Article in brief: How do you manage yourself at work when you learn that you’re expecting a baby? What questions do you ask yourself in order to maintain a healthy home-work balance?
When I first found out I was expecting a baby, I was overjoyed and filled with excitement at the prospect of being a mother. However, I also had to keep in mind that I was going to be a working mother. Therefore, the first question that came to my mind as I stood in my office and the realization hit me that I really was pregnant was “Do I tell my boss that I’m pregnant?”
Some women choose not to tell their employer that they’re pregnant until they complete their 1st trimester while others decide that they would like to share the news with their employer just in case they need to take some time off. Both ways can work because it all depends on how comfortable you are with your workplace.
I chose not to share the news immediately, and decided to just go with the flow. I decided that I’ll tell my boss when the time is right. Fortunately for me, the time at which my pregnancy started was perfect. I had just started my leave so I didn’t need to worry about taking time off work for my prenatal visits.
When I went back to work, I still wasn’t comfortable about sharing the news, as I was only half way through my first trimester. Therefore, I had to take things easy without making it obvious. The first thing I did was change my eating habits. I said goodbye to the drawer filled with junk food in my office and exchanged them with healthy and organic items.
Then I asked myself, can I work throughout my pregnancy? You can say yes and no to this. It all depends on whether you’re having a healthy pregnancy. My advice is to stay positive. If you manage to do it well, then you can work while being pregnant. I shuffled my workload and depended more on my team because I used to do a lot of off-site visits myself. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t move a lot and was always in a safe environment.
Time management is an important skill to possess while being pregnant. I came to work early, and left on time. I made sure tasks and meetings were done within the working time frame. I knew overtime wasn’t going to keep me or the baby healthy, so I had to ensure I managed my time properly.
Rest if you’re feeling tired at work. Look for resting opportunities throughout the day. There’s nothing wrong with getting out of the office and getting a bit of fresh air. Grab something to drink, take a seat and elevate your feet for 15 minutes. Stretching helps tone those sore muscles as well.
Once you’ve completed your first trimester, you’re considered to be in the safe zone. Though even if you’re safe, you still have to take care of yourself. When I entered my second trimester, I decided to tell my boss. My boss was happy with the news, and gave me his blessings but I felt that there was a tad bit of concern on his face.
I decided that I was going to keep an open communication with him, and be transparent. I disciplined myself, managed all my projects on time, and told him what I could do and what I could not so there weren’t any surprises.
The only issue that I faced at work was the prenatal doctor visits, which are a necessity. From the beginning, my husband and I decided that we wanted to go to a government hospital – Latifa hospital. I was impressed by their facilities and childcare so I wanted my child to be born there. The hospital visits became more frequent as I got well into my second trimester. But Latifa hospital only gave appointments between 7:30 and 14:30, which meant that I had to take a day off work. At some appointments my doctor would prescribe an extra day or two of bed rest because my blood levels were lower than usual.
I tried my best to keep the lines of communication open between the employees and myself. I even worked from home on days that I had to rest so I could assist on all their projects. I was trying to avoid the stereotype that some people had about pregnant women and tardy work.
All in all, it depends on you on how you want to be classified at work. Before making any decisions make sure that it is you who is comfortable with it. Always keep an open and transparent communication with your boss, and rest when you need to.
To read part 2 of this topic, click here.
Fatma (Fay), Emirati girl, with an experience in Corporate Communications and CSR. She is passionate about anything that is traditional and Emirati. In her free time she loves to watch Japanese anime, read manga, and play videogames. Spas are not the only thing that relaxes her, but cooking as well.
Fay’s columns observe work-life experiences and balance. A lot of her articles are based on first-hand personal experiences and issues she has seen or been part of. She loves to observe her surroundings, and watch how people handle different situations they’ve been put in.Also, she is trying to balance the art of staying positive at work and helping her peers understand that not everything should be a problem. With her writings she hopes to make a difference and make people more observant of the little problems in life, or work that hasn’t escalated to a catastrophe. It’s the little things that matters.