You finally get the job of your dreams, manage a few promotions and then suddenly, your late! Not for work, but the kind of late that makes your heart jump! Off to the drugstore only to find out a few minutes later that your recent bouts of fatigue are not from working too hard; but because you are pregnant. If you have been wanting to get pregnant than this is one of those once in a lifetime moments, but if you are like the over 60% of married couples who get a surprise visit from the stork, the whole thing can be disheartening. Even worse than telling your family members or your children is how or more importantly, WHEN to tell the boss that you are pregnant!
Despite laws and litigation to protect women who are expecting from experiencing any sort of discrimination, we all know it happens. All your boss will be thinking about is how they are going to manage without you and who is going to take over your responsibilities. They see the headaches of hiring temps, replacements or worse yet, having to take on some of the work themselves. Moreover, as fearful as employers may be about firing a co-worker who is pregnant, we all know that it happens. It is easy to find discrepancies when someone is hunting for them, blaming the termination on mistakes or poor performance. When to tell the boss you’re pregnant depends largely on two things. The first is your relationship with him or her and secondly, your sense of job security.
If you and your boss have a reasonable friendship of any kind and they are aware of your desire to have children the news will probably come as know surprise. Lots of people stand around the coffee pot in the morning talking about their lives and it would not be unheard of to overhear women talking about the fact that they are trying to get pregnant. When it happens, the news wouldn’t be necessarily unexpected. Telling them as soon as you want will probably not make a difference. However, if you have not shared your desire to get pregnant or have been surprised by a pregnancy, the news may definitely shock your work family. Initially, they may act frustrated or even angry; however, as time goes on this will subside. The issue is always that when a woman goes out of work to have a baby, her return is never guaranteed. Combine that with the fact that many pregnant women may not be able to keep up the hectic schedule during pregnancy that they normally do and you are bound to be met with cautious congratulations. While you could spend your time reassuring your boss that you will handle your work responsibilities just as well as before, you don’t have to do this!
If you aren’t very close to your boss, then there is nothing wrong with waiting until down the road. Many women don’t share the news of pregnancy with anyone, let alone coworkers until they are through the first trimester, and certainly, there is nothing wrong with waiting until then to tell the boss you are pregnant. At the same time, not telling them or hiding the truth is unfair. They too have to make plans for the future and giving them the respect of a simple heads-up should be done out of sheer respect. If your job involves anything that may be harmful while you are pregnant; it is important that your boss is aware why you are not doing certain things. If you are having to miss more work than usual for doctor appointments and explanation is definitely in order. Often, when people understand what is going on they are less apt to take action against you. It’s one thing to lay out of work with no explanation for three days, but something altogether different if you are having a medical issue.
Some women worry not about when to tell the boss they are pregnant, but about whether to do it all. For women who work in mostly male environments, who exert a lot of physical work or who are up for an upcoming promotion; the news may not be met with enthusiasm. If you feel there is a valid reason for not sharing the news or that doing so will hinder you professionally in some way than the best advice is to wait until you can hide it no longer!
The practice of asking women about their family lives and their desires or not to have children is supposed to be forbidden in the workplace. While employers may not come right out and ask you, they do in a round about way wonder about women of childbearing age. If you are a newlywed, applying for a fantastic job chances are the human resource department is acutely aware that you may end up out on disability and pregnant anytime. For this reason, it may be wise to be upfront with people, especially during the hiring process. If you have dreams for a family in 5-8 years than share that with them and reassure them that your plans aren’t imminent. The future is really anyone’s guess and things happen all the time that affect the stability of work environments. When you think of how many women are in the work force, it is crazy to imagine that there are people out there who won’t hire or retain you because you might get pregnant one day. If you find employers who are overly worried about this, some good advice may be to realize that you don’t want to work for them anyway. Part of being a good employer is flexibility and respect.
When to tell the boss you’re pregnant is a personal decision that must be made with careful consideration. There are pros and cons to telling too soon or too late and the fact remains that you are protected by the legal system should you run into any problems. 85% of all women in the workforce are also mothers and the balance of the two duties starts at conception. Use your head and your best judgment and realize that you can have professional and personal lives that are completely separate from one another. There is no shame in pregnancy and the bottom line is that your employer has to deal with it one way or another.