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What to Expect (From Your Office) When You're Expecting

August 18, 2014, 9:00 AM

Liz Ryan over at Forbes has a terrific piece up about how to tell your boss you're pregnant. It's a fun read that features the story of how she found out and announced that she was expecting not one child, but twins.

Telling your boss and co-workers that you're having a baby (and will be taking time off) doesn't have to be stressful or frightening, says Ryan. Here are four bits of strategy to help you out:

1. Be sure to pass on the news at your earliest convenience. This doesn't mean "break the news immediately" because coming to terms with a pregnancy and alerting loved ones takes priority. It also may take time to muster up the courage to unleash a secret that will forever alter the way you're perceived in the workplace. Still, the sooner you let your boss know, the better. Ryan recommends the four-month mark -- this gives your office plenty of time to prepare. 

2. Before you announce, map out a tentative timeline with estimates of when you'll be leaving and when you can reasonably be expected to return. Note that this estimated return date need not be set in stone (there are a lot of variables at play); your co-workers should understand that. Still, Ryan stresses that communicating calendar projections will help your employers decide if they'll need to hire a temp to cover your workload.

3. Ease the blow on your boss. He or she is likely under a lot of pressure and could potentially become stressed at the prospect of such a big shift in plans. Take initiative. Handle the organizing yourself. Devise a strategy for how your office could potentially cope without you. Offer to train your subordinates to take on your workload. You can still have a lasting effect on how the place runs even when you're away on leave. Plant those roots early. As Ryan notes, already having your ducks in a row when you tell your boss will massively ease their mind.

4. Don't feel guilty. This cannot be stressed enough. Expectant mothers, especially in America, are too often seen as burdensome or even selfish, probably due to an unfriendly cocktail of workplace pressure and archaic ignorance. Despite the apprehensions of our legislators, it most certainly takes a village to raise a child. Your boss and co-workers should be expected to treat pregnancy as a joyous and socially-important event worth making sacrifices for. Workplace culture and sentiments with regard to expectant mothers won't improve if you continuously lace your announcement with apologies. Be strong, be confident, and most importantly: know your rights.

Read more at Forbes

Photo credit: g-stockstudio / Shutterstock


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