Congratulations, you're pregnant! When do you tell your boss?

communication at work d&i strategies pregnancy Oct 16, 2017

One of the things professional women struggle with when they learn they are pregnant, is communicating the news with their boss and managing communications from then on.

If you only follow one piece of advice, please don’t fall into the trap of telling anyone else at work before your boss! News travels fast and you need to remain in control.

Sharing the good news can be nerve wracking. With no-one at work to lean on for advice and support, it’s common to feel a tsunami of emotion and fear about how to approach the conversion. Some typical fears and doubts include:

“Will I be treated differently?” “Will I be passed over for leadership opportunities or long term projects?”

Don’t Be Afraid To Tell Your Manager

The good news is that most managers are very supportive and will be thrilled for you. It may also help you relax to know that you don’t need to have everything (or anything) figured out before you break the news. The conversation usually takes place over two parts:

  1. Sharing the initial news & discussing any immediate changes that need to be made

  2. Preparing to tell the team and arranging the departure date, maternity period & handover

Ideally, it is helpful  to have these conversations in person but if diaries or logistics do not allow, it is best not to keep delaying and putting off the conversation. This conversation is a great opportunity to inform your manager of your intentions and your needs. You can also quash any assumptions or concerns before they even arise e.g. you could explain that you’d like to be actively engaged until your date of departure and still considered for project work etc.

This can be a stressful time for your manager too. Make sure they understand that you are still committed to the business and your career, and that it’s important to you that your work is handed over in the best possible way and that you’ll do everything you can to help with this.

When To Share Your News?

There is no perfect time to tell your manager about your pregnancy. Your decision will be a personal one based on many factors such as how you feel, how pregnant you look, and what type of work you do.

Take time to think about this. It can be very appealing to rush in, especially if you are a bag of nerves or suffering from morning sickness. You are in control and you need to make sure the timing works for you.

Many women wait until the end of the first trimester, when their risk of miscarriage has reduced considerably. However if you’re suffering from severe nausea and vomiting or you’re already starting to change body shape, you won’t be able to keep your secret for long. If your job is strenuous or exposes you to harmful chemicals, you will probably need to share your news sooner.

If you’re in the middle of strategic planning on a long-term project and you know your absence will be felt, consider sharing your news early. You have no obligation to do so, but colleagues may not take well to discovering that the plan they have carefully mapped out with your involvement needs to be redone.

If you are particularly concerned about how your manager may react, it might be best to wait until after the fourth month of pregnancy has passed. This is a way to prove that pregnancy hasn’t affected your productivity so far. You could even time it with the completion of a project or milestone when a good mood is being shared.

We want to help you feel ready and prepared to tell your boss you are expecting, and to also feel positive and confident in managing ongoing communications throughout your pregnancy. Our FREE E-Course ‘The Courage Formula’ will let you navigate work with cool, calm and ease during your pregnancy. For access, click here.

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