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Happily Eva Answers: What Your Boss Thinks…About Babies

Happily Eva Answers

 

Hi Eva,

My husband and I recently started “trying” for a baby. It has only been two months but no success so far. I also am employed full time. Currently at work we are prepping out for the year to come. Do you think it’s necessary to tell my employer that I might not possibly be around at the end of the year, our busiest time, because I’m having a baby? If I get pregnant and wait the standard 3 months I will have already been committed to projects. However if I jump the gun and tell them and I have difficulty conceiving or other issues arise and I don’t become pregnant won’t that look odd? If you advise telling them, what’s the best approach?

 

Thanks,

Ms. Trying To Be A Team Player

Baby_Martino_106

Dear Ms. Trying To Be A Team Player,

 

I really like this question.  And here’s why: it speaks to a lot of things I’ve been thinking about recently– most specifically our role as Women in the workplace and the responsibilities that presents, as well as the pressures we deal with daily in terms of our bodies, our choices and our futures.  Is that a little Fully-Loaded-Baked-Potato for ya? I’ll start with my simple answer and then muse on a little bit.

No.  No, it is absolutely not necessary to tell your employer that you are beginning to try to get pregnant.  I think it is definitely none of his/her business what you’re doing with your uterus until you conceive, have progressed through the First Trimester, and are at a point when you feel comfortable sharing that news.  I’m ALL ABOUT being a Team Player, and it’s obvious you are a hardworking and butt-kicking employee (Go you!).  You are so generous for being willing to share your plans so as not to inconvenience anybody, and it’s clear that you will be missed dearly when you are eventually on maternity leave– BUT I want you to be protected.  And what does that mean? That means that I am incredibly jaded and weary of people who do not always return generous and well-meaning actions like yours.

Basically, I don’t want your Boss to take advantage of your honesty and do something shady and awful and shockingly common– fire you.  Here’s the deal:  it’s all kinds of illegal to fire somebody who is pregnant because they got pregnant.  Luckily.  The grey area becomes a little greyer, however, if you are yet to become pregnant and your boss has a little tiny window during which to replace you.  Don’t open that window! You’re probably thinking, “Oh man, this chick is totally paranoid and nuts– my Boss would never do that to me!”

Well, it happened to me. Except that I was in my First Trimester.  I had shared the news of my pregnancy (with Marlowe) with a future employer “in good faith” before I needed to because I also wanted to be a team player and give the employer time to plan a way to work around the pregnancy.  And low and behold they told me to my face that it was totally cool, that they completely understood, etc etc….and then very swiftly removed me from the process.  Just like that.  Now I’m talking a TV show– I’m sure you do something much more important with your work time than that type of thing, BUT it was a cold harsh slap of reality right in my pregnant face and I vowed never to forget it.  Learn from my mistake!

This is a really vulnerable time, as you make the choice to become a Mother and start your pregnancy journey, and I want you to focus on protecting yourself and making yourself feel safe and special.  Who knows whether your “trying period” will be five minutes or a year– don’t put that extra pressure on yourself by adding a clock that is watched by your Boss and the others you work with!  You can absolutely be a healthy, vibrant pregnant woman and a smart and savvy employee. Women do it all the time, and your employer will still be lucky to have you on the team while you are fitting that belly behind a desk!  It’s OK as women if we live a little for ourselves and our families before we live for our jobs, and it frustrates me when corporate culture puts so much pressure on the female employees to put everything on hold in order to preserve some arbitrary “timeline”.  I have girlfriends who are not yet even trying to conceive, and are already scared of what will happen at work.  This is crazy!  I wish employers everywhere had more respect for working Moms than this, and a little more appreciation for the extra dimension of awesomeness that becoming a Mom adds to your clout and swagger.  You can do it all, and then some.

 

I wish you the best on your parenting journey, and I’m so excited for you!!!

 

xoxo

EAM

 

Photograph by Nina Suh for Love And Lemonade Photography

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9 Comments

  1. Tai says:

    Awesome advice as ever, Eva!
    Even when an employer does something illegal, what can you do? Sue them? Not a lot of people have the energy and cash to sue their boss, so prevention is the way to go. Don’t give them the opportunity to be sleazy!

    04.08.16Reply
  2. Dianne says:

    Good advice. I do hope no one at your work is subscribed to your blog and passes on the info about your trying to get pregnant. Sharing with the best of intentions.

