, there was no way I could do that. So my choice was either go back out, down the alley, clear around the hill, or, what I did, because the ledge was maybe about this high, maybe slightly lower, was put my bag up on the ledge, put my rear end up on the ledge, swung my legs over, and got back up. Because it was not worth all that walking. So yeah, I fell a few times when I was pregnant with him and fell in the mud and stuff. So that’s only really the kind of gender thing that I had to go through that of course a guy wouldn't have to.

Michele Ditchey

Michele Ditchey remembers going to work and delivering her daughter the same day.

Michele Ditchey: I carried mail till the day I delivered my daughter. We have what is called overtime lists. And the overtime lists you sign up and get off at the end of, well you can get off at any time.