One of the realities for women is that of being pregnant and working a full-time job. Actually, even if you were home all day, you’d be working around the house, so it isn’t a new or unusual condition, but for the first-time mother you do need to take some things into account:
- Pregnancy changes your physical needs. You really do need to get more rest and pay attention to nutrition! Now is not the time to pretend you are superwoman.
- Pregnancy changes the way your emotions and brain work. Give yourself space and permission to make some mistakes, then plan to correct the mistakes as they happen.
- Pregnancy changes your insurance needs. Take the time to find out exactly how any benefits you have on the job apply and what the exceptions are for coverage. Don’t assume anything and be good friends with Human Resources if your employer has that asset.
- Pregnancy changes your housing needs. You don’t need to have a fully-equipped nursery at first, but you will need some things like a car seat and a plan for the future. And lots of diapers. Oh, and did I mention diapers?
- Pregnancy changes your future plans. Find out what maternity leave will entail from that good friend in HR. Figure out child care options for your return to the job.
- Pregnancy changes your plans for today. You have a job to do and you know your stuff. Be flexible where you can and prepare ahead for days that will be low-energy. If you can work ahead or get organized, good. If you need a nap or have to put your swollen feet up, it will give you a break to get ready for the next thing on your agenda.
Your employer should not discriminate against you for being pregnant. Become familiar with your rights but reassure those relying on you that you have every intention of being responsible to fulfill your obligations on the job. You aren’t alone; network with other mothers and develop your support group (I went to MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). If your schedule can swing it, I highly recommend it! This will be a big change for you but such a blessing!