Sunday, August 25, 2013

Telling the boss

Jeremy and I are still deciding whether or not to publish the post I wrote about finding out Sasha 3.0's gender, way back in April when I was 15 weeks. For now, I'm giving you a post I wrote on 10 April 2013, when I was almost 16 weeks, about telling my boss the pregnancy news.

On Sunday, I finally told my boss that I'm pregnant, and due in September, which means I can't teach during the Fall 2013 semester. I am almost 16 weeks now, but I've put it off this long because I found the task terrifying. For starters, I'm part-time, which means that I'm under no obligation to tell them anything about my future availability for work, since they are under no obligation to re-hire me each semester. But there was a building expectation in the department - and a possibility in my own mind - that I would eventually move to a full-time position. Telling my boss I was pregnant felt a little bit like sending a message that work is not that important to me and that an application to a full-time position will not be happening anytime soon.

In reality, of course, it's a much more nuanced message and a more complicated decision, one that I haven't quite made yet and might not make for many months. The semester-based schedule of academia makes it hard to jump in and out of work for time-indefinite events like pregnancy, so at this point, I've just made a mental note to reconsider the decision to go back to work sometime in January 2014. Assuming of course, that there is an offer of work in place, because there may not be (see part-time status, above). I love my job and I'm afraid to let it go, even out of necessity. That's why it was so terrifying to tell my boss.

(So why did I tell, you might ask, if I was still able to physically hide my condition? Because I had to tell my spinning instructor a few weeks ago due to very real concerns about high-intensity exercise during pregnancy, and I knew it was only a matter of time before news got around. The only thing worse than having to tell my boss myself would be having her hear it from someone else.)

For now, though, my students still don't know. I might tell them tomorrow. I might put it off a little longer. It's funny to me that I stand in front of them for six hours a week and no one has noticed my growing midsection yet. (Well, they might have noticed, but they probably just think I'm getting fat.) The act of telling my students will be easier than telling my boss, and the ramifications are fewer because I say goodbye to them in a few months, but the time period between now and then will be the hardest. Once I tell them, I will no longer be just a person to them. I'll be a woman who is expecting a baby, along with all the cultural and experiential baggage that goes along with that. I'll also have to deal with my changing body shape in front of 30+ young adults.

Yeah, not really looking forward to that.


Ariana said...

I can relate in some way. When I was pregnant with my first, I was working at a landscaping company (mowing lawns, pruning, hauling heavy things, etc). I had just gotten health insurance through them when we found out, so I decided to keep my mouth shut to my boss until it was absolutely necessary. My husband was looking for work, so I needed to stay working in order to maintain health coverage. I felt fantastic, and my CNM said it was fine for me to work, so I did! Lucky for me, when I started showing, it got cold, so I just wore a big company hoodie which hid everything. The problem was PANTS. Oh man. We were required to wear these uniform pants, which already fit me poorly because they were mens. So when I couldn't button them anymore, I used a rubberband on the button. That worked fine for awhile, with the sweatshirt over. But by the time I hit 20 weeks and found out the gender, something had to be done. I worked with the same person every day...a very sweet guy from Mexico. I got brave one day, and while I was driving the truck, I said, "Hey Salvador, I have to tell you a secret." He looked at me kinda funny, then nodded. "There are actually THREE people in this truck right now," I said. He said there for what felt like forever, then suddenly it clicked. Haha!! It was awesome. He was very excited for me, and did a great job of keeping my secret for another week until I got the guts to tell my boss. One day I took my ultrasound picture in to work, and showed it to my boss at the end of one day. Good grief, was I nervous! I have no idea why though, because he was really nice. He just about jumped out of his seat with excitement, and started telling me all about how thrilled he was when they had their kids, and on and on. He said they would happily keep me employed as long as I wanted to stay, and they would find other things for me to do if the work got too physically difficult. I ended up staying until I was like 24 weeks, and ended my last two weeks by planting a few thousand annual flowers for their fall plantings. What was funny, right after I told my boss, he asked if there was anything I needed. "PANTS THAT FIT." He about died laughing when I told him how I was wearing the uniform pants. He told me to just wear some comfortable maternity jeans. Score! So the next day when I showed up out of uniform and the guys razzed me about it, I showed them my ultrasound pic, and instantly had all their respect. "You've been working all this time?!?!" It was awesome.

Bridget said...

Um, that IS awesome. I'm so glad it turned out ok for you! And I am totally impressed you were doing so much physical labor that far into a pregnancy while still keeping it secret. :)

Kathy Haynie said...

So, how did it go with your boss?

Ariana said...

Thank the good Lord for cold Fall weather that year, rubberbands, and oversized sweatshirts. :)

Ariana said...

I'm not sure how I handled the needing to pee every hour during the first trimester. Finding a bathroom as a landscaper is seriously hard!

Liz Johnson said...

Yeah, how was the response??

Bridget said...

Oh, it was fine. No guarantees of future employment, of course, but I'll check in with the department when it's time and see what's going on.


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