Pregnancy can be a tough time in the careers of many women. They want to embrace motherhood with open arms but find themselves worrying about what this means for them and their careers. An employer cannot fire a woman for being pregnant, however, you may notice other kinds of issues, such as being held back from promotions and assignments. Some women even get demoted when they return from maternity leave.

When a pregnancy is managed carefully and correctly, it doesn’t need to mean the end of a woman’s career. If you work hard enough, you could even excel your career while you’re pregnant. Read on to learn more about pregnancy and your career:

Make Sure You’re Deliberate And Proactive

You absolutely must be prepared to take charge of what your career is going to look like during your pregnancy. Otherwise, you’ll find that decisions and assumptions are made on your behalf. This could harm your advancement opportunities during the pregnancy, and especially when you get back to work. Make sure you talk about what you want. Male colleagues may be sent on business travel trips instead of you, and things like this will happen throughout your pregnancy unless you make it explicitly clear on what you’re prepared to do.

Make sure you work on breaking down preconceived notions. Be specific. Say how you’re still looking forward to attending conferences and taking on certain projects. Don’t just mention it once either.

Anxiety Over Your Announcement

It’s totally normal to get a little anxiety over making your maternity announcement. Some women even had to start their own maternity leave discussions. There’s no right time to announce your news, but if you could benefit from creating a plan for your leave around 6 months in advance, the earlier you announce your pregnancy the better. The only general rule is to announce your pregnancy before you’re fully showing – they’ll be wondering why you haven’t mentioned anything when you have a clear bump on show.

It can be a good idea to talk about your pregnancy in two parts. Take your manager to one side and tell them you’re having a baby, and then arrange to discuss more in two weeks. This way, they can come up with any questions and concerns. Make sure you’re over prepared to answer questions. Know how much time you want to take off.

Once you’ve navigated how your maternity leave will go at work, you need to make sure you have it handled outside of work too. Here are some pointers that you’ll want to remember when you’re off:

  • Make sure you don’t try to be an overachiever while you’re off. Having your heart set on achieving too many goals will stress you out. If you’ve never had a child before, you can’t really know what you’re going to feel like.
  • Be aware of postpartum depression. It affects 20% of women, so there’s a chance you could suffer with it too. You should not feel any shame in this condition, but you will need to get help.
  • Keeping in touch with work when you’re on your leave is important. However, you’ll want to draw the line so you don’t feel like they’re encroaching on your maternity leave.
  • Put an emphasis on co-parenting as much as possible so you share some of the responsibilities.
  • Do your best to take each day as it comes, as your mood and opinion will likely change as you raise your baby. You might feel stressed about going back to work but don’t. Be prepared for plenty of changes in perspectives throughout your leave.
  • Be prepared to feel a little isolated when you’re off work. It can help you to make parent friends.
  • Make sure you know how to cope when you go back to work. You will miss your baby and you’ll be running off little sleep.

How Will Pregnancy Fit In With My Career?

Depending on your life and career goals, taking anywhere from 6-12 months of maternity leave may not affect your career. However, if you choose to return on a reduced number of hours this can mean it takes longer to achieve professional qualifications. Staying comfortable at work is crucial, so you want to wear clothes that suit the job and your changing body. For example, look at WonderWinkScrubShop.com to get an idea of some of the maternity work clothing available. Make sure you talk to your boss or manager if there’s anything else that can help you out.

Understand your values and goals so you can make good choices about what you truly want from your career and family life. Knowing what you want to do in the next 5-10 years can help you. You can help your chances of creating the lifestyle you want by suggesting things like early start times so you can finish early, or even working from home.

Shared parental leave will allow you and your partner to work in flexible blocks for the first year – so make sure you think about how you’d like to spend this first year and what you’ll do afterward.

You have the right to ask for flexible working hours, and your employer has to take your request seriously. By knowing exactly what you want to get out of this and combining it with your strengths, you’ll be able to manage your transition through pregnancy, your leave, and your subsequent return to work.

This can be an exciting, challenging, and scary time in your life. However, it’s one of the most magical things you’ll ever experience. By knowing exactly how you’re going to handle your maternity leave from start to finish, you get to be the boss and you don’t allow anybody else to make decisions for you. Don’t miss out on business trips if you don’t want to. Attend conferences. Make it clear how you’d like things to go from now. You’ll have a much better time and things will work out as you want them to.

 

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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