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The Baby Talk…With Your Boss
Work-Life Wellbeing

The Baby Talk…With Your Boss

“We need to talk”. The words everyone dreads, but this time, it is all good - because you’re having a baby, and you are the boss of this journey. Time to let your other boss in on the news. While it may feel daunting, it does not need to be. Let’s read what Mommy's Bliss 360 expert and Hiring Consultant/Career Coach, Ashley Mina has to say about how to delve into “all the things” with the bossman…or woman. We think your excitement will be contagious.

Your guide to seeking support during Pregnancy, Maternity Leave, and Beyond at Work

You took “the” test, maybe even told close friends or family. Maybe you called your OB to schedule an appointment. And, while the dust of excitement surely hasn’t settled, you now may be thinking ...how or when do I tell my boss? Do I tell HR first? My desk buddy?

Communication and timing are key aspects of navigating your pregnancy journey at work. It can be confusing or challenging, but don’t worry, that’s why I’m here!

Since you may have a lot on your mind already, let’s make it easier for you! Below your is Step by Step guide on how to effectively communicate what you need at work:

Stage 1: Pregnancy: The Groundwork. First things first, there is no “perfect time” of when you should share the good news with your boss.

“Early” notification is considered considerate. However, there is no “rule” of when you have to tell them. A lot of folks tend to wait until second semester, some choose to tell them right away. The decision is personal, but here are 3 clear steps to starting the groundwork:

  1. Read up! It’s always helpful to review your state and companies policies on pregnancy & parental leave. Know your rights and what to prepare for.
  2. Schedule a casual meeting with your Boss (or HR) They should be the first to know. This opens the dialogue, and ensures everyone is on the same page.
  3. Be Clear and Positive: This is good news! Don’t be afraid to share your excitement! Be clear about your expected due date and your intention about working “business as usual” until then. Keep the delivery of news short and sweet. Leave time for them to be excited and share their excitement as well. Knowing you, you may already be thinking about workload and transition. Don’t worry about that right now! Enjoy the moment.
  4. Discuss Potential Adjustments: There are instances in which you may need to disclose your pregnancy earlier if there are medical needs or if the nature of your role puts your pregnancy at risk, at which point you should also schedule a meeting with HR.
  5. Communication: You should tell your boss when you feel comfortable sharing the news with the rest of the team and what you want that communication to look like.

It’s natural to feel unwell during pregnancy or need accommodation or flexibility for appointments. Be clear and concise about what you need. Having taken the extra time to brush up on the state and company policies will be helpful for this!

Two examples:

  • If you’ve found that your nausea comes at the end of the day, consider rescheduling your 1:1’s with your boss for earlier in the day.
  • If you need to have a weekly dr. appointments with your OB, let your boss know as soon as possible and get it on the calendar.

Maternity Leave: The Transition
As the due date approaches, effective communication during this phase makes everyone’s transition smooth and stress-free:

  1. Discuss Handover Plans: Collaborate with your team and boss to plan a smooth handover of responsibilities. Document any key tasks, contacts or projects that you play a key role in and who or when you plan to hand those off.
  2. Set Boundaries & Expectations: Before you head out on leave, let your boss or team know how, if, or when you prefer to be contacted. Your time on leave is yours. Remember those policies and rights!

End of Leave: The Return
Returning to work after maternity leave can be challenging – personally and professionally. Here's how to make the transition smoother:

  1. Confirm Return Date: Your HR or Benefits Rep will be in touch with you before your anticipated return date. Discuss any adjustments to your schedule with them as soon as you can, making the transition back anticipated and manageable.
  2. Discuss Flexibility & Accommodations needed: If needed, have a conversation about flexible work arrangements with HR before (and during) your return. This could include:

    Adjusted hours or the possibility of remote work. Now they may not be required to allow either due to the nature of the role, or company policies, but communicating that flexibility can greatly contribute to a smoother return.

    Information on the Nursing room and accommodations for pumping. (US Dept. Labor, 2022​​) For more information on preparing for pumping at work, check out another article from Mommy’s Bliss 360 here!

General Tips:

  1. Use Positive Language: When communicating any of your needs, frame your language positively. Express your excitement, even when addressing accommodations. This baby is a positive thing, and you are also excited to come back to work 😉
  2. Be Honest and Transparent: Be clear and honest about your needs and expectations. Making sure that your boss and team are on the same page will help to nurture a trustworthy relationship.
  3. Advocate for Yourself: Clearly state your needs and ask questions without hesitation. This is your journey, healthy and clear communication ensures that your needs are met.
  4. Seek Support: Don't hesitate to seek support from HR or Employee Assistance Programs. Policies, programs and teams are in place for this very reason. Understand and take advantage of any and all benefits that you may need or that interest you. Understanding your rights and the resources available to you can make the entire pregnancy, maternity leave, and return to work more manageable.

The pregnancy journey is unique to you! It is exciting, nerve-wracking and challenging, especially when thinking about work. However, your work shouldn’t dictate how exciting this next chapter in our life is. Reach out to ask for help, ask questions, and communicate your needs! ​​​

For additional information on Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Employer requirements for pumping, please check out: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pump-at-work

This site is intended for informational purposes only and does not provide medical advice. Please consult your physician or other health-care professional.

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