when and how to share the baby news at work

Make Work Suck Less

New this week from the home office

Hey Reader,

I'm happy to report that we got our 2-year-old to take a nap in his big boy bed this weekend. The first daytime nap at home since before Christmas.

Can I get a hallelujah!

Today's topic is especially dear to me: announcing your pregnancy at work. This isn't just about crafting the perfect, baby-emoji-laden email. Though that part can be fun, too.

Let's dig in.

when and how to break the baby news at work

There are so many factors that come into play about the when and how we choose to share the baby news at work.

Having been there three times, I know the value of confiding in a boss for support amidst the whirlwind of pregnancy fatigue, emotions, sickness, and other challenges.

Ultimately, it's a balance between empathy and reality, between your personal and professional worlds. Especially if your path has been marked by fertility challenges or loss.

Today, we're talking about when and how to navigate the share with care, honesty, and a bit of courage.

benefits of an early share

Ok, so real talk my manager was the first person I told (after my partner) with each of my three pregnancies. Every time it was a weekend-morning FaceTime call around the five-week mark. I knew I needed her help in balancing all the joy and ick that comes with pregnancy, with getting my job done.

Two things made this approach the best one for me:

  1. I new my boss was a mom herself and would get it, having been there a few times herself.
  2. We'd built a strong partnership and the psychological safety necessary to have that type of conversation.

While this may not work for everyone, here are the biggest benefits I see of sharing early on:

  • Support and flexibility: Sharing early was crucial in my experience. It meant flexibility for unexpected doctor visits and coping on those days when I was just running on empty. I took many daytime naps.
  • Building trust: Early disclosure can deepen trust with your boss. It's like letting them peek into your world, showcasing your resilience and determination.
  • Planning and accommodations: Being practical, early sharing allows more time to prepare for your leave and ensures your team is ready to step up in your absence.

added complexities of loss and fertility challenges

But what if your journey here has been a rollercoaster of fertility treatments or heartbreaking pregnancy loss?

I'm so sorry... I've been there too. I'm so thankful that when we did experience a 22-week loss, I had an incredible extended support system through my manager who gave me the space I needed to recover, grieve, and come back to work in my own time.

Fertility challenges and loss add some complexities to the equation about when and how we share the news with the office.

  • Heightened Sensitivity: If your journey has included fertility struggles or loss, sharing might carry extra weight, adding vulnerability to an already personal topic.
  • Navigating Emotions: These experiences can make your emotional landscape at work more nuanced. It's okay to acknowledge this and seek a supportive ear.

potential pitfalls and realities

Ultimately, the timing of your announcement is deeply personal and is entirely up to you. Do what brings you peace of mind and confidence.

Some of the pitfalls and realities you may be considering are:

  • Career concerns: The fear of being overlooked for opportunities due to pregnancy is valid, especially when your journey here has been challenging.
  • Legal protections: Know your rights, but also be aware they might not cover every nuance of your situation, especially in unconventional journeys.
  • Team dynamics: Concerns about your team managing your workload are natural.
  • Rights and resources: Being informed about available accommodations and supports, particularly in the context of your unique journey, is empowering.

how to say "I'm pregnant"

Starting this conversation can feel daunting, like jumping into a frigid pool too early in the summer. Ease into it with preparation.

  • Know what you need: Be clear about your needs and how you envision your role evolving as you navigate pregnancy alongside your work.
  • Choose the setting: Consider where you feel most comfortable. A quiet corner in a coffee shop, a private meeting room, or a casual chat during a walk can set the right tone.
  • Timing is key: Pick a time when your boss is least distracted or rushed, like during a scheduled one-on-one or early in the morning.
  • Possible reactions: Responses can vary from joy to surprise. Allow them a moment to process the news.
  • Discuss next steps: Be ready to briefly discuss how your pregnancy may affect your work. Emphasize your commitment to your role and your desire to collaboratively plan.
  • Keep it flexible: This conversation is just the starting point. Plans might evolve as your pregnancy progresses.

conversation starters

Not sure how to start the conversation? Here are a few starters to try out and see what fits for you:

  • "I have some personal news that I wanted to share with you first."
  • "I value our professional relationship, and I feel it's important to be open with you about a significant change in my personal life."
  • "I’m stepping into a new chapter in my life, and I wanted to discuss how we can manage this transition together."
  • If you've faced fertility challenges: "It's been a journey to get to this point, and I feel it's important to share this part of my life with you as my manager."

Navigating the 'I'm Pregnant' conversation at work, especially amid fertility challenges or loss, requires courage. Choose the right setting, timing, and words, and you can set a positive tone for the months ahead. Remember, your journey is unique, and handling this conversation is part of your incredible story.

jump in and share!

Have you had the 'I'm Pregnant' talk at work? What worked for you? Hit reply and share your experiences (and let me know if it's ok to share with others). Let’s continue this conversation and support each other through life’s big moments.


One wish for HR in 2024

I was part of an all-star cast of People Leaders who shared our one wish for HR in 2024 with Hebba Youssef on the I Hate It Here podcast. Can you guess what mine was?

Coming up next week, we're talking about how parental leave can be a strategic opportunity for career advancement. Stay tuned!

You got this.


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Hi! I'm Cassandra Babilya.

I’m a mom, certified career coach, ex-spy, and corporate culture leader. I'm driven to make work suck less by helping women break the burnout cycle, pivot with purpose, and thrive in their careers. I believe everyone deserves to wake up excited and energized for the day. Together, let's find the perspective you need to work, create, and build from a place of joy, not dread. #makeworksuckless

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