The decision to start a family often involves long and tedious planning. After all, we’re talking about raising a kid here. From the nine months of pregnancy to the painful day of delivery, it is no less than a roller coaster ride. Those pursuing their work career would require more elaborate planning in regards to the work-life balance. However, this is not the case for all. For some, pregnancy comes as a surprise, threatening to throw the balance out of their lives. When you’ve had a surprise pregnancy, everything seems to take the back burner. And the one area that particularly gets affected is your job.
Now add to this, the situation where the aforementioned job is in fact a new one, one that you recently joined. You might be terrified to tell your superiors about your pregnancy in fear that the response won’t be that welcoming. Here’s where we would like to remind you that gone are the days when pregnant women couldn’t have a say in the workspace. Read on to find out how you can handle work despite the surprise visit from the little intruder in your belly:
1. Your Boss Needs To Know
Depending on your condition, you will be taking at least a couple of months of maternity leave. Rest of the months you might totally be able to handle your work depending on the nature of work. Now the first step in ensuring that your pregnancy is accommodated by your colleagues is to communicate the situation to your superiors. It is important that your boss is kept in the loop regarding the latest developments in your status. After all, your boss will also have to arrange for substitutes and would need prior readiness in doing so. Having your boss as your confidant would ease the whole process and not escalate it into a tense situation. Trying to hide the situation, on the other hand, can create an ugly mess of this simple situation.
2. Remember That You’re Entitled To Maternity Leave
Modern workplaces take maternity leave seriously. Maternity leave is a right for you to take when you are pregnant (1). Don’t be worried about the fact that you joined very recently and that might have some kind of negative impression on your career. After all, it was not something you had planned for yourself. But now that you are pregnant, no one has any right to judge your decision. It is a leave of absence designed specifically for this situation and you should take it without having second thoughts.
3. Career-Oriented Women Can Be Good Mothers Too!
There’s a common (and sad) misconception that if you’re a strong-willed woman who is career-oriented, you’re probably a bad mother who ignores her child. On the other end of the spectrum, there is the age-old notion that having a baby affects one’s quality of life. Both are extreme opinions and you shouldn’t let such thoughts occupy your mind. Women have been acing the balancing game for decades now and with the right attitude, there’s no reason why you too wouldn’t be able to do it. And if things get just too much out of hand, seek help from your partner or family members. Once you get the hang of balancing your work while still being pregnant, you will be filled with a sense of pride for accomplishing something you thought was so difficult. Don’t be too hard on yourself for being a little late now and then. Pregnant women, as well as new mothers, often have to deal with unforeseen circumstances, for example, your little one let out a poop just when you were about to take that online call. Communicate the circumstances to your colleagues and surely they would try to understand your situation
4. Don’t Hesitate To Reach Out
When you realize that there’s so much to do and you only have two hands, call for help. Ask your partner to pitch in (if they aren’t already). Take up that offer from the friend who said they’ll send you dinner. Pregnancy and parenting are difficult as it is, and adding work to that mix can be exhausting. It’s okay if you want a weekend just to relax; in fact, you need a bit of a hiatus. So, go ahead and ask someone reliable who you know to take care of your bundle of joy for a while so you can get some time off for yourself. Friends and family are people you know and trust. Learn to trust them with your baby and you will see that your bonding with them too develops and gets stronger. Your parents might also be waiting to spend time with you as well as your baby. Take this opportunity to invite them over and enjoy some quality time together.
5. Find Ways To Manage Your Symptoms
We’re not going to sugarcoat it — working while pregnant is not a walk in the park, but we would like to express the fact that it is indeed totally possible. There may be days when you want to puke your guts out, and there may be days when your back feels like a thousand elephants are walking on it. Pregnancy can be uncomfortable, so ask your doctor for remedies or interventions to deal with highly uncomfortable symptoms. For example, cushions can help with lower backache, so carry a small one for your office chair. Similarly, a small ottoman can help when your legs feel like they’re swollen. Place your feet on them as you’re working through the day. You can look up many such small hacks that go a long way in relieving stress and providing comfort to your well-being.
6. Explore The Office Policies And Perks
Now that you know you’re pregnant, you’ll have to make some adjustments and decisions. Sit with HR and find out the policies that your organization offers. Then, chalk out a plan that includes how long you will be working, when you plan to begin your maternity leave and a tentative date for your return to work. Make a list of all the pending work, so you can wrap it up and do a good handover for the time you will be gone.
The news of your pregnancy probably brought a lot of joy as well as fear. But you’re not the only one to feel this way. It is a life-changing experience, and things may look different from now, but you’ve got this! Take it in your stride and see what’s in store for you! What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below!
- Family and Medical Leave FMLA