Working women have to jump over numerous hurdles, from breaking through the glass ceiling into corporate positions to maintaining a sense of self in male-dominated fields. In addition, working while pregnant is no small feat within itself, but when there are distressing factors affecting a soon-to-be mother's well-being, then not only does she suffer, but her performance as a worker and a mom are also negatively affected.
Unpaid Maternity Leave
Since there is no paid maternity leave policy in the U.S., most women are left to use a combination of sick and vacation days or short-term disability coverage in order to cover household expenses for the time that they will take off to be with the baby. In several cases, this causes a financial strain, especially when there are pregnancy complications and a new mother has to take off more time than expected. Not being able to take sick leave on days when pregnancy has your energy completed wiped out is disheartening.
Trouble Getting Hired
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was a rare case when she was hired on with the company at seven months pregnant; most women do not get hired on the spot when a company knows that they are expecting a child. According to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, no woman can be denied a position with a company on the sole basis that she is pregnant, but most companies will not hire a noticeably pregnant woman. This is an extremely distressing factor since financial stability is crucial in order to cover the expenses of having a baby.
"Pregnant women are public property" is a terrible saying, but many people believe it to be true. Co-workers, supervisors, and managers need to understand that pregnancy is a private and often difficult time for many women, especially full-time workers. Anyone making off hand remarks, treating a pregnant worker differently in a negative way or making offensive jokes is being harassing and should be reported immediately.
Working while pregnant is often draining to not only the body, but to the mind as well, this is why it's important to eliminate negative thoughts about being a working mother, let go of office related stress and do things that you enjoy. Of course, everyone has opinions and likes to offer advice to pregnant women; it's just a little foreshadowing to what's to come once the baby arrives, but setting boundaries on how much you'll let into your head is necessary to a pregnant woman's sanity.
Christina Caldwell is a contributor for online publications such as Women's eNews and Little Pink Book. Her work has also been featured in the popular U.K. magazine "Black Heritage Today." Caldwell holds a bachelor's degree in marketing and communications.