Hey, Boss, I'm pregnant!
Happiness, nausea, cravings, tiredness, stomach flutters - all things a new mama is supposed to feel. Those feelings of excitement sometimes only last for a short while. If you are as career-oriented as I am, you might find yourself ridden with anxiety and tough thoughts as you prepare to tell your work family that you are about to have a baby. Even if you work for a loyal, morally-sound company, it can be daunting to tell your boss that you are pregnant. Why? History.
I can't tell you how many stories I have heard about women that have been disregarded by their companies after they informed them of their exciting news - taken off projects, passed up for promotions, called unprofessional for having a child cry in the background on a conference call, and the list goes on. It's not just the actions that speak loudly, sometimes the words hurt even worse.
She won't be billable for three months. If you aren't on project and not billing then you are just a cost to me. She is going to have a baby, she doesn't have time for a position like that. We should give that task/project to someone who isn't so focused on having a baby. She is probably going to quit her job and become a stay-at-home mom anyways. She can't handle that type of stress, she's pregnant. She's taking too much time off. She's having another kid? Do we really need to pay her a bonus if we are paying her maternity leave?
These experiences of other coworkers and friends force us to be strategic about how and when we approach our companies with this news. Instead of being excited, some women are worried about the professional repercussions of having a baby when, in reality, there should be none at all. We agonize over every what-if and put unnecessary stress on ourselves because we are afraid the world hasn't changed. We are afraid the world won't change. We are afraid of being penalized for wanting both a career and a family.
My advice to all of you women who are pregnant or planning to be: Continue to demonstrate the value that you bring to the company. Don't hide your excitement or the fact that you are pregnant. Don't let any comments get in the way of you doing a great job. When you are worried about certain discussions, like a bonus, spell out your recent accomplishments for your company on a PowerPoint slide. No matter what happens, know that you are a Rockstar and if you continue to demonstrate your value to the company then they will have no other choice than to choose you for the next awesome promotion!