I’m now almost 7 months pregnant, but I didn’t tell my boss until I was about 5 months along. It was a few days before I was scheduled to go on a business trip to Austin and I wanted to let them know before I left so I wouldn’t have to lift any heavy boxes or do any manual labor while I was there. 😉
I didn’t really know anyone that had ever had to have this discussion with their boss, so I did a lot of Googling to find out what the appropriate protocol was. The consensus was to draft a letter that outlined my expected maternity leave and how my projects and workload could be maintained while I’m away.
Even though I work in a VERY casual work atmosphere with some very laid-back folks in Berkeley (every day is casual Friday and on most days, even hair-brushing is optional), I drafted a ridiculously formal letter that included what Google had informed me were reasonable amounts of time to request for maternity leave (internet research indicated that 8 weeks is the norm).
I sat down with my boss and let her know the good news. “I’m pregnant!”
Her reaction surprised me. She sighed a little and looked both surprised and frustrated. I thought that was such an odd reaction at the time. After a minute, she gave me a hug and told me congratulations. Then she said, “This is so strange. I sat down with my boss about 20 minutes ago and told him that I’M pregnant.”
What are the odds?!
Luckily, we are not due at the exact same time. My due date is July 20 and her’s is in early October, but our leave times will certainly overlap. As she later explained to me, as one of the “Best Companies for Working Mothers,” my employer actually has a great maternity leave policy that will allow me to take at least 4 and a half months off and even a little more if I dipped into my vacation time. My boss said she definitely expects to take the full 4.5 months off, and so should I.
I walked into that meeting feeling so nervous and unsure, but I left feeling like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I had more than doubled my expected leave time! My boss was pregnant, too, so she’ll surely understand when I complain of morning sickness or exhaustion!
The other great part is knowing that when I do return from maternity leave, I can maintain my current schedule of working a few days from home so the transition won’t be as drastic. On the down side, my due date is almost exactly 1 month before my five year anniversary with this company, which would have scored me an extra 2 weeks of maternity leave, but I’m still feeling pretty great about how it all worked out!