Doing your best on the job takes extra effort, planning and communication when you're pregnant.
"My biggest concern was telling my boss I was pregnant." Jessica Amoroso, Sherman Oaks, Calif..
I work in Los Angeles for a Boston-based company, and I frequently travel as part of my job buying commercial real estate. My industry is predominantly male. As one of the few women, I was concerned about being treated differently because of my pregnancy. I didn't tell my boss I was pregnant until the start of my second trimester but was pleasantly surprised by his support.
Success in my industry is based on your ability to travel and be active within the marketplace. During my second trimester, I made it a point to travel as much as possible. These trips often included touring multiple properties in one day, with hours spent walking or driving. During my third trimester, I found out that the baby was in the frank breech position (his legs were up by his head). Since I did not want to take any time off before the baby was born, the doctor suggested I find a place at work to lie down for 15-30 minutes twice a day. (I would rest in my office.) Toward the end of my pregnancy, it became difficult to sit at my desk for longer periods of time. I also stopped air travel. I would send a co-worker instead, and my boss was supportive of this. I went into labor at 38 weeks and had a C-section because the baby was still breech.
Being open and honest with your employer is important. If you feel the need to rest or change your schedule, do so. Don't hesitate to put you and your baby first.
"I was worried my boss would think I wasn't being a good employee." Loanette Tumpak, Playa Del Rey, Calif.
I'm a preschool teacher. Before I got pregnant, I didn't think it would affect my job at all. We conceived very quickly, and the morning sickness kicked in at the start of the second month. I was throwing up, which meant I was running to the bathroom at work. I ended up telling my co-workers that I was expecting earlier than I wanted; I had to explain that I had morning sickness and not a stomach flu.
I couldn't sit with the kids at lunch because a lot of the food smells made me nauseous. In addition, being on my feet all day was really hard. As I got larger, it was hard for me to get up, so I could no longer sit on the floor with my class. I was worried that my job might be on the line because I wasn't able to be the effective teacher I was used to being. Luckily, my boss had just had children a few years before so she totally understood. My colleagues were also very supportive. They would tell me to sit down or bring me ginger ale.
I worked through the end of the school year and once a week at summer school. My son was born in October, and I am now a stay-at-home mom. It was really tough the first three months, especially with the loss of my identity as a teacher. But, things keep getting better.
"You have to know your limits and make whatever changes you can to adjust the way you work." Karen Zuckerman, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Before I got pregnant, I anticipated that my work as a massage therapist would be affected late in the pregnancy because it's a very physical job. As it turns out, my work was affected almost immediately. During my entire first trimester, I had constant nausea, heartburn, vomiting, fatigue and my sense of smell was off the charts. It also made me very sick just to move around.
Fortunately, I work for myself and have my own private studio, so I was able to lie down on my massage table between clients and make changes, such as not using essential oils when I couldn't handle the smells. I kept thinking how lucky I was that I didn't work in a corporate environment. I couldn't imagine having to get up early, get dressed up, go to meetings and be "on" all day. The second trimester was much better. I felt really good and was able to tell my clients about my pregnancy, which helped. I was also doing a lot of yoga at the time, which kept me strong and fit.
The third trimester started out much the same, but as I got bigger, I got really tired toward the end of the day. I gradually cut back the number of clients per day, then the number of days I was working and, finally, stopped working at 35 weeks.
Being self-employed gave me a lot of leeway throughout my pregnancy. However, it also affected me financially. I didn't get any paid maternity leave so I was not only making less income when I cut back, but also no income when I stopped a month early and then took another three months off after the birth. It was financially tight, but my husband and I were able to make it work. I feel incredibly lucky that I was able to do it the way I did.
Find more real life stories from being pregnant with twins to advice from single moms, click here.