The stick you are holding appears with two blue lines. You are pregnant! You shake it, check it over and over again, and yep there are still two blue lines.
The moments following this discovery are filled with joy, excitement, and anxiousness. You may even scream, shout, cry, or do all of the above. Then once a few hours or even days go by you start looking at adorable onesies and socks.
You are already wanting to stockpile your little one’s closet even though they are the size of a bean at this point.
However, once the reality settles in that you will soon become a parent, that is when real life thoughts will start to creep into your mind.
One of the biggest questions that many of us, especially new moms, struggle in answering is “How do I tell my boss?”.
While most of us wouldn’t want to admit this out loud, it is completely normal and natural to wonder what is going to happen to your career now that you are pregnant.
Your thoughts may range from “How am I going to keep up traveling and being pregnant?” to “Who is going to take over when I go out on Maternity Leave?” and the biggest one of them all “Will I have a meaningful job if I decide to return?”.
The first thing to remember when you start to worry about your career is to know that careers come and go.
Being pregnant is such a small moment in time over the course of your life. At the end of the day you, your babies health, and your journey into motherhood are all that really matters.
However, being a strong career woman myself, I know that no matter how many times someone tells you not to worry it doesn’t change the fact that you still will.
In order to make you feel confident as a pregnant career woman, there are 4 easy steps you can follow that will bring you peace of mind in both areas of your new life. I have had the most difficult and eccentric bosses out there and following this guide helped me navigate my journey through pregnancy.
1. Who To Talk To First
Depending on the company you work for it can be confusing as to who you should talk to first about your pregnancy. Before we go into where to start always remember you do not have to share anything you are not ready to share. It is your pregnancy and your right to tell when you are ready.
Your Confidant: The best place to begin is by grabbing your work confidant and sharing the news with them. You will be beyond thrilled to finally tell someone and this way you have one of your biggest cheerleaders in on your exciting secret so they can be there for you during this exciting time.
Your Supervisor: Next, head to your direct supervisor when you are ready to share your news. You may have a close relationship with them or you may not. It is up to you how much you share, but following the work chart and telling them first is a nice professional gesture.
Letting them know will then allow you to speak with them openly about additional time you may be away from the office for appointments and possibly even working with them to work remotely if this is an option when you’re not feeling well.
Human Resources: Finally, schedule time with your human resources team. They are there to support you and share with you your rights along with the companies policies for your new chapter. They are a safe and neutral space for you to go to if you do run into any obstacles during your maternity journey at the office (more to come on that later!).
2. Telling Your Team
The key players at the office are now aware you are expecting, but it is getting harder and harder to hide your growing baby bump. What do you do? Team members will make their own assumptions (especially if you have terrible morning sickness and are disappearing for a half hour every day), but you will want to find the right time to tell your team.
It doesn’t have to be in a formal way such as sending out a calendar invitation, but you will want to tell them all at the same time. They will be the ones picking up your load when you are out, so it is important to let them in a little bit when it comes to what you are going through.
3. Two-Stepping With Pesky Peggy
Every office has one. The co-worker that either gives you their opinion without you asking or overshares on their own personal experience. Dealing with a “Pesky Peggy” is like two-stepping. There are times you need to just let them lead and then there are other times you need to know when to step away.
While your hormones will be raging remember that “Peggy” is usually coming from a place of wanting to help. Usually after a few minutes of smiling and nodding “Peggy” will be done sharing all her “how to’s” and you will be free of her until the next run in.
However, if you just don’t have the patience there are a few simple things you can do to get out of the conversation range. You can use your work as an excuse and kindly let her know you have a meeting you need to run to or if you need a quick exit let her know you aren’t feeling well and you need a minute to yourself.
There may not be a repellant for a “Pesky Peggy” but the words “I’m not feeling well” will lead anyone to make a quick exit.
4. Know Your Boundaries
While you may not want to believe things will change at the office when you become pregnant, things will. That doesn’t mean they will change for the worse, but you will be more limited when it comes to physical demands and needing to take time off for doctors appointments.
However, being pregnant does not mean that you aren’t as awesome at your job as you were before being pregnant. It just means you are juggling a bit more now which is great preparation for when your baby is in the world.
It may take a while to learn your new boundaries but its not worth putting your health and your babies health at risk just to prove you can lift a box or two at your next event. This is a time your team will be offering to help so use it.
You also need to know your boundaries when it comes to what your comfortable with when it comes to your work family. Are you ok with folks touching your belly? If not you have every right to politely ask them to stop.
Your rights also include to not be passed over for a promotion due to pregnancy or being cut out of things you feel fully capable of participating in just because you are pregnant. If you feel you are not being treated fairly when it comes to your job as a result of your pregnancy, this is the time to head to HR to speak with them.
And yes while right now you may be worrying about what will happen when you go on maternity leave, trust me the moment you are out of the hospital with your baby in tow you won’t be worrying about your inbox.