Heather and I have each been pregnant while working on three separate occasions (we can’t decide if we have all these babies because we love kids or because we’re pathological overachievers), so if you are in this situation, we send you both our heartfelt congratulations, and our empathy. Working while knocked up is fun but comes with its own special set of challenges. Here are some highlights you can expect if this is your first pregnancy rodeo.
1. Month 1: Technically this is the month you get pregnant, so nothing too interesting is outwardly happening yet. In fact, you will not be aware of your pregnancy until the very end of this month (or possibly even a little later, depending on how obsessive you are). Therefore, this is the last month you will feel like a smart, competent professional career person for quite some time.
2. Month 2: OMG there is BABY growing INSIDE YOUR BODY! A whole entire baby! You are CREATING LIFE. Good luck trying to focus on getting your quarterly reports done while your brain is perpetually distracted by (i) wondering exactly how big it is today, (ii) researching and downloading all the pregnancy tracker apps you can find; and (iii) depending on your personal level of paranoia, periodically running to the ladies’ room to reassure yourself there’s no sign of anything going amiss.
3. Month 3: At some point this month, you will run out of a crowded meeting and barely make it to the bathroom before throwing up spectacularly. Your coworker in the next stall will overhear you and be horrified, unsure of whether you’re sick or hung over. Glamorous.
4. Month 4: You may decide to pull on a pair of Spanx to squeeze yourself into a suit in order to look professional and put-together for the presentation you have to give. This is a bad idea. By noon you will feel like you are going to die from compression-related internal injuries, and you may even run home on your lunch break to throw the Spanx directly into the garbage and pull on something with a lovely elastic waistband. Embrace those maternity pants. They are your friend.
5. Month 5: Throwing up is over (hooray!), and most of your coworkers likely know about your pregnancy by now. You probably look happy and glowing, and are sporting a small-ish bump. Everyone smiles at you. Ahh, the golden second trimester!
6. Month 6: You definitely look pregnant now, and it is just so cute. You’re still feeling good, and probably being reasonably productive at work. Except for when you feel the baby kick, and then you get a sort of moony, dreamy expression on your face and completely lose the thread of what you were typing. It’s OK, your brain will come back online eventually. Enjoy the dreaminess.
7. Month 7: You’re getting a little bit big now. You’re also probably fielding a bunch of questions from coworkers about whether it’s a boy or a girl, when you’re due, if you’re started researching childcare, etc. You start to worry about finding a nanny or daycare in earnest, you have a meeting with HR to discuss your maternity leave options, and you’re distracted by researching baby gear and setting up a registry. Luckily your excellent computer skills help you with all of the above. You’re an excellent multitasker. Go, you!
8. Month 8: Yep, you’re big now. Plus, the baby is kicking and rolling around all the time. At some point, a male, twenty-something-year-old coworker will actually see your belly roll and wave like an alien is in there, and he will shoot you a look of pure, unadulterated terror. Also, you’re down to about five outfits that look presentable and cover your belly. You hate all of these outfits a little, but you also hate the idea of spending a single additional dollar on maternity clothes. So you wear the same things day after day, and hope no one notices. (They probably don’t notice, so keep rocking that black maternity dress!)
9. Month 9: Are you on maternity leave yet? Maybe think about starting maternity leave, like today. Oof, work is suddenly very challenging. Just navigating your commute every morning has become uncomfortable, what with your belly resting on your knees and yet somehow up in your rib cage (how big is that giant-feeling baby, anyway?!?), plus you’re probably popping Tums like they’re candy every few hours. It’s also likely that you will have at least one painful Braxton Hicks contraction during a meeting, causing all of your coworkers to look at you like you’re a bomb that’s about to detonate. At this stage of the game, our advice is to keep a running Maternity Leave memo that you update every couple of days so your coworkers are prepared for your inevitable exit, and take at least a couple weeks to yourself before your due date. You’re amazing for getting this far, mama! We are so glad you’re joining our ranks of Team Motherhood!