Pregnancy: When you tell your boss?

Hi Elphas

I'm 10 weeks pregnant and I haven't told anyone at work.

I work a FT remote job so I've been lucky... nobody has had to see me at my worst (vomiting, extreme nausea, crying, etc.) -- Which is good and bad. Good because I can use my own bathroom always (!) -- Bad because I can't explain why I can't do calls sometimes...

I've started telling my family and friends (I know some people wait 2-4 more weeks but whatever, so is life!)

I work at a small agency and I know we don't have a maternity leave policy. I'm thinking I may need to quit my job at the start of my third trimester (due to the lack of maternity leave policy).

How do you all navigate your pregnancies at work? When do you tell your boss/coworkers? Do you usually quit your job if you're in a small company / startup?


Do any of your friends or family members know anyone where you work? If they do, you may need to tell your boss now. People inevitably blab, and then your secret is out before you are ready. If you think you’re covered, I would still wait until month four when you have that scan. Have your maternity leave ask ready when you tell them. I would not assume you have to quit: if you want to stay, tell them how they can make that possible. Here’s their test case.
I disagree. Do not tell your employer until you are ready. you have the luxury of hiding your pregnancy at home until you’re certain it’s a viable and healthy pregnancy. I would wait until 20 weeks after your anatomy scan.
I also disagree that you have to tell them now. I would personally wait unless it starts to get in the way of your performance.
If you like your job/boss - it is worth it to advocate for yourself. Bring in some data on what is typical in your industry, and best practice. Then negotiate your way from there on leave and policy.I was in a similar situation at a startup and had to take on the education myself of a small, fully young and male team.
This!! Please do this! Not just for you but for the other women at the company too.
I told my boss when I was 12 weeks (after the ultrasound and after we got the NIPT results back). It's important to let them know early I think, so they can be understanding and flexible when you need to take a morning off, go to an appointment, etc. I wouldn't tell your team until you're showing (not applicable for you since you're remote) or until the pregnancy gets in the way of some job duties (for example at some point for me I wasn't able to safely lift things in our machine shop, so had to transfer that work).In terms of leave, make sure you know what your state offers / mandates before you start the conversation - if the state mandates something then you deserve to get it. In terms of asking for leave, definitely advocate for yourself. There is a company called Sparrow (I believe the founder @dhanus is on Elpha!) that makes this easy for companies, and they might have resources you can use for advocacy. I wouldn't assume you have to quit if this is a job you like and a job you want to come back to - if you have a specific ask then tell your boss what it is and decide what to do based on what the company can do for you. Definitely
Hi, thanks for sharing, I have some thoughts. I would use my pregnancy as an opportunity to create and shape a maternity policy. Unless you want to leave, I imagine any decent company would be open to having this conversation and it could demonstrate commitment, honesty, and care for your colleagues. Do you feel like you can speak openly with your coworkers about this? For instance, "here's the time, flexibility, etc I need" and ask them directly what THEY might want as a parent and open a conversation about how to make parenthood a part of your work life.
Hi @lenore192 I've had two babies and handled this two different ways so I'll share my learnings. The first time, I hid it as long as physically possible because I was being given a promotion the very week I got a positive pregnancy test. My promotion was going to take place two months later and I wanted to hold off telling my boss/President until I could hire my backfill for my old job at the very least so that she would be down two head counts when I told her. (This was my rationale). However, once I told my boss (at 5 months) she was very upset with me for not telling her sooner. She was insulted and felt that I must not be "close" with her to need to hide this for so long. All that said, she did allude to not promoting me if she had known; so in retrospect, I'm still happy I waited as long as possible because I got to take the promotion and be in the job for a full month before telling her. The second time, I told my boss as soon as I had my big 3 month ultrasound since most miscarriages happen in the first trimester and then after that your chance drops significantly. This felt appropriate and I had no backlash for doing it at this time. SO, my learning is that you really can't please everyone and that you always need to look out for YOU. Many companies fully embrace pregnant women when hiring or those in the childbearing years but there are some that do not. I say screw it to companies that don't. As a rule of thumb (jsut my opinion though!) I would wait until the 3 month mark after your first trimester ultrasound where you can feel confident in the health and stability of your pregnancy while at the same time you are telling your company with plenty of time to hire your replacement. Lastly, why did you say you need to take the last trimester off? I only took a week off before my baby came. I think the optimal amount of time would be a couple of weeks depending on your body.Good luck.
Hi! I posted a very similar question on Elpha 2 years ago with my first pregnancy! There’s some GREAT advice on here, and it’s alllll different (very similar to when I had asked 2 years ago). Since there's no 1 right answer to this, I’d recommend thinking hard about the people, culture, and relationship you have with your direct manager and charting your plan accordingly. I ended up telling my manager super early last time (risky as I was a contractor but was v sick) and he had so much respect for me sharing that news early as a father of 4 that he converted me to full-time that week. He also assured me I’d get the full maternity benefit even though I’d been employed there less than a year. As you see above and in my case, companies can be flexible on this so you absolutely should ask for maternity leave if you want it. The whole thing is messy, hard, and unpredictable — as is parenthood — but best of luck and it will all be worth it when the new baby gets here. Congrats!
What state are you in? Depending on that information, your state will have programs that pay for maternity leave. (For example, if you are in California, both you and your spouse have paid at least $300 into the disability fund this year, you are eligible for 8 weeks of partially-paid family leave). Additionally, you should be able to get 6-8 weeks (depending on whether you delivery via C-section) and 4 weeks before birth (if you end up needed medically-necessary bed rest) through disability in your health insurance. Additionally, if you're in California and your company has at least 15 employees there, they may be required to hold your job for you while you go on parental leave. I'd spend some time researching this before making an announcement. It's a totally different conversation if you'er saying - hey, I'm pregnant. I love working here, I want to continue working here after I had a kid. I did some research and this is how I plan to take my parental leave. Additionally, while you might hate to think about this now, sometimes the worst happens. I wouldn't tell anyone my news before reaching some medical hurdles if I'm not also comfortable telling the I've had a miscarriage. I was fine with telling family and friends early on because I figured I would want their support if I miscarried. I did not feel that way about my boss.Last thing - this can unfortunately be an annoying conversation to have with work. I normally love my boss and my workplace. I'm currently pregnant in California, which really had a long of strong parental leave programs. announcement conversation wasn't great. My boss is very stressed I will just "disappear" when I'm out on leave. The time of year that I'm out on leave is typically a really slow one for us. (It's actually better for him that I'd be out and the state is paying me instead of him). We're heading into year and I'm taking on extra work, but I'm worried that I'll be screwed in my bonus because "OH MY GOD SHE'S HAVING A BABY SHE DOESN'T CARE ABOUT THE COMPANY SHE DOESN'T DESERVE A BONUS". Contrast that with my husband - no one thinks he's less serious about his job because he's becoming a father.