Once I got engaged the questions quickly began from co-workers asking when we were getting married and if and when we wanted to start a family. I think it was only natural that I started worrying about continuing to be invited to high profile meetings and leading sales pitches. I was not only planning a wedding but wanted to start a family soon after being married. A part of me felt that as a female- the one baring children for my spouse and I- my firm may think someone else should be put on such meetings and deals- a man perhaps. A man, for example, would not need to leave early for doctor appointments, take as many bathroom breaks or take 4 months off for maternity leave (the list goes on). I’ve learned in my conversations with female friends who are also trying to “climb the corporate ladder” we share many of the same concerns.
When it came time for me to tell my boss I was pregnant I was all-nervous, excited, scared, worried and anxious to say the least. My boss, who has four children himself, was very excited for my husband and I when I told him I was pregnant. I told him at about four months and waited another 3 weeks or so to tell the entire team. I could tell already the chatter started, “was I coming back to work, was I coming back to the same position, would I want preferential treatment as a working mother?!” I tried my best being pregnant to go into the office every day, not to many share details health wise with the team (just my boss when I had to), not to complain, be early and not let anything slip. At the end of the day what I was really worried about was the perception of me changing and ultimately affecting my compensation and career development. Perhaps I’m too paranoid or I’ve seen enough working moms in the financial industry be viewed as a riskier employee as you add more responsibilities in your personal life. When my husband told his job he was having another baby it was all celebration, he felt none of the hesitancy to share the good news that I felt. I believe that as women we literally and figuratively have to carry it all. Although perception is not always reality I feel that everyday I must prove even more than before I was a mother- that I am deserving of my title, future promotions and higher compensation.
If I had to do it all again I would still tell my boss I was pregnant when I did. I made sure that I was on top of my game during my pregnancy while in the office and always kept my manager updated on when I needed to be out or leave early for doctor appointments. Finally, I went on maternity leave having handed over all items I had been working. I created a folder in the team shared drive detailing each of my responsibilities for those backing me up. Although I didn’t work from home at all during my leave (can you imagine this one was of my worries after just giving birth!) I did make it a point to check in monthly and log in to clean up my emails.