A Pregnant Woman’s Story of How She Got Her Ideal Job

Around the end of my sixth month of pregnancy, I embarked on a journey that would become a pregnant woman’s story of how she got her ideal job. I decided to move closer to my family, who could help with childcare in exchange for a new career, and mustered the courage to go through with the interview – ultimately, it paid off.

I was sick to my stomach and had to sit in the car. I sucked on a sweet piece between my teeth and tongue (one of the few things that calmed my uneasy stomach). The time on the car clock flashed before my eyes, and I was quickly reminded that my job interview was about to begin.

The day was a typical mid-December one in New Jersey and bitterly cold. I ditched my toasty but worn-out boots and crammed my swollen feet into a pair of sneakers. Waddling through the front door, I pushed myself out of the car and readjusted my XL sweater and shirt.

I was applying for a job when I found out I was six months pregnant.

Job Hunting During Pregnancy

What the hell am I thinking? I kept asking myself. But I was trapped. I was taking a bus for four hours each way from New Jersey to New York City, where I worked as an assistant at a busy media company. Furthermore, I was going to enter the role of single motherhood. My ex-boyfriend was not prepared for the news that I was expecting a child. Although I did not have the financial backing of the baby’s biological father or a large emergency fund, I knew that it would be best for my unborn child if I worked close to home and among my family.

A few weeks before my in-person interview at an advertising agency in New Jersey, I did some reading about the process of looking for a job while pregnant. No one I knew had ever done it, and my many Google searches turned up zero useful tips.

It is illegal for hiring managers to treat pregnant applicants differently.

When I realized I couldn’t find a way to be hired around the law, I called an old professor of mine who specializes in career management. I questioned him if he thought it was crazy to look for a job while pregnant. It’s completely legal, he informed me. (In fact, discrimination in the workplace due to a woman’s pregnancy is illegal under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). And pregnant women are not required by law to disclose their condition to prospective employers. I spoke with a professor I had in college, and she gave me the confidence I needed to take the plunge.

I envisioned the worst-case scenario with every step I took toward the office in the business park. Strange as it was, I didn’t want to risk rejection because of my pregnancy, so I avoided talking about it. Like any other job interview, I was planning on giving a solid handshake, showing off my resume, and bragging about myself. The fact that I was wearing a loose-fitting pregnant dress helped a lot, too.

There were no hiccups during the interview. I had a long history in editorial work and was seeking a comparable position. There was no significant or unusual information revealed. It seemed like instant chemistry with everyone I met. It was a startup; therefore most of the employees were young, Gen Y types like myself. In any case, I rapidly became aware of the fact that I was the only pregnant person present.

The Ability to Work During Pregnancy

After what felt like a week of anxiously checking my inbox multiple times a day for fear of rejection since the employer had learned I was pregnant, I finally got an email from the company. As soon as I saw “Job Offer” in the subject line, I nearly lost my balance and fell off the chair.

Realizing that taking this position would require me to come clean about my pregnancy at an interview was the most difficult part of the whole process. As my anticipation grew, so did my fear.

A number of times, I went back and reread the email. It detailed the duties and responsibilities of my new position as well as my benefits, pay, and expected start date. Thirty different versions of my potential response were written out in email draft form. I worked up the nerve to write back and mention that my wife and I were expecting a daughter in a few months and that we were also in the midst of a pay discussion.

Once again, I was caught off guard. The employer met my pay expectations and expressed happiness over my pregnancy.

In addition, my coworkers surprised me with a baby shower the day before my daughter was born. After receiving so many kind messages, cards, and gifts, I broke down in tears. The firm covered some of my maternity leave costs even though it wasn’t mandated by law; after only three months on the job, I didn’t qualify for paid leave. My employer even gave me a pay boost and promotion when my maternity leave ended.

Unfortunately, only some expecting women will be as lucky as I was and find an employer who is totally on board with their situation. Yet, I learned from my experience that no woman, expecting or not, should ever doubt her value to an organization or feel insecure about her pregnancy.

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