When I started this job back in November, I was close to 10 weeks pregnant. I didn’t say anything about it at the time, because it was my first trimester and I didn’t want to alter anyone’s perception of me as an employee.
The problem is, they hired me as a temp-to-perm employee – meaning they wanted to give me a trial run for a month or two to make sure that I could actually write before they put me on their payroll for real. Which is fine, I’m confident in my abilities as a technical writer and I don’t mind proving myself. I figured that I’d probably be transitioning over to a full-time employee around the time I was comfortable with announcing my pregnancy, so no big deal.
But then, a whole bunch of stuff happened in between (like the holidays, and other people’s vacation schedules, and one manager in particular who had absolutely nothing against me personally, but wasn’t convinced that I was right for the job because I’m “just a writer” and not a software engineer… which, um, yeah, but the job title is technical writer, dude). So, they decided to extend my contract trial run until the end of January. This is around the point where I started to get nervous because I still hadn’t told anyone that I was pregnant.
(Well, ok, let’s amend that – Dave’s manager knows, because Dave had to explain why he was leaving work in the middle of the day, when he was meeting up with me for an ultrasound appointment. Apparently his manager had no idea and just thought I was chubby. I don’t know if he’s told anyone else in the office, but I’m thinking that people must be starting to figure it out, because good grief, y’all, my expansion rate is out of control.)
Fast-forward to the past week or so: everyone is back from vacation, and I’ve apparently won over the one guy who had doubts about me, so yesterday my manager made me an offer to become a permanent employee, and I accepted. And don’t get me wrong, this is great. I love this company, my co-workers are great, I really enjoy the work that I’m doing, and the offer is for a higher pay rate than I thought I’d get. It’s all great news.
But my manager? Is based out of the Colorado office. Which means he’s never met me in person and has no idea what I look like. So… I still haven’t told him that I’m pregnant. And for those of you keeping track, I’m now 23 weeks along. Hmm.
The thing is, as a contractor, they have no obligation to me whatsoever. So even though, yes, it’s technically illegal to discriminate against me for being pregnant, they could easily say, “Well, your contract is over, thanks for your time!” and let me go with no explanation at all. And I doubt that they would do that – my manager is a really good guy, and he has kids himself, so I’m sure he’d be sympathetic. But I just didn’t want to look like I was walking in the door going, “Hey, thanks for the job and by the way, I’m gonna need some paid maternity leave in a few months…”
Also, this is terrible, but there is this stereotype of working mothers being a bit flaky. Like I’m going to collect my paid maternity leave, and then suddenly say, “Oops, sorry, I can’t possibly go back to work, I need to stay home with my new baby, thanks anyway.” I know that women who have done that probably have very valid reasons for doing so, but… well, let’s face it, they haven’t exactly done the rest of us any favors. Employers are understandably a little gun-shy about hiring someone who might quit suddenly without notice.
But this is not my first time at this particular rodeo, and I know I’m going back to work. I mean, (a) we need the money, and (b) I need to maintain my sanity. It might sound awful, but I know I’m a better mom when I get a break from being in Mommy Mode and I get to use my brain for a while. I did the stay-at-home mom thing with Catie, and while I have no regrets about it, I didn’t particularly enjoy it either, and I know that I don’t want to do it again.
So, the upshot is that I’m planning to wait until all the paperwork with Human Resources is signed, sealed, and delivered, before I tell my manager about this pregnancy. I just hope it doesn’t take too long for the paperwork to process, because I am getting awfully nervous about postponing it as long as I have.