Preggers in the Workplace

No, I’m not pregnant but keep reading…

It’s not uncommon to experience some kind of gender inequality in the office.I get it all the time being in a male dominated field. I love my team and the group I work with, but working in IT has made my life an 8 hour long episode of the Big Bang Theory: I’m second guessed, have to show up a little earlier, push harder for my ideas to be heard, and have to know how to be “one of the boys” when I need to be. It’s difficult and I’m just me – an unmarried, childless, 27 year old.

With more of my friends becoming mothers or having their second child, I’ve been able to gain a different perspective of what it’s like to be a working pregnant woman. Here’s what I’ve gathered: It’s f*cking hard.100x harder than I imagined.

I go on this rant because I’ve just read an article from the Atlantic called Yes, There Really Are More Pregnant Women at the Office, and I’ve got my feministy rage going on. I’ve looked around my office and see zero baby bumps and wonder if women are afraid to get pregnant because of this discrimination in the workplace.

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Kate Middleton – workin’ through her pregnancy…in heels.

I love me a good baby bump (or food baby, whatever). I will talk babies all day long, I’ll shoot the shit about stretch marks, morning sickness, hemorrhoids and episiotomies any chance I can get. My enthusiasm for pregnancy, I’ve noticed, is not matched by male colleagues (and females, let’s be honest).

In fact, I’ve noticed in my 5+ years in the corporate world that despite everything being pink and blue booties, most employer’s still see pregnancy as an inconvenience. Doctors appointments mean less availability, maternity leave means change and having to delegate tasks or find replacements, and sometimes insensitive comments are made insinuating that pregnant women are just looking for an easy ride and a year off to play house.

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I can’t count the times my best friend and little sister experienced discrimination from her coworkers because she was pregnant. We would spend hours talking about how her working relationships have changed and how isolated she felt.  As her best friend, I of course volunteered to break someone’s legs or slash some tires.

I’ve also noticed that a lot of women are pushing to prove themselves as these baby making machines that can do it all: work until their due date, take a shorter maternity leave, and push themselves to the limit jeopardizing their health and the health of their baby.

I’m all over the map when it comes to becoming a mom. It’s something I don’t plan on doing until I’m on the other side of 30. But when and if I do become preggers, I don’t want to have to worry that my career and my relationships will suffer.

What do y’all think? Have you experienced this or witnessed others being insensitive to pregnant women?

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