Wednesday, June 13, 2012

MiM Mailbag: When to disclose your pregnancy at work?

Two MiM Mailbags with a similar theme...


Hi,
I am about to start Internal Medicine internship at a medium-sized county program.  I have a 2 year old son.  I had originally applied to residency when I was pregnant with him, but withdrew my application.  The Program Director of the program I matched in told me at that time "We wondered what you were going to do when you had the baby.  Glad you made the choice to take time off before starting."  Well, now I find myself pregnant again.  I am due Dec 20.  My current schedule has me scheduled for Medicine wards from Dec 13-Feb 6.  I know that I will definitely need to make a schedule change.  I am nervous to tell my Program Director.   Luckily, I am not showing yet at all (so my family and friends tell me).
Regarding childcare, my husband is taking a leave of absence from his career to care for our son and for our future child. So, While I do not really "want" a short maternity leave, I am prepared to only take off the minimum I will need.
Any thoughts or advice on how to navigate these waters?

Thanks,
S

***

Hi,
I am pregnant with twins and going to start my new job in the fall, and I am trying to decide whether to tell the hospital/group I am working with before I start which is right at the beginning of the second trimester.  Or should I tell them before they pay for my move in case they don't want me?  I think they will as it took them a long time to recruit me and recruiting has been an issue since it is somewhat rural.  And they knew I was planning on becoming pregnant at some point and were fine with that.
What would you do?
Thanks,
A

8 comments:

  1. I was absolutely terrified to tell my boss I was pregnant recently. I actually had nightmares about it. But when I got up the nerve, he gave me a huge smile and said, "Congratulations!" I couldn't believe I had stressed about it so much.

    To #2, there is no way they would revoke their offer to you just based on you being pregnant. In this day and age, I'm sure they're smart enough to know you could slap them with a lawsuit. I think as long as you're past the first trimester and the highest risk of miscarriage, the respectful thing to do is let them know asap so they can make arrangements.

    To #1, you especially should let them know immediately. Your change will affect other people's schedules and they have a right to know asap so they can plan their own vacations, etc.

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  2. I had the same experience Fizzy did telling my PI about my pregnancy.

    I believe if you have a contract in place already, it would be illegal for them to revoke your job on the basis of a pregnancy. And in both cases, the considerate thing to do is let them know ASAP so that they can make arrangements for coverage. If you waited until you started to tell them, I think it would come across as though you were trying to hide something, and would probably irk them more.

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  3. I agree. Transparency is always the best choice. You should not start a long term relationship with deception. Most places are now very comfortable with parenting issues, and I hope that was part of your decision-making originally. It's scary, but I imagine you will find that the outcome is much better than you worry it will be.

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  4. Yes, tell them as soon as possible, and do so without apologizing. If you announce your pregnancy in a straighforward manner and with happiness, I think you'll find a better reception. Whenever I've had to tell my various bosses about my pregnancies (and there have been 5 now), I tell them something like, "I wanted to let you know that my husband and I are expecting another baby in December. Could we talk a little about how to best arrange the schedule so that the other partners are affected as little as possible?" The only exception I'd make would be for #2- if you haven't yet signed a contract, I would wait until that is complete before telling them. Like others have said, I'm pretty sure it would be illegal for them to get rid of you because of a pregnancy.

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  5. I just want to throw out there that you aren't eligible for FMLA until you have worked for a year at most places, meaning you ARE NOT guaranteed a job when you come back...

    I agree with Fizzy for #1 though, and it would be interesting to know what the Program Director meant by that statement- as in "oh, we're glad for your sake you took time off" or "oh, we dodged a bullet by her taking off"...hopefully it is the first and not the second, if it is the second it sounds like things will be an up-hill battle.

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  6. Having had my second child as a second year resident, I can happily say there have been no problems with scheduling. Pregnancy is a possibility for any working woman, and all employers (including residency programs) are aware of this. They can give you the time off and cover for you. That's already built into the organization of residency. In my case with both vacation and FMLA, 12 weeks was the maximum time off allowed without necessitating a repeat of second year from the beginning. I agree with everyone above that the earlier you tell your program director, the better off everyone else will be, especially you. Carrying around the anxiety of pregnancy and not being able to tell anyone is a stress in itself (not good for you or baby). So tell them and be done with it. No one said this will be easy though. A child in medical school is a bit easier than in residency, especially as an intern. Good thing is it's all shift work since work hour restrictions have changed. That will work in your favor I believe.

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  7. Several years ago we hired a NP who was pregnant and didn't tell us right away. Several of my partners were miffed that she didn't disclose that. I think that telling them as soon as possible in both situations is for the best. You obviously should wait until 2nd trimester and for #2 until you have a signed contract, but I would hope it wouldn't be an issue otherwise. I'm debating as to when to tell my partners that baby #2 is on the way. I'm 9 weeks today and we have a meeting tonight. Haven't had an US yet, but we're like a family and I think i'll just tell them. not that they'll be surprised or anything. =) It's just that we have a PA due a month before me and two of my other partners are either TTC or will be soon. Oh well!

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  8. I told during both my pregnancies after week 12. The first was 4 weeks into my fellowship with a mercurial program director. The second was 6 months into my new academic job. Both went surprisingly well and both appreciated long lead times and that I told no one before them (you know the grapevine). Directors/chairman/partners in this day and age who aren't expecting women to get pregnant are kidding themselves. I believe as more women rise up and as more men work with equal numbers of men and women doctors, this will be less of an issue...unfortunately, I think it's the next generation who will benefit the most, not mine.

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