At 17 weeks and three days pregnant, I finally told my employer that I'm expecting my second child. Just like with my first child, I was scared to death to share my news and held off telling work as long as my baby bump would allow. Layered, flowing shirts and loose pants aided nicely in my endeavor to keep my secret as long as possible.
It’s a sad truth, but while your manager, boss, supervisor (call them what you may) will congratulate you, behind their forced smile, they're likely predicting how this life change will impact your performance and their workload.
“How many hours or days of work will she miss for OB visits?”
“Will she return to work after her maternity leave?”
“How much of her maternity leave will she utilize?”
“Will she constantly be taking off work because the baby is sick or childcare falls through?”
“Will she be too exhausted and sleep deprived to focus?”
“Will she resent coming to work and have a poor attitude, wishing she were at home with her baby instead?”
Sure these are valid concerns for employers, but moms and moms-to-be carry their own set of worries when it comes to post-pregnancy employment.
“Will my employer find a replacement while I'm on maternity leave?”
“Will my job offer a flexible transition period when I go back to work?”
“Will I still be a candidate for a previously discussed promotion?”
“Will my office support and provide space and time for me to pump breast milk?”
“Will it be frowned upon when I take off time from work for my child's doctor's appointments?”
So, this week, when the maternity pants became mandatory to accommodate my growing waistline, so did telling the truth to my boss. And you'd think that I'd feel secure in sharing my news— I've worked for the same company for seven years; have been promoted twice; have received numerous performance awards; and have already had a baby, returned to work, and successfully demonstrated the ability to balance both a career and motherhood. But, walking into my boss’s office, my heart raced, my palms got sweaty, and I felt as if I were turning myself in for committing some sort of unlawful act. Of course, her response was gracious and congratulations were shared, but I left her office knowing that deep inside, she was disappointed to lose a little bit more of me to motherhood again.