how do I announce my pregnancy at work?

A reader writes:

I’m a 39-year-old middle manager, and I’ve always been openly ambivalent about the idea of having kids. I think that most of my colleagues have reasonably assumed by now that it’s just not on my to-do list! My husband and I haven’t really been trying, but we’ve been cautiously open to the idea and not trying not to so…I was recently surprised to have a positive pregnancy test, and I’m starting to feel a little green around the gills. Yay?

Assuming that all goes well (I am aware that my age makes this somewhat high-risk), when and how do I tell people? Do I call a meeting to tell all of my direct reports at once (that seems self-centered and weird), or make a point of telling people individually, or just tell the office busybody and let it leak out from there? And do I tell my own boss before or after I tell my reports?

To make things a little more awkward, my boss and I have joked and bonded in the past about the joys of being child-free (she is in her early 40s and doesn’t have kids either), so there is a small part of me that thinks it might feel like a betrayal that I’m breaking up our little club (that’s surely in my own head – she’s a kind and reasonable person).

Any other thoughts on the timing or etiquette of making these disclosures when the appropriate time comes will be appreciated!


Some basics: wait until your second trimester (unless you can’t — more on that in a minute), tell your boss first and then your team, and don’t feel like you need to have your maternity-leave plans set in stone when you do.

Let’s go through these one by one.

1. Wait until your second trimester, unless you can’t.

Most women wait to announce their pregnancies at work until they’re through the first trimester, simply because of the risk of miscarriage during that time. You might also have other reasons you want to wait — for example, if you’re expecting a raise or a promotion, you might prefer to wait for that to go through before you make your announcement. It’s illegal for your employer to factor your pregnancy into considerations of raises and promotions, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, even unconsciously, and it’s legitimate to decide you don’t want to wonder if it impacted your boss’s thinking.

However, in some cases, telling your boss sooner can make sense. If you’re having particularly awful morning sickness, for instance, it might make your life easier to discreetly let her know what’s going on (while asking her to keep it to herself for the time being).

2. Tell your boss first.

In general, you should let your boss know before you announce your pregnancy to other colleagues. Because your maternity leave will affect your work and your team, your boss has a legitimate interest in hearing it from you first rather than through the grapevine. Plus, if you tell other people first and the news starts to spread, your boss may understandably feel awkward asking you about it, but just as uncomfortable about not being able to begin planning for your absence.

If you work in the same office, tell your boss face-to-face. (Otherwise a phone call is fine.) When you do, keep it brief! Say you have some happy news, make the announcement, and share your due date. It helps if you’re ready to discuss your preliminary thoughts on when you might start and end maternity leave and coverage while you’re gone, but you don’t need to address every detail at this stage — there’s still plenty of time to plan and it’s okay not to be certain of your plans yet.

You say your boss is a kind and reasonable person, so even if she is a little disappointed that the two of you won’t be able to bond over being child-free anymore, she’ll probably know to keep that to herself. If she does say anything weird, awkward, or thoughtless, you can simply respond, “It’s definitely a big change, but we’re very excited!” That’s a good way to nudge her into remembering that this is positive news and that the social contract requires her to respond accordingly. (If she says something weird about it more than once, that’s a different problem and one you might need to address head-on. But since she’s kind and reasonable, hopefully that won’t be the case.)

3. Tell your team next.

You’re right that you shouldn’t call a special meeting just to announce your pregnancy, but do you have a weekly team meeting or any other regularly scheduled time when you gather with all your direct reports? If so, that’s the perfect occasion to announce it. It can be as simple as saying, “I have some personal news to share. I’m pregnant, and due at the end of July. In the coming weeks, I’ll have more info to share about my maternity leave and the plan for coverage, but for now I just wanted to share the news.”<

If you don’t have regular meetings with your whole team and there’s no obvious place to do this, you can say it in a team email (if that wouldn’t be weird in your company’s culture) or you can tell people individually. But if you tell them individually, just make sure to talk to all of them within a day or two, so you won’t have a situation where some people know and others don’t, rumors start circulating, and the people you haven’t told start wondering why you haven’t shared the news with them.

4. It’s okay if your plans aren’t set in stone yet.

If you’re not exactly sure yet what your plans are regarding maternity leave, it’s okay to say that you’re still figuring things out. Obviously you can’t keep saying that forever — you’ll want to have a plan in place at least two months before your due date. (And make sure to check for any official deadlines related to setting up your parental leave.) But it’s absolutely fine to make your initial announcement without a detailed transition memo in hand.

Also, if you’re considering not returning to work once your maternity leave is over, it’s best to proceed as if you are returning unless and until you become 100 percent sure that you won’t. Things change, and it’s much harder to announce that you’re staying home indefinitely and then change your mind than it is to change your mind in the other direction (planning to stay but then announcing near the end of your leave that you won’t be returning).

Originally published at New York Magazine.

{ 215 comments… read them below }

  1. Ms. Mad Scientist*

    Hi OP!

    If it offers any reassurance, I was a first time mom at age 39. My pregnancy and delivery went fine. Congratulations to you!

