Notifying your employer of an upcoming health event is usually very straight-forward. But becoming a mom is an entirely different animal! Notifying your employer that you will need several weeks off and there is no getting around it is tricky… When you tell your boss you’re pregnant, certain approaches should be avoided (at all costs) while others need to be reinforced.
This can be nerve-wracking for some (like me..! ahh!). Altogether, you need to get this increasingly apparent fact out in the open, as you know.
But the overall end game here is wonderful on your side of thing, and painful on the employer’s side. Here is a list of things to include and avoid when you lay this all out on the table.
I can promise, from my (and my coworkers’) experience, that this WILL smooth out the experience for both parties. Also, you will be creating a respectful foundation for the rest of your working pregnancy. This can be enjoyable, just make sure to follow these tips!
Assure your employer of your plans
…and try to not change them
Obviously, pregnancies vary. No one plans to be put on bedrest. That is an example of an acceptable change of plans.
What I mean is, decide early on whether you will be working up until labor or if you will pick a day before the birthday and use some of your maternity leave before the baby comes. Then stick with it!
Be considerate of their problem
Because in reality, it is THEIR problem. The solution is not yours to find. You’ll have a baby to keep up with!
Offer to cross-train, write procedures for regular tasks, notify regular colleagues of impending changes in responsibilities
Be thankful for their cooperation
Even if they don’t seem super cooperative, thank them for cooperating. This can create a snowball effect. By thanking them for this, they will be more gracious in legitimate cooperative scenarios and they will not feel unappreciated.
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People LOVE babies. Be the excited mama that you are, and your happiness will be contagious!
This can make your colleagues feel included, and overall excited for you to leave and come back with a tiny baby that they anticipated!
You do not owe anyone an apology. This is a problem a lot of women have, and it only contributes to our own feelings of guilt. Don’t do it!
Even though you are entitled (to desserts without judgement, among other things), don’t act like you are.
If they don’t seem understanding, or attempt to push back on your right to stay home for a time following a major health event, you shouldn’t remind them they have no say. The law is on your side, and HR is too! Go through them exclusively, if need be.
Just because you are pregnant, doesn’t mean you are disabled. Sure, there are circumstances which will need to be addressed. For instance, lifting is a well-known DON’T for pregnant women, so any jobs with that requirement will need to be temporarily underperformed.
But when it comes to office work, you should definitely be aiming to hit the status quo
This will show your commitment, and ultimately assure your leaders that you are worth the struggle.
It is acceptable to engage in light pregnancy banter (“my knees are having trouble keeping me standing”), but by all means do not whine!
No one wants to listen to a complainer for months, only for it to end with them not pulling their weight while they take a 3 month “Vacation” (their words, not mine)
Stick that happy pregnant smile on your face and try to keep it up! You are incredibly lucky, after all!