Complete Guide to Finding a Job During Pregnancy
If life isn’t hard enough…You now have to worry about finding a job during pregnancy
What do you do when you find yourself expecting a little one while you are unemployed? For some, they use it as a time to “nest” and prepare for their new arrival. For others, the thought of wanting to be a part of financially supporting their children comes to mind. That’s when the search for finding a job during pregnancy begins! This topic is an important one and something I experienced myself last year. It is all about finding a new job during pregnancy. In my case, I began searching for jobs in April of 2016 when I was less than 12 weeks. The search continued throughout the summer. I interviewed for the position that I have now when I was about 18 weeks. At that time, I was not showing. Therefore, it was easy for me to not have to disclose that I was expecting.
I did not want to jeopardize my chances of being offered a position, so I waited until I was actually offered the position to announce my pregnancy. After careful consideration, I chose to inform my current boss before I accepted the position. This way, I was able to be honest and transparent. I wanted to establish mutual trust instead of making it seem like I was hiding something. At six months pregnant, I began my first job.
I have been asked a few times to give my advice on if someone should pursue job opportunities during their pregnancy. My answer always varies based on a few key factors. A few questions I always ask are, “how far along are you?” “are you showing?” and, “do you have a job offer?” The latter is not as important as the first two, but it is something to consider. My advice is simply that. Advice. Everyone’s situation is different, and in the end, I suggest you do what you think is best for yourself, and for your family.
Consider when your due date is. While job hunting, take into consideration when you would like to go on maternity leave, and for how long. I was only on the job for three months before I went on maternity leave. I was there long enough to qualify for the company’s health insurance policy, but I was not there long enough to build up any paid time off for maternity leave. Therefore, I was out for 12 weeks without pay.
America’s maternity leave policy is pale in comparison to other countries.
Fortunately, my family supported me financially while I was on maternity leave. The best thing to do if you are facing an unpaid maternity leave is to save as much money as you possibly can to help support you while you are not working. I also had a baby shower and bought things to prepare for the baby before my checks stopped rolling in. I did not have to buy anything while on leave, and my mom and grandma kept me fed (Thanks, Y’all).
If you are getting pretty close to your due date, then you may want to hold off until after you have delivered and went through your recovery period.
Are you showing? This is the biggest determining factor when job hunting. It is easy to get through an interview when there is no elephant in the room to address (i.e. the “bump”). Some employers might view you as a liability. “How often is she going to miss work?” “What if we hire her and she decides to quit?” “We can’t risk hiring someone and them taking leave so soon.” “Who’s going to do her job while she’s gone?” Others are more understanding and do not let being pregnant affect their decision.
It is important to know that every company is different, and so are the people in charge. In my situation, my boss was extremely accommodating and helpful. The company culture suits me best because they care about an employee’s morale, mental health, physical health, etc. They believe that if they take care of their employees, their employees will take care of them.
However, you do not have to disclose your pregnancy, marital status, or family plans during an interview. It is a sad fact, but many women have been denied opportunities for jobs because they showed up to an interview visibly pregnant.
While you are going to job interviews, be sure to ask what the company culture is like. If they have any core values, take a look at them while you are researching their website (which you need to do, anyway). It makes a world of difference when you have co-workers that genuinely support you as a mom-to-be, and as a new mother. Plus, office baby showers are always fun!
Have you been offered the job yet? If so, take some time to consider what starting a new job while expecting will look like. Are the hours long? Do you have the freedom to go to those monthly, bi-weekly, then weekly appointments? Before you accept the offer, practice transparency and establish trust by informing your boss that you are expecting, and discuss the need to have time off for those appointments. It will also be a good time to talk about the company’s maternity leave policy. If you are searching and interviewing for positions, hold off on spilling the beans if you’re not showing. If you are, then go into that interview with as much confidence and pride as possible about your pregnancy.
Women can do it all, and if starting a new job is something that you want to do while you are pregnant, then go for it! You never know what may come of it.