This is an article in our Pregnancy Week by Week series, a resource to help you manage your job and life, through and after your pregnancy.
Week 22: How Much Is Too Much To Share When You’re Pregnant At Work?
Look, we get it. The big day is coming and you’re getting excited.
But TMI still applies. No matter how nervous, thrilled, and consumed you are by the baby that’s arriving in a few months, it doesn’t mean you should be sharing everything with your colleagues.
(And yes, this does means talking about the changes happening to your body. Nobody but your doctor needs to know how much weight you’ve gained, or how your feet are starting to swell.)
See, the thing is...you’re still in a professional environment so you can't act unprofessionally. And even if you have friends at work, there are still rules. For better or worse, those rules are that you can answer friendly questions about the baby’s due date and how you’re feeling but...not really more than in a polite, cursory fashion.
It’s one thing if you don’t really care what people think because you’re never coming back after your maternity leave. But talking excessively about your baby -- fairly or not -- can give signals that you may not mean to send. And need we remind you that there’s a lot of bias around pregnant women and their priorities? Sure, it’s wrong for people to mommy-track you, sure. But you don’t need to give them extra fodder by seeming unable to concentrate on actual work because you’re distracted by your baby.
Just as you didn’t talk about your Saturday rave parties in any great detail (if at all) on Monday morning in the office, over-sharing your feelings about your baby and pregnancy are probably not all that appropriate for work.
But everyone’s always asking about it, you say? Wouldn’t it be rude to not talk about it?
Well since you’re showing very obviously by now, everyone will be asking you things like: “How are you feeling? How is the pregnancy?” And while some people may genuinely even care about the answer, don’t kid yourself. For just as many others, those questions are just tension-soothing small talk. Don’t misunderstand and gab on.
What if it’s other people getting personal with you? After all, pregnant women are magnets for unsolicited advice, questions (and opinions) about baby names. Your co-workers may start talking about their own pregnancies and children, too. Smile, assume the best intentions, take it all in….but resist taking the bait and oversharing in return. You are the pregnant one who has to deal with the consequences of others’ new perceptions of you. Take care and safeguard numero uno.
We know this advice may sound paranoid and not sit well with some of you. However, we truly believe that everyone is better off keeping some boundaries between their work and personal lives, particularly during such a sensitive period in your life and career.
Trust us - you can be authentic and true to yourself without worrying aloud about how painful your labor is going to be. And some professional distance is going to win you respect points. You’ll need plenty of those if you plan on negotiating for more flexibility, a promotion or even a new job when you come back from maternity leave.
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How do I tell people to stop something without making me look overly sensitive?
One of my friends at work started a little contest at work where they were trying to guess my baby's future name but I haven't even told them whether I'm having a boy or a girl? They keep asking and it really annoys me because I am a pretty private person
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