Pregnant and Working,What You Need To Think Aboutby Allison Hutton |
We all know pregnancy is a time of great confusion. What will the baby's name be? Will it be a boy or girl? Will I breastfeed or bottle-feed? The questions are endless, and so are the possible answers. However, when you are working and find out you are pregnant, that may bring on a whole new set of issues. You may have just started a new job, received a promotion, or recently been put in charge of a big project. Maybe you are concerned with how your boss will take the news. Whatever your concerns are, it would be in your best interest to get a "plan" together.
You may want to think about whether or not you will be returning to work, once the baby is born. I can almost guarantee that this will be one of the first questions your boss will ask, once you share the news. For me, there was no question that I was going to be a stay-at-home-mom. My husband and I discussed this before we were married, and we planned ahead, so that my staying home was financially possible. However, may people do not have that option.
Here are a few things for you to think about:
Would it be possible for you to work from home, after the baby is born? Your boss may be surprised at how cost-effective telecommuting really is. If you are interested in something along these lines, do your research ahead of time, and present the facts.
Does your company offer flextime? If not, maybe you could pioneer a new company policy. These days, companies are much more willing to become "family-friendly." It may just take some instruction and motivation to get the ball rolling.
Find out what your company's policy is on maternity leave. Usually, you get so many weeks paid, and have an option for additional time off with no pay. However, there are many different plans out there. Be sure to get all of the facts as to what your company offers.
Is you boss willing to let you leave when necessary, for doctor's appointments, pre-natal testing, etc.? It may be best to talk with a trusted co-worker, who has recently been through this, and see what hurdles she had to overcome.
If you are returning to work after the baby is born, is there a private area available where you can pump, if you are breastfeeding? Again, this may present the opportunity for pioneering the way your company looks at working mothers. Don't be afraid to share your ideas!
As surprising as it may be, sharing the news that you are pregnant isn't always met with enthusiasm. You would be shocked at the number of women who find their jobs are in jeopardy, once they announce their pregnancy. Rest assured that an employer cannot fire you, because you are pregnant. It is against the law, and there are laws that protect you from this type of discrimination. If you feel that you are being discriminated against, or losing you job because you are pregnant, immediately contact the Department of Labor in your state.
Do not feel obligated to work extra hours, weekends, or take work home with you. You will need your rest much more that you anticipate. Make it clear that when you are on maternity leave, you are NOT working. Often times, bosses and/or co-workers can't resist the urge to call you at home, for favors, help, or ideas on getting things done in your absence. Don't let anyone give you the feeling that your pregnancy is an "inconvenience" at the workplace. Do your best to enjoy this time, and those around you will enjoy it, too. You may find that co-workers are eager to throw you a baby shower. They may stop by, after the baby is born, to deliver some food or other treats. Enjoy the precious time you have with your little one, because it will go by very quickly!
Doing research on "family-friendly" companies can bring rewards in the long run. Working Mother magazine recently ran an article entitled "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers." In this article, detailed information reagarding company policy towards working mothers is available. If you would like to see this article in its' entirety, please visit Working Mother online at http://www.workingmother.com
My name is Allison Hutton. I was recently introduced to the Baby Corner by Elizabeth Geiger, and have found it to be a wonderful resource for those trying to conceive, those who are expecting, and those who are already parents. I am a stay at home Mom to my beautiful daughter, Hannah, and wife to my wonderful husband, Daniel. After a long journey battling recurrent pregnancy loss, we welcomed our daughter into the world on St. Patrick's Day, 1999. Motherhood has been the most challenging, exhausting, and rewarding job I have ever had! In my "spare" time, I enjoy freelance writing about issues dealing with pregnancy, parenting, infertility, and women's health. I hope to provide some insight to pregnancy, as well as information that can be difficult to find on the web. I look forward to becoming a part of the Baby Corner, and hope to make a difference, no matter how small.
Allison is a contributing editor for The Baby Corner as well Editor of Pregnancy after Miscarriage at Suite 101.
Visit he webpage at http://www.geocities.com/allies_girl/
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