Spilling the Baby Beans... at Work

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

When you ask questions, I really try my best to answer them. Someone mentioned they were interested in knowing when and how I told my boss about my pregnancy, and well, here we go!

Of course, my situation is a little different than most, as I switched jobs at the end of my first trimester. So I didn't just have the privilege of breaking the news to one boss, I had to do it twice.

When we first got the positive pregnancy test, our plan was to tell people at work when we told everyone else--at 12-13 weeks, when the first trimester was safely behind us. However, when I was seven weeks pregnant, I went to the bathroom one morning at work and found that I was bleeding pretty significantly. I went back to my desk, messaged Michael, and proceeded to start completely freaking out. I closed my office door to call the doctor's office, shaking with terror, and I could no longer hold back the tears. After talking to the nurse and having her tell me to come in for an ultrasound, I could not calm down--plus, I was going to need to leave in the middle of the morning for the appointment--so I knew then that I would not be able to hide my pregnancy anymore... at least not from my boss.

I ended up going into her office, sobbing, and closed the door behind me. I sat down and told her I had something to tell her, and broke the news that I'm pregnant--followed by the news that I was bleeding and wasn't sure if I was losing my baby. It was a lot for the poor woman to handle, but she congratulated me on the pregnancy and wished me the best for the ultrasound. After we saw the beautiful heartbeat and were somewhat reassured that things were going to be OK, I was advised to lie with my feet up for the rest of the afternoon.

When I returned to work the next morning, I was able to sit down with my boss again, calmly and with a smile, and give her the update. It was a much more lighthearted talk, that's for sure! I asked her to please keep the pregnancy under wraps from my other coworkers until after the first trimester, and she was understanding. So even though things didn't go according to plan, and I was essentially forced into telling my boss earlier than I had wanted, things worked out. And it was actually nice having her know, because on the days when I felt like crap and was extra tired, it was good to have someone at work who understood why.

Fast-forward a few weeks and I got the offer for the new job. I was about nine weeks pregnant, and again, hadn't planned on telling anyone else. I knew that I wasn't required to say anything to anybody, and that by law, they couldn't discriminate against me for my pregnancy. Still, I was nervous about saying something, but felt it was wrong to hold out on my new boss, too. I didn't want to go into the new job with a secret. Since my potential start date was right around the beginning of my second trimester, I felt that I would have to tell within a few weeks of starting the job, and I just did not want to start off on the wrong foot.

When I went in for my final meeting/interview, I was offered the job on the spot. I wasn't prepared to tell him about my pregnancy at that moment, so I bought myself a little time by saying I wanted to talk to my husband before formally accepting the offer. The next day, after I felt like I had some time to properly prepare myself, I decided that when I called to accept the job, I'd also spill the beans. In order to protect myself, I waited until after the official offer letter had come in, then called to talk to my new boss.

I started off by telling him that I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with them and that I was really looking forward to it. Then I dropped the bomb, "...but I have something I need to tell you first." I think he probably imagined all of these horrible things, because when I said, "I'm pregnant," he immediately responded, "Oh, but that's good news!" He proceeded to ask when the baby was due, and the only thing he wanted to be reassured about was whether I was actually planning on coming back to work. When I told him it wasn't an option for me NOT to work, he was completely supportive of everything. He told me that maternity leave wouldn't be an issue and we small-talked about his children. He even told me that I should try to hold out to go a few days late so I'd have a Libra baby. :)

Needless to say, my situation has not been typical. But I've definitely been lucky in that BOTH bosses were great about it and have been genuinely happy for me.

If there is anything to be taken away from my experience, I think the "lesson" is that you need to do what is right for you and your situation. If things had been uneventful and gone as planned, I really think I would've held out until 12+ weeks. But the way things worked out was fine, too. If you're sick as a dog during your first trimester, it may not be feasible to wait to tell, as you'll need the understanding and support from your boss to get you through. On the other hand, I've heard of women who have their own reasons not to tell until they really start to show, which in some cases, is 20 weeks or more.

The other thing to consider is the relationship with your boss. I've been fortunate in that I've always had good relationships with bosses--in every job that I've ever had, going back to when I worked at McDonald's when I was 15 years old. If your boss is any kind of a friend, I'd imagine you'd feel comfortable telling sooner rather than later. If your boss is an asshole, well, maybe you're one of the women who wait as long as possible to tell.

Oh, and as for coworkers--at my old job, I worked in a pretty small department, but I still waited until I was really close to the 12-week mark before I told anybody besides my boss. At my new job, all of my immediate coworkers (the ones I work with directly) were told right away, but there are still a lot of them who are just now discovering my pregnancy, or some who still don't know. It's not that it's a secret; it's just that, unless it comes up in conversation, it's sort of an awkward thing to tell someone you don't know very well. I figure that sooner or later (probably sooner, now that I'm really starting to show!), everyone who doesn't know will certainly figure it out!

P.S. One year ago today, I witnessed my nephew's entrance into the world. It continues to be one of my most treasured moments in life, and I will hold onto it forever. I love you, Hunter, and Happy Birthday! xoxo


Life of a Doctor's Wife May 26, 2010 at 10:58 PM  

I am so glad it worked out so well for you!

Happy birthday to your nephew!

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