2.25.2013

Shhh… Don’t Tell!

I think one of the first things that goes through your mind when you find out you are pregnant is:

“When should we tell everyone?!”

This also goes beyond the “Who should we tell first?” question and into the “Who needs to be told first so they don’t stop speaking to us for the rest of our lives?” territory. That alone can cause some anxiety.  We didn’t struggle with the who to tell first question but did struggle with the when part.  A lot of people wait 3 months to break the news – until they are out of the “danger zone.”  If you are friends with me on Facebook, you know we shared the good news at approximately 6 weeks – after we had our first ultrasound and a confirmed heartbeat. We did have some scares in that first trimester though and it made me nervous that everyone knew. Truth be told, I still get nervous about a week prior to my monthly OB visit until we hear the heartbeat.  That’s normal… right?

But I think what gives me even more anxiety than the when to tell family & friends question is:

“When should I tell my work?!”

Some of you can maybe relate to that anxiety.  Some of you probably never gave it a second thought. And some of you may be wondering how in the world my work doesn’t know at this point when I’ve clearly got a “bump” going on… Well to answer that question, I work from home for a company that contracts with hospitals.  So while I am nice and cozy in my TN home, I’m working for a company out of FL, doing work for a hospital in MO.  Follow me?  The people I work for do not see me on a regular basis if ever.  I also work my schedule around appointments and haven’t used any time off as of yet.  It has been convenient but here’s where the anxiety sets in…

Since I’m a contracted employee the hospital can decide at any moment to let me go for no reason needed at all. I will still have a job with my company but getting put on another assignment could mean going back on the road every other week to another hospital assignment.

The hospital I’m currently working for could decide they don’t want to deal with my pregnancy and let me go now in order to get someone else on board to train, etc. Or they could keep me until I go on maternity leave and then say ok you’re done. Or they could be super awesome and work with me through all of it. I just don’t know. I know I need to say something soon but anytime I start to compose an email to the appropriate parties I just freeze up!

I know my work allows for 6 weeks unpaid maternity leave even though they technically don’t have to per the federal requirements.  I don’t know if they allow for you to extend that. I was smart enough to add the short term disability insurance last year (it was a new benefit offered) but I have no idea if they will keep that benefit this year and we sign up  in June.. baby is due in July… yeah we could potentially be looking at NO PAY for those 6 weeks aside from the roughly 2 weeks of PTO I will hopefully have saved up by taking NO time off this year until the baby is born

As much as I love the US of A, this is one area where we fall extremely short – maternity leave. 

As of 2012, the US is one of only 3 countries worldwide (out of 178 studied) that offers no paid maternity leave. Yup we rank just just above Papua New Guinea and Swaziland. {uhm…where?!}   Compare us to Pakistan that provides 12 weeks paid maternity leave… 12!  I do not want to live in Pakistan but come on now, the US is supposed to be a world leader – not a country struggling to compete with 3rd world countries! I could get into the many reasons why maternity leave is important for momma and baby but this post is long enough!  (I suggest Googling a bit to find the studies if you want more info) Now before I get barraged with comments saying there is no way companies could survive… I ask you one question:

How does the rest of the world provide paid maternity leave if it is so impossible?

Oh how I could go on and on about this topic!  I will just ask you other mommies out there to share… When did you tell your employer? How long was your leave? Was it paid/unpaid/mixture? Is there anything you would have done differently regarding your maternity leave?

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