Questions to consider before you reveal your pregnancy at work

With a little one on the way, you’ve got big news to break! As exciting as this reveal can be, you might still feel some anxiety about announcing your pregnancy – particularly to your employer.

If you’ve been wondering when and how to tell your employer about your pregnancy, consider these questions.

What’s your workplace’s pregnancy protocol?

Some employers use handbooks or employee contracts to clearly outline their expectations of when, how, and to whom employees should disclose their pregnancies. In other workplaces, though, these assumptions may be unspoken. Thinking about when and how your co-workers announced their pregnancies (and what type of responses they got) can be helpful in navigating your own reveal process.

Do you know who to tell?

As a general rule, try to refrain from telling coworker friends before you tell your higher-ups; it’s best for your manager not to hear about your pregnancy from someone else. It’s your call on whether you want to tell HR or your manager first, though. For the most part, your manager is probably your best bet, unless you don’t think they’ll respond positively. If this is the case for you, Human Resources is definitely the appropriate choice.

If you’re unsure about how to approach your manager, reach out to a colleague that you trust and ask for their advice.

Do you know what to say?

It’s best if you keep the first conversation with your boss/HR short and simple. It will be fine to say something like, “I’m pregnant, I feel great and am doing fine at work.  I’m due on this date, and I know at some point we’ll need to begin thinking about my maternity leave.” Don’t stress about your long-term plans right now; later on down the line will be a better time to officially negotiate your leave with your boss or HR. Plan to go into the conversation reassuring your boss or HR that you will return to work, even if you’re not 100% sure. Pregnancy lasts quite a while and a lot can happen in these next several months, so you want to keep your options open! 

Is the timing right to tell?

Once you’ve decided whom you’re going to tell, consider the timing of your announcement. If you have a promotion or review coming up, for example, waiting to break the big news could boost your work image and make your news even sweeter to share. If you have an assignment coming up that you won’t be able to complete due to your pregnancy, though, it may be courteous to notify your co-workers sooner rather than later about your plans and abilities.

If you’re waiting to meet with your manager and want to keep your news private, anticipate some situations that will require strategic thinking. For example, in drinking environments with coworkers, some women might pull a server aside and let them know that they’re pregnant, but that their coworkers don’t know. Other women choose to invest in flowy shirts or other loose-fitting clothing before they reveal the news.

Remember, the first time that you disclose your pregnancy at work is best kept short and sweet and kept between just you and your manager or you and HR. Regardless of when you break the news, keep doing your best work to remind your manager and coworkers what a valuable asset and incredible person you are! Your hard work will pay off, and they’ll find it even easier to support you on your journey.

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