Sign Up and Win $500! One new Fairygodboss per month is randomly selected. T&C's apply.
Article creator image

BY Lisa Durante

How To Tell Your Coworkers You're Pregnant

anxious

Photo credit: © Kalim / Adobe Stock

TAGS:Pregnancy, Workplace, Working moms, Maternity leave

Telling your coworkers you're pregnant can be nerve-wracking, even when you love, love, love your job. When I found out I was pregnant with my first daughter, I worked on one of the most unbelievably supportive teams, and I was shaking in my boots. 

It made no sense.

I knew all of the smart, driven, ambitious women I worked with would be happy and excited for me, and yet, I just couldn’t get rid of this overarching sense of dread. Seriously, I think I felt more nauseous due to my pregnancy announcement than I ever did when dealing with morning sickness.

My worry: I thought I was letting everyone down.  

After I shared my news, met with hugs and high fives, I realized I was my own worst enemy. Most of my anxiety was rooted in negative self talk that kept cycling through my thoughts: they’ll think you’re giving up, they won’t take you seriously anymore, they’ll think you don’t appreciate the career advancement you’ve been given.

So in the hopes of stopping some future (soon-to-be) working mamas from falling into this same trap, I’ve catalogued my biggest mental roadblocks and what you can do to turn it around.

Roadblock: Awesome Mama Colleagues

Having an incredible working mother or two on your team who’s already been in your shoes should be a huge asset to you, not a source of anxiety. However, it can be easy to hold yourself up against your public perception of this mama mentor. When you’ve been modeling yourself after a working mom who seems to be able to do it all (How is she always in before me? How is she always so put together? I don’t even have kids yet!), the working mama hustle can seem next to impossible. You’re telling yourself that there’s no way you can handle motherhood as well as she does.

The Fix: Unpair Your Experiences

Just because you’ve professionally modelled yourself after this rockstar working mom, doesn’t mean that there needs to be equivalence in all aspects of your lives. Remind yourself that you’re just seeing the work version of her, and that you have no idea what goes into making that happen. Chances are, she’ll be your biggest champion when it comes to taking your mat leave and ramping back into work. She’s been there.

Roadblock: A Clash Of Workplace Policies vs. Culture

Before announcing your pregnancy at work, you’ve probably already consulted your contract and the local legislation to see what you’re entitled to for your maternity leave. But there’s a problem. In the years that you’ve been working for this company, you’ve noticed a completely different approach. Mamas are returning to the office sooner than they’re obligated to, and you’re worried that the same will be expected of you.

The Fix: Get Reading!

And I’m not just talking about your HR manual. I’m talking about reading the room and reading the mood of your fellow working mamas when they return to work. It might not be the case that they’ve had pressure put on them to return sooner. To the contrary, mat leave isn’t for everyone and some may be choosing to come back earlier than planned - I know I did! So strike up a conversation to better understand their mat leave plans. This way when you approach your supervisor about planning for mat leave, you can present a plan that brings together your entitlements and what you hope for your maternity leave.

Roadblock: Gnawing Growth Gratitude

I found out I was pregnant shortly after being awarded a higher position and a great big project. Yikes! If you’re in the same boat, you might be feeling guilty that you won’t be around to see your pet project to fruition, or that you’re letting down the team that promoted you by leaving them in a lurch. Would they have still promoted me if they knew I’d be taking mat leave in 6 months? Will they feel like I’ve dumped this giant work load on a now smaller team? All that talk will have you feeling like you now don’t deserve the opportunities given to you.

The Fix: Stay Future-Oriented

That job? That project? Hell yes, you earned it! So let’s not dwell on the past. Instead, start thinking about your future at the company, and how you will continue to excel leading up to your leave and after your return to work. Mimic this thinking in your language with colleagues, “When I get back, I can’t wait to jump on that project”, “Interesting! If you have time, I’d like to share some initial ideas before going off on leave.”. If you see and project yourself as a person that’s committed to the long-term success of your team, your colleagues will see that, too.

I can’t lie to you, mama. It may not be easy to share your baby news at work, but I hope that I’ve helped to remove some of the obstacles that may be in your way. I know these examples don’t even begin to cover it, so feel free to tell me what your biggest mental roadblocks are as you lead up to the announcement!

--

Lisa Durante is a Toronto-based working mama who believes in the power of AND. She offers real life insights and practical solutions that you can use to prepare for baby’s arrival as well as your life as a working mama.

Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. 
Join us by reviewing your employer!

You May Also Like

Related Community Discussions

  • Hello, my company pays 100% of my maternity for 12 weeks. Initially I was told the process is for me to submit my state pay stubs at whatever frequency I'd like and my company would pay the difference to ensure I received 100% of my income. Last week I casually sent my HR department a note and they told me they can no longer honor that policy and won't pay the 100% until I return from maternity leave. Is there any laws to protect me in this situation? It's creating both stress and financial hardships.

  • Hi - I recently left my job and became pregnant. I am 12 weeks pregnant and job hunting. Its possible that I will have a couple of job offers in the next month. At what point in the interview/offer process do I tell an employer that I'm pregnant? Are there companies that will hold my job during maternity leave even though I won't qualify for FMLA? I'm also concerned with affecting a new relationship with an employer by revealing that I will be going on leave in six months. Has anyone else experienced this? Looking for facts and words of encouragement!

  • Hi - I recently left my job and became pregnant. I am 12 weeks pregnant and job hunting. Its possible that I will have a couple of job offers in the next month. At what point in the interview/offer process do I tell an employer that I'm pregnant? Are there companies that will hold my job during maternity leave even though I won't qualify for FMLA? I'm also concerned with affecting a new relationship with an employer by revealing that I will be going on leave in six months. Has anyone else experienced this? Looking for facts and words of encouragement!

  • I'm planning to have a baby and, as an accountant, am accustomed to putting in Saturday hours (we all do during tax season). Once I start a family, though, I'd reeeally rather not work weekends... should I just suck it up and accept it as part of my career choice, or try to have a conversation with my boss? Any tips?

  • Has anyone ever used a good maternity leave coach? I'm feeling like a mess...so I think it could be helpful... but I'm not sure it's worth the money.

Find Out

What are women saying about your company?

Click Here

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Share with Friends
  • Share Anonymously