I wanted to share with you that on both occasions I did not just march into his office, proclaim my pregnancy status and march back out. Both occasions had much thought and consideration put into them before I spilled the beans. I even did some research ahead of time. I looked on a few different websites but I liked BabyCenter best. The main points that I want to leave you with are:
Do your research
- Familiarize yourself with the U.S. Department of Labor's Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Unfortunately, if you work for a small business this act may not apply to you. Make sure you know where your company stands.
- Find out what your maternity leave options are. Consult your HR person, ask other employees that have gone through the same thing, etc.
- Even though your leave will take 9 months to arrive you should already be thinking about how much time you want to take off.
- Depending on your role you should also have a plan in mind regarding how your duties will be covered in your absence. Will the company need to hire a temp? Can your duties be divided amongst other co-workers? Will you be available to work a bit from home?
- Have this plan well thought out and be prepared to share it with your boss when you tell them the news. It will reflect well that you have taken time to think things through. Even if your ideas aren't the direction things end up going, at least you put forth the effort and your boss should appreciate that.
- No one can predict the future. You may have every intention of returning to work after the baby is born but until you are actually holding that sweet little bundle there is no telling how you will feel about returning to the grind. No matter how much you love your job you may discover that staying home with your child is your new lot in life. There is nothing wrong with that and I can guarantee your boss is shaking in their booties thinking about that very thing happening. With both of my pregnancies I was clear to say, "As long as I am healthy and my baby is healthy then I have every intention of returning to my role."
- This can be super hard when you feel sick all day, your exhausted, uncomfortable, have to pee every 5 minutes, your back hurts, etc. Being pregnant isn't an excuse for taking it easy. Remain professional and continue to do the same amazing work that you have always done.
- Know your rights here. It is possible that you will be treated differently while pregnant. Don't stand for it and be sure to consult your HR person right away.