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My pregnant partner has is currently in her 7th month of pregnancy and due in 10 weeks in the US. In short, she got much more work responsibilities in the last few weeks at her company, exceeding 70h/week with one or zero day off per week, 3-4 weeks in a row. I am the future father and wondering what I can do to support her.

In more details, she is perfectly healthy and good at what she does for work. Due to bad management/planning at her company, she ended up during the last few weeks with the responsibility to carry out a project with hard deadlines (federal regulatory deadlines that cannot budge). Her team below her lacks experience and she has to spend even more time than usual to teach them or fix their output. Her n+1 and n+2 are seemingly worried because that project was recently scrutinized by regulators, and they are consequently expecting more rigor and more work than for typical projects. They are not supporting her in practical ways and the atypical scrutiny related to that specific project adds pressure on everyone.

She otherwise likes her work and has a tendency towards perfectionism, which likely does not help here. She hates her firm and her boss for being put in this situation. She does not see a way out, except carrying the project by continuing with such workloads for 1-2 weeks at least. Her compensation appears also substantially lower than what her current responsibilities entail and her firm would be in significant trouble if she was unavailable because of sickness or delivery in the next few days. (the compensation story is somewhat tangential and irrelevant). The company should have prepared with respect to pregnancy and have someone ready to take on her responsibilities, but that's not the case.

She is otherwise healthy and so is the pregnancy so far. I am worried about stress/burn out, especially due to difficulty to diagnose such things. I am also worried that she would hate herself if something bad happens to her health or the baby's possibly because of her work situation.

To start a conversation, I jokingly suggested during dinner that I would give a call to their HR or her bosses to remind them that she is pregnant and that they are being irresponsible towards her health with their incompetent management. She firmly answered that I should never do that and never contact them on her behalf by email or phone.

I am wondering how to support her so that she finds a way out. I am currently only using soft power to help her (be loving and available for cooking and anything else). I am also wondering about more nuclear options, including actually calling/emailing her HR (against her will), or describing this situation in full during our pregnancy check-up appointment with the doctor in a few days.

Thanks for your suggestions.

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    Have you tried asking her if there is anything more you can do to help? – Patricia Shanahan Feb 23 '20 at 4:24
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    How is this not something you should decide and discuss with your wife? – Matthew Gaiser Feb 23 '20 at 4:32
  • @PatriciaShanahan yes and she does not see what I can do to help, except helping her with something for her work for a few hours so we will sit down and do that tomorrow. – Future Father Feb 23 '20 at 4:54
  • @MatthewGaiser we have discussed this openly yesterday and today, twice a day or so. She downplays my worries. She also says that the only thing that decreases her stress level is to see that the project moves towards completion. The decision I have to make is my own: whether I continue this soft approach of discussions, or if I go nuclear and force her hand into taking time off (e.g. by contacting her HR who would step in right away). – Future Father Feb 23 '20 at 5:00
  • What state do you live in? Is it an at-will state? – nick012000 Feb 23 '20 at 10:49
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Continue the soft support. That's all she needs. The other option would cause her more stress and indicate that you do not trust her judgement to handle it herself.

If she needs more she will tell you, but it's really out of your scope to do more than support her.

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    +1. Exactly, Don't intervene on her behalf unless you work out the intervention with her ahead of time. Just be there for her. I predict her priorities will change dramatically in the next couple of months anyhow. :-) – O. Jones Feb 23 '20 at 13:56
  • @kilisi Thanks, this was useful to hear. – Future Father Feb 24 '20 at 17:06
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I jokingly suggested during dinner that I would give a call to their HR or her bosses to remind them that she is pregnant and that they are being irresponsible towards her health with their incompetent management. She firmly answered that I should never do that and never contact them on her behalf by email or phone.

I am wondering how to support her so that she finds a way out. I am currently only using soft power to help her (be loving and available for cooking and anything else). I am also wondering about more nuclear options, including actually calling/emailing her HR (against her will), or describing this situation in full during our pregnancy check-up appointment with the doctor in a few days.

It's hard when we see a loved one in a difficult work situation. Some of us naturally want to swoop in like a white knight and solve their problems. But your partner sounds fully capable of handling her own work situation. This is her career, not yours. Listen to her when she tells you never to contact work on her behalf.

Ease her burden at home as you are doing now. Help her get whatever rest and relaxation she needs by taking on more of the housework, shopping, etc. Don't just be available - take on primary responsibility for some of these chores.

Be a good listener when she wants to talk or vent about the job, but don't jump in with solutions unless asked to do so.

Ask your partner what you can do to help. Listen to what she tells you.

Remember, her work situation will change very soon. You'll both have a whole new set of issues to deal with.

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Don't intervene on her behalf, she has to do this herself. So first, ask her and figure out what she wants (not what she thinks the company wants from her but what she herself wants). From what you desbribe it seems she has good leverage against the company and you describe yourself as willing to do your share as well.

I could see something like she will continue to work there but for a maximum of 40 hours a week and stop work completely two weeks before due date but I have no idea what she wants so figure that out. Then she has to go to HR and tell them what the deal is. Even in an at-will state firing a 7-month pregnant women because she is not willing do to 80 hour weeks shouldn't be something HR wants to do so they should accept most reasonable restrictions. Then, if the deal is she only works 40 hours a week, help her to actually stick to that. Oh, and if the deal includes that you do all the cooking, of course do that as well.

Happy parenting and good luck with the baby.

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