Pursuing a Promotion While PregnantIn the fall of 2018, I applied for a new role within my organization. It seemed like a great fit that would give me an opportunity realize one of my career goals. I thought, “How can I pass this up?” There was just one important factor to consider: I was 5 months pregnant. But, I wasn’t going to let that stop me from growing in my career. If you’ve been considering whether or not you should pursue a promotion while pregnant, here are a few tips on how I approached my situation and how you might, too:
Know Yourself and Your LimitationsAlong with all the new learning curves that come with taking on a new position at work, don’t forget to consider that you’ll be taking on the additional role of becoming a mother. That’s taking on a lot of change and responsibility at once! So take a personal inventory and decide if you’ll be able to handle it. If you have a partner, talk with them about the pros and cons, search your heart, and listen to your gut. Ultimately, know that taking on this promotion at this time in your life will challenge you to be the best version of yourself.
Seek Advice, But Be Ready for Lots of OpinionsSolicit advice from peers and mentors who can help prepare you for what is to come. It’s extremely valuable to learn from other mom’s experiences, but when you open yourself up for advice, be ready for a lot of divergent opinions to come your way, too. You may find that women colleagues who continue to advance their career while also starting their family are generally encouraging and supportive. But, speaking from my experience, you may also encounter others who think you’re making a big mistake by taking on a promotion and becoming a mother at the same time. Appreciate their perspective, but don’t let it completely deter you from pursuing your goals. Take each nugget of advice that comes your way with a grain of salt and use them to educate and prepare yourself for the possibilities.
Honesty is the Best Policy…But Also Know Your Rights.Taking on a new role while pregnant will be challenging for both you and your organization, so I approached the topic with as much honesty as possible when talking with my hiring director. That way, we were able to take a collaborative approach to plan for my maternity leave. Although you’re not obligated to disclose your pregnancy and you may feel like you’re running the risk that that information could be used to discriminate against you, know that such discrimination is illegal based on the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1970. At the end of the day, it’s your decision, but if you’re going to start a new position, think about whether you really want to start off those new working relationships by withholding information. Visit U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for more information and to understand your legal rights and protections, too. Ultimately, I am satisfied and proud of this career move. I found that taking on this promotion at this time in my life challenges me to be the best version of myself. I hope that I am able to show the women that I have the opportunity to work with and mentor that they don’t have to make a choice between their career and starting a family. That they don’t have to postpone their professional advancement in order to pursue their personal goals.
What’s your take?Have you pursued a promotion or job change while pregnant? Are you thinking about doing so? What’s holding you back? What factors are you considering when weighing your choices to move forward? Share your experience in the comments below.
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