    04.08.16Reply
  3. Holly says:

    Hi all – just a heads up that if anyone is struggling with workplace discrimination against pregnancy, my roommate works for a fantastic non-profit called A Better Balance which is all about supporting families in the workplace and helping people know their rights. They’re based in New York City, but you can call to speak to an advisor who will happily give you legal advice and a lot of information as to where you can find help, and in a lot of cases they will provide you with legal aid if you get to a lawsuit stage. It costs nothing to get information and know your rights, especially in cases such as this that will completely impact you and your child’s lives ☺️

    04.08.16Reply
  4. Rose says:

    Great advise… I am in my second trimester and just finished my second interview with a company. I know I am not obligated to disclose my pregnancy but I did want to be upfront and honest especially with my second interview. The only thing is I was unable to mention my pregnancy in a easy – natural way so I never brought it up; I feel conflicted now and slightly bad. I do not want to company to see me as being dishonest or that I pulled one over on them. So, when they give me a call before the (hopeful) offer I plan to request to speak to the manager to see if they were even aware of the “bump in the room” and just assure them that I truly see myself at their company long term. I will most likely take a shorter then 12 weeks maternity leave if I get this job opportunity. Kind of unfortunate. Do you have any advised for me?

    04.08.16Reply
  5. Christin says:

    (…hoping I get it right in English)
    I’m totally going with you Eva! I had to learn it the hard way by my self. I always been a person who thinks positive. Now I think maybe a little too naiv. Trying to do it the best way for everyone, afterwards not for me…
    I’m working in a kindergarten in Germany. I “have” to tell my boss that I’m pregnant immediately because I had to go to a company medical office. They are testing my blood of immunity of several infections. I’m working with kids under 3, so it’s important to my health and the baby during the pregnancy. I knew it very early because I am married to a women and we did an insemination. Lucky us the wonder happend. I told my boss and the first reaction was full positive. I was in the 6th week as I got told that I’m not allowed to work until the 20th week because I’m not immun to 2 childreninfections. And then it all started. I got emails from my boss nearly daily. They put such a big pressure on me to tell everyone that Iam pregnant. They told everyone is asking and worring about me. They don’t know how to explain my absence. My fellows are not anymore in positive thinking about me and some really cruel things more. It went on. That Iam not working fair with my employer and that they will search for a substitution for my pregnancy and parental leave in the newspaper and that everyone will know it then anyway. That was last week and I’m only in my 9th week of pregnancy. I’m at home and have no idea what everyone is thinking or talking. The only thing Iam interested is that my baby is healthy. I told them a hundred times that I will wait until my 12th week and that’s my right, professional discretion is giving that right to me and they worked around it in any grey zones. I have to go to work again in 11 weeks and I’m a little bit scared by now, I’m mean no wonder, right?

    Thank you for your inspiring and personal posts!
    Sending you love from Germany

    04.08.16Reply
  6. Cat says:

    Great advice Eva for sure!
    I would say the same thing because I know it happens. Matter of fact I’m sure it would have happened to me if I was still with my previous employer when I had my girls. When I decided to leave for a better paying job my boss was upset because he wouldn’t have me to cover for the manager who was pregnant (and had been there less time than me, being the second person promoted before me…another kettle of fish) when she went on leave.
    I say keep your news to yourself until YOU are ready to share.
    Best of luck team player,
    From a Mama of two girls ~ Cat

    04.08.16Reply
  7. Carly says:

    I had an employer I was interviewing with flat out ask me if my husband and I were planning on starting a family soon. I was so shocked I answered with, “I think that’s something I should discuss with my husband rather than in an interview.” Little did they know, we had been trying for almost a year. STILL… None of their damn business. The office manager even called me the next day and asked if I “had the discussion with my husband yet.” Are you kidding me?! I was offered the job, but turned it down because I wasn’t interested in that kind of unnecessary pressure. Telling an employer you are pregnant is so nerve wrecking and awkward, and it shouldn’t be. Share it when you feel comfortable. Luckily, my next employer gave me so much support and leniency with my (what turned out to be complicated) pregnancy.

    04.09.16Reply
  8. Glenda says:

    Awesome advice! Best of luck team player!

    04.09.16Reply