Guess what y’all? I’ve got a baby in my belly again…. and he/she has been there for almost 7 months.
Yup, I’ve been in the closet about it until now. As I explained on my personal blog, I’ve been hiding this wonderful little miracle all in the name of my career.
I haven’t gone to events (that I normally would have gone to in my industry) for fear of seeing someone and not being able to deny the obvious. I’ve veered away from telling friends (who work in my industry) for fear they’d accidentally spill the beans to someone else. I’ve been manipulating and lying… and feeling kind of dirty about it.
Is this smart survival for working womanhood, or just plain sneaky and underhanded?
Here’s why I went undercover: Over the last several few months, I was interviewing/auditioning for a big job (which would’ve been the biggest in my modest career to date), discovered I was unexpectedly expecting during the process, freaked out inside my head (do I tell them, not tell them?) and ultimately decided to keep my mouth shut – out of fear of what to do – until I found out if I got the job or not (I didn’t get it anyway… despite the fact that they didn’t know I was pregnant).
Granted, I happen to work in an industry that focuses on looks and image a bit too much at times (TV), but women in every industry have dealt with “When do I tell my employer I’m pregnant” or “Should I bother going on this job interview because I’m pregnant” questions. I didn’t owe them anything, and my pregnancy would not have affected the quality of my work should I have gotten the gig, but I couldn’t help feeling that I was lying about something that they perhaps did have a right to know about. Or did they?
The whole hiding-the-pregnancy thing sucks, but unfortunately, I think it’s still necessary. In my set of rules, one should definitely NOT tell their employer – or potential employer – that they’ve got a bun in the oven until their belly sticks so far out that there’s no denying it any longer without being perceived as delusional.
Even in this day and age, I hear so many sorted tales about pregnant acquaintances who were up for big promotions or career-changing endeavors but then who somehow lost the opportunity. Coincidence? Maybe. But maybe not. Yes, it’s illegal to ask a woman if she is pregnant in the workplace, but the law can’t control people’s perceptions about pregnant women and their capability to handle various tasks. I’m sad to say that I am a big scaredy-cat when it comes to trusting how others really feel about working with pregnant women. Have I somehow fallen victim to sexist philosophies and discrimination against ourselves?
As women who are capable of feeling good, looking good and handling what we are dealt in our respective careers during pregnancy, what should we do? Take our chances and share our joy at the workplace, or keep it under wraps to not inhibit any opportunities that might come our way?
Anyone else go undercover for almost 7 months (like me)? Is this sneaky or smart?