How (and when) do you tell your boss you’re pregnant? What should you factor into consideration? I’ve had three different readers write to me with a question along these lines, so now seems like a great time to discuss this. Reader K is one of those readers:
Wondering what the readers think about the timing of telling your firm you are pregnant. I have made it through the 1st trimester without anyone noticing my being drag-ass tired and have somehow kept up respectable billable hours in the meantime. I planned on telling people next week, but confidentially shared the news over lunch with a female partner (I am beginning my fourth year as an associate on partner track) and her concern was my timing in terms of telling the guys/powers that be about the pregnancy. She doesn’t think I should tell them right away so that I have more time where they are continuing to give me good assignments. Besides my desire to remain on good cases, other “concerns” discussed are: 1) the fact that bonuses happen at end of the year (and that I not draw the short stick in an otherwise profitable year); and 2) review/raise time in early spring (while I am on maternity leave). Next year is the year I expected a big jump based on profitability, etc, and I hope this timing doesn’t derail all of that hard work. Is it better for me to rip the band-aid off and express these concerns with the managing partner (who I think I can have an honest discussion with) or wait until I have to tell so that there is more time for me to continue to get assigned the good work (ie, before the guys subconsciously take me off the fast track). I was planning on providing my fact-based plan of action (6 weeks short term disability, begin part time work during that time as I am able, child care taken care of, etc) at the same time. Any suggestions on the timing of all of this and how the conversation should go down?
Congratulations! (Pictured.) Here are some thoughts, both for K and other first-time moms:
- Wait as long as possible. K is happily past her first trimester, which can be exhausting and always carries with it the risk of miscarriage. But she’s still got six months to go before she’ll need maternity leave, so why would she tell the powers that be? Here are my thoughts: she won’t need special accommodations. (She should be in the “sweet spot” for pregnancy — most women experience much less nausea, fatigue, and other pregnancy aches and pains in their second trimester.) She may not start to show for another two months. (Every woman is different, but many first-time mothers don’t start showing until week 20 or so (that was when I had to make the jump to proper maternity pants; a girlfriend who is very petite and tiny just told me she didn’t announce it until she was five months along as well).) If she were quitting her job entirely a month would be generous notice. So I don’t see any reason to start telling people until she starts to show — especially when a female supervisor is suggesting she wait. I suppose there’s an argument that she could wait even longer — after all, there’s that old joke that you should never guess a woman is pregnant unless you actually see a baby coming out of her. But I think, in general, that when you move to maternity pants is the right time to say something official to your boss. [Read more…]