As a working mom, this is probably the first pregnancy problem you face. I absolutely struggled to find the right answer. When I first heard myself publicly tell people that I was pregnant, I couldn’t help but imagine that all they heard was, “She had sex!!”
Under normal circumstances, this was fine. Whatever. Ya, I’m a married adult. But at work…. there are just some topics that are not brought up in an office environment. Being a green little millennial, and new to my role/team, I didn’t know where to start.
Luckily, I knew I wanted to wait until the end of that treacherous first trimester. That is the typical answer. But how long after that? I bought myself 12 weeks to figure it out, but would I tell them the day after that? The week after? On a Friday? On a Monday? Can I just NOT and let them figure it out? (No, don’t do that lol)
I made my mistakes, and I learned a bit about what I wish I’d know. Basically….
You need to make it public ASAP.
That is the answer. However, the ‘possible’ part is where it gets muddy…
I knew that I was going to maximize my time off, and I knew that they wouldn’t love that. This can make ‘outing’ yourself stressful, to say the least. But the sooner you get it out, the sooner you can start pulling the pregnant card.
Most sources will tell you to wait through the 12th week, for viability reasons.
But if that is not a concern of yours, then LET IT BE KNOWN! You won’t need to justify morning sickness with a bogus reason, but you may be inviting obnoxious advice (which will come at any point in any pregnancy, so get used to that).
I would suggest you wait until you get out of the dreaded first trimester, but it really is not too important to wait if you are willing to deal with the feared possibilities. I’m just patient about those things, considering my history with loss.
I found little to no help in determining when to out myself, and ended up keeping it a secret until I was 17 weeks along (!!!).
This worked out well, although my entire team already suspected it with much certainty. (co-workers DO keep tabs on dressing habits, and my new affinity for flowy shirts blew my cover haha!)
I also missed out on a company-wide program which would’ve scored me a $200 VISA Gift Card to accommodate my growing wardrobe. Ahhhh I’m still sad about that!
Ultimately, sooner is better.
This gives your employer as much time as possible to prepare for the need
to fill your role during the time you will need off. This is definitely appreciated, even if they make you feel inconsiderate for populating the planet (could just be the hormones talking).
Now, how do I tell my boss I’m pregnant?
If you’re like me, confrontation gets me worked up. When informing your employer of your condition, it’s important to remember that you are NOT ASKING for maternity leave. You are INFORMING them of your impending health condition, which will result in several weeks out of the office.
Here is an example (and probably very similar to my approach):
Preggo: I am happy to tell you that I am expecting, and the baby is due in (MONTH).
Boss: yay that’s great (eyes are saying, “oh god, ok…”)
Preggo: Yes, we’re excited, and I’ve decided to continue working after maternity leave. I’d like to have an open dialogue with you as the pregnancy progresses. I don’t have many details yet, but would you mind if I worked out some of the logistics with you as things come up?
Boss: ya sure
Preggo: Great! Thank you. Please let me know if there is anything you’d like me to work on in preparation for an extended time out. Also, I’m happy to cross-train anyone you decide will temporarily fill my position.
That might be a bit extensive, and a little too script-y. See my guidelines for what to to cover during your conversation. There are definitely right and wrong ways to go about this topic. If you want to limit friction among your colleagues, go read the DOs and DONTs to tell your boss you’re pregnant.
Otherwise, be assured that these steps can radically improve your pregnant situation. No matter how stressed you may be, you are not alone.
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