Becoming pregnant and managing a career is not easy. Of course there are now rules in place and regulations that mean you are entitled to a certain amount of time off. Your boss likely totally understands and in reality the important people know that none of that time is “time off”. Maternity leave is not a holiday. Yet there are still those eyes around the room that like to judge. There are those whispers that say “I suppose I’ll be doing her work for the next few months”, Those fingers that point when you do get a promotion that say “She got a promotion and took most of the year off, what about me?”. The answer is of course to ignore those people, use the system to your advantage and continue kicking ass in your career. Working while pregnant is tough. Finding a job while pregnant is tougher.
The guilt that comes with interviewing for a job while pregnant can be crippling. The first decision is whether you should mention it or not? This of course depends on how far along you are. If you are nine months pregnant and barely able to walk in the door, we suggest you mention it, if you are one month pregnant and haven’t even told your mum then it makes sense not to share the news. However it usually falls between those two times and it is constantly a challenge to know what to do. If your belly is not showing there is the moral dilemma of hiding your pregnancy from your potential future employer. If your belly is showing there is the awkward scenario of them knowing and you not saying.
The experts online will tell you that you should not mention it in the first interview but should highlight it if they offer the job. This is like a trap though. Your employer has offered you the job so telling them at this point that you’re pregnant is basically saying “ I dare you not to hire me now”. While they will likely still hire you, they probably won’t be your biggest fans.
From my experience the best approach is to be honest from the outset. I have interviewed while pregnant and been doing incredibly well in an interview for a dream job, only to have my potential employer seemingly find a better candidate once they found out my news. However I have also been in a situation where I told those interviewing the news and they were simply excited for me and were still delighted to hire me. Those are the people that I want to work for.
The worst experience though was one of the first job interviews I had after I found out I was pregnant. I hid it, I never mentioned my news. Although I was perfect for that job I interviewed terribly because I was ruined with guilt. If you can be honest and yourself you may get refused by a number of companies but the one that takes a chance on you will be the right fit.
Of course that is easy to say. If you are desperate for a job you don’t want to lower your chance by removing about half the potential employers at the outset. So if you do feel the need to avoid mentioning your pregnancy, then that is ok too. The game is set up to pick on pregnant mothers so we have to do what we need to do to get by as well. If you get that job and one day have to walk into your new employer’s office and say that you will be soon going on maternity leave then do it with an honest and excited approach. You are more than just a few months of work. You will likely be with that company for years and your skills and talents will earn them a lot of money in the future. So what if they have to help you for a few months at the start.