Tips for telling your boss you're pregnant

Filed under: Just For Moms, Your Pregnancy, Work Life

I've now had the experience of sharing with two separate bosses the news of my impending joy. No one knew how it would go, regardless of whether it was rehearsed or just seemed like an opportune moment. Reactions vary by person depending on what kind of boss they are, sometimes by gender and what kind of conversation or day they'd just been having.

One time I was nervous, another not so much. Once I was surprised by the response, another time not. One time, I was the underling, and this time, well, I'm the boss. I have a boss, of course, everyone does, but I am in a very different stage of my career than I was with my first pregnancy.

So what does it take to tell your boss the "right" way--if there can even be such a thing? I tried to not be too jokey but also not too serious--after all, we're talking about something good. Then there's that inevitable conversation about whether or not the pregnant mom to be plans on coming back.

It's not a conversation that necessarily should be had during the one where you tell your boss you're preggers, but it always seems to come up. In fact, during my previous pregnancy, the first thing my boss said--before congratulations or any of that--was, "Are you coming back?!?" It wasn't that she was trying to be rude or anything--that's just what blurted out of her mouth. She was very happy for me, but business is still business.

I've always done my best to assure my superiors that I plan to return to the roost once the baby rearing is under control. that doesn't mean groveling or freaking out--it's just a matter of statement. Maybe it is or isn't the right thing to do at the time at all, but that's been the case for me.

One piece of advice I've always found helpful is to plan and to share that plan with the boss. Let them know how you think the work can be handled while you're on maternity leave. Even if it's not the plan that best ends up suiting everyone's needs, you've at least brought something to the table. And you've started the conversation/collaboration.

One piece of advice I never cared for was reminding your boss how much work you've already done while pregnant, without him or her even knowing it. As many of us know the end of a pregnancy is very different from the beginning of one. Plus, at the end of the pregnancy, when the mother is out, has nothing to do with her work efforts while she was pregnant at the office.

My best piece of advice? Carry on as usual. You're pregnant, not dead. You can still do (most of) your job most of the time. Remain as professional as you always were and perform to your best as you always did. your maternity wardrobe should match the dress code at your office.

Enjoy your pregnancy while you do so. Remember that your coworkers may enjoy sharing your pregnancy with you to some extent--it's fun to be around a pregnant woman, I've always found. Gives hope to us all!

What advice would you give to a first-time mom about to tell her boss she was pregnant? For me, even though it was the second time around, I was still aflutter before I told my boss.

By the way--the woman in the pic? Probably not the best choice of office maternity wear.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.