At the outset, congratulations!
It’s a big step forward and if you are a working mom-to-be, we know how challenging it is to maintain the stiff balance between your health, and your work.
The one question that comes across every expectant mom’s mind is the timing of announcing the big news at work. When is the right time? Will it be too early? Or if you drop the ball at the last minute, will it leave you and your boss very less time to plan the alternatives? How do you make it a seamless approach?
Actress Neha Dhupia echoed the sentiments of most expectant moms when she said she hid her pregnancy for work reasons. Here’s what she said:
“I didn’t want to tell people that I was pregnant for a large part of these nine months because I didn’t want people’s attitude towards me to change. I was worried people would stop offering work. It was a good thing my bump wasn’t showing till the sixth month because appearances matter here, and one might be assumed to be unfit for a job.”
The key is- choose what suits you.
There is no guided framework that suits all pregnant women and one that you should follow strictly. Your level of comfort at work, your closeness to your boss and your colleagues, the nature of your work, and the support staff back are all factors that vary widely from one person to another. But here are some common factors you need to consider before making the ‘big announcement’.
1. Wait for the initial phase to tide over:
Most women (especially in India), choose not to reveal their pregnancy news to anyone outside the friends and family circle before the completion of 3 months- after which the risk of a miscarriage is believed to be less. Unless you are facing any health issues, that would require your absence from work (on a regular or a long basis), it is ideal to wait for the first 3 months before you make the big announcement. The bump isn’t going to be too visible till about 18-20 weeks, so no worries there! That being said- make sure you inform one or two of your close friends at work, so they can help you tide over the morning sickness period and nausea at work.
2. Get the timing right:
When you decide to announce your pregnancy at work- keep in mind any upcoming projects or appraisals or other big assignments that would need your contribution. Though most women don’t feel the need to reveal much early on, it is advisable to keep your boss informed if any of the above-mentioned projects are being planned. Will help sort a lot of confusion and will give you the ideal clarity to plan the road ahead.
3. Find out the company policy:
Be direct when you announce to your employer/boss. Also ensure, for a professional environment, that you are the one to break the news, and they don’t hear it from someone else. And after you inform your boss, make sure you are clear about the company’s maternity policy. Know your rights about how many weeks you are entitled to and take enough time to plan your leaves and inform accordingly.
4. Plan ahead into the future:
When planning the maternity leave and the work journey during the 9 months, make sure you take time out to think through of life after the baby is born. Do you have a support system in place after you plan to resume work? Do you have daycare arrangements at your work? Would you need more time off before the baby is born, to help take some rest or would you need it more after the baby is born to help smoothen things at home? Decide on these factors, discuss with your spouse and other support system and come with a plan- with a flexible option. Also, if you are going to be MIA at work- plan a little into dividing it among colleagues or sorting it out with the team, so work isn’t halted.
5. Relax, take it easy:
No one said it was easy. But it isn’t too difficult and should definitely not get you all worked up at the moment. Remember to cherish your pregnancy and all the pampering and comfort you can avail! If you are keen to continue to work, that’s great- but let the thought of getting back to work or taking a break not haunt you. Keep your options open and be flexible. And don’t forget to enjoy the journey!