Originally published on The Amazing Adventures of Pregnancy Blog October 28, 2017.
By: Mary Echols, RN, BSN, MSN
I remember a few years ago, I scheduled an appointment with my director. My intent was to inform her I was pregnant. My mindset was I wanted to be transparent and have a plan ready for my Maternity Leave. My Personal Choice was to wait until I was in my 2nd trimester. Sitting down in her office; we shared small talk.
Then the time came. “So… I’m Pregnant.”
My director immediately jumped up from her chair, broke into a huge smile. Engulfed me in the BIGGEST Hug; saying, “CONGRATULATIONS!”
I exhaled a breath, I didn’t know I was holding. My director made this moment special. I knew in that moment: working while pregnant would be fine.
Unfortunately, not everyone has this experience.
Therefore, I have created 6 Helpful Tips for Telling Your Boss: You are Pregnant.
My hope is your experience is peaceful, easy, and supportive.
(1) When to Tell Your Boss
It is your choice when you decided to tell your leadership team you are pregnant. A lot of women wait until the second trimester. However, it is a personal choice and whenever you decide is the right time. I would advise you not to wait until you are 40 weeks and having labor pains.
(2) Speak with Human Resources (HR)
It is important that you speak with your Human Resource Department (HR) to know how much time you are eligible to have off for your Maternity Leave. If you are not understanding what HR is saying: ask questions and take notes. It is a lot of information to process. Also, be mindful of paperwork that will need to be completed and deadlines to turn in that paperwork. Take time to review The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Read more about FMLA here: https://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/
(3) Tell Your Leadership before you tell your Colleagues
Your co-workers may be your best friends. However, out of respect and professionalism- it is important your boss knows first.
(4) Schedule an Appointment with your Boss
I recommend you schedule an appointment with your boss. The last thing you want to do is meet with your leadership team while they are rushing and do not have time to listen or be engaged in the conversation. You also DO NOT WANT TO RUSH BY THE YOUR BOSS’S OFFICE SAYING, “HEY, I’M PREGNANT!” and run off. Also, do not e-mail or write a note. Make the appointment face to face. You always want to be courteous, respectful and professional.
(5) Have a Plan
When you meet with your Boss, be prepared with a plan. You want your plan to include how you will continue to work during pregnancy, train your replacement, and when you plan on starting Maternity Leave. Also, have an idea and be sure to express your plan to return to work when you have completed your Maternity Leave. Things happen and rarely go according to plan. However, if you have a plan in place it will help with the transition. Especially if you have to start Maternity Leave earlier than anticipated.
This is a happy time in your life. Do not feel pressure, scared or intimidated. You are entitled to a Maternity Leave. Pregnancy, especially with your first baby comes with more than growing a human. Everything can seem overwhelming. There are a lot of factors to consider: work, home, family to name a few. Deciding on when and how to tell your Boss can add to that stress.
Remember, be professional, have a plan, be happy, and follow the 6 tips above.
Mary is a wife, mother, nurse, and “Champion of All Pregnant Women”. Be sure to connect to more of her work by following her blog theamazingadventuresofpregnancy.com. If you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.