    1. Sloan Kittering*

      Yes, the oft-recited age guidelines are more of an average, it’s not as if every individual experiences the exact same fertility implications year over year. Maybe it’s because I live in a big city, but OP seems to think they’re unusually old – TBH they seem pretty normal here.

    2. Myrin*

      Yeah, my mum was 35 and 40 when she had me and my sister, respectively. She was very aware of the “high-risk” factor – especially since I’ll be 28 in a month, so this happened during a time where she was already considered quite “old” to have a child, nevermind a second one five years later – but everything went totally fine with both of us!

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’m a surprise late baby who had my very own surprise late baby.
      She’s the joy of my life… may yours be the same for you.

      1. Original Poster*

        Thank you for all the kind reassurances! As Sloan Kittering guessed, I do live in a pretty conservative, semi-rural location…early marriage & child-bearing is the norm here, and so I have felt like a bit of a late bloomer in life. But I know statistics are just statistics, and I’m hoping for all to go well.

        1. R.D.*

          One of my friends had her first baby at 39 and second at 41 with no interventions. It was a very easy pregnancy and her kids are now 6 & 8. My grandmother was 40 when she had my mother back in 1949, though Mom was the youngest, not the oldest. It’s not as uncommon as people make it out to be.

          Also, I still joke around with friends about the joys of the being child free and my kids are 4 and 6, so hopefully you will still bond with your boss. My kids are fantastic, but when I’m at work, no one cries because jumping in puddles made their shoes dirty. :)

          Best of luck and congratulations!

        2. Artemesia*

          My best college friend had two gorgeous kids — one at 44 and one at 48; my daughter just had her second at 39. There are super accurate genetic tests done with blood at about 10 weeks as well as early detailed ultrasounds so you can also have a lot more confidence than we did back in the day when I didn’t even know who was arriving when I was 35 until she was actually born.

          I would not announce until 12 or 13 weeks unless you needed to because of severe morning sickness or because of some work issue that requires it e.g. my daughter could not travel to Florida on business because of Zika risks and so had to disclose much earlier than she would have otherwise I didn’t share my news until I was 4 mos with my second because it was not obvious and it wasn’t affecting my work and I was a lucky one who didnt’ have morning sickness.

        3. 42*

          Hi OP! Late pregnancies here too, 38 and 43! I waited until around 12 weeks/end of 1st trimester…after that it started to get obvious anyway.

          Wishing you all the best, rest whenever you need to.

    4. Kat*

      Same here! Had my first kid at 37 (after a miscarriage at 35) and it was an easy pregnancy. Also everyone was really surprised that I actually wanted a kid of my own. It’s ok to change your mind and it’s ok to both enjoy being childfree and later enjoy being a parent!

    5. Cambridge Comma*

      I just had a baby at a similar age to OP and every doctor I saw called me young. Although I‘m under no illusions, and certainly feel quite old these days, as many mothers on the ward were in their forties I saw their point. I think perceptions have shifted on this.

      1. WoolAnon*

        I’m so glad to hear these comments, actually – my mom was 35 when she was pregnant with my youngest sister (surprise baby, as well) – and her doctor wanted her to have an abortion desperately because she was ‘too old and there was a chance of down syndrome’. Of course my sister came out fine (and would’ve if she had down syndrome, frankly), but I’m glad there seems to be a bit of a trend to doctors relaxing about this.

        1. Artemesia*

          Wow that really freaks me out. Yes the odds of Down syndrome start climbing at 35 but most babies are just fine. I actually didn’t have an ultrasound/amnio at 35 because I read up and found that ultrasounds with amniocentesis were more likely at 35 to cause a miscarriage than discover the defect. I had a girl with Down syndrome in my scout troop whose Mom was 25 when she was born. Your personal odds go up after 35 but most babies with Down are born to younger mothers because more babies are born to younger mothers.
          The idea of aborting a baby on the off chance it might have a higher risk of an issue is creepy. And FWIW raising a kid with Down syndrome while not something we hope for is also not a terrible thing. I have worked with many people with this disability and they were mostly lovely people who have a capacity for great joy in life like everyone else; yes it is a long term challenge for parents to assure life long care.

          1. Flash Bristow*

            Thank you for that comment. I know a few older mothers who chose not to have tests for Down’s because they already knew that it wouldn’t make any difference to their baby being much wanted and loved.

            Tests are there if you want them, but by no means obligatory, especially if you know that the result won’t affect your choice to continue with the pregnancy either way.

            Congratulations, OP. May everything go smoothly. I wish you all the best.

        2. Julia*

          My mother had me at 38 and my brother at 40 and we both turned out fine. My niece was born to a late thirties mother, as are several other kids I know. And then I know younger mothers who had birth complications and the babies had issues, so there is no guarantee for anything.

      1. Indie*

        What an odd thing to say given that literally no one has claimed that they are.

        Anecdotes are anecdotes. These are some great ones.

  2. Recovering Journalist...*

    Congratulations and best wishes to the OP!

    As an (ahem) older mom, I’d suggest holding off on however you decide to announce your pregnancy until you’re sure things are progressing well. I understand older moms have greater risk of miscarriage.

    I made the mistake of announcing pregnancies too soon only to miscarry. That’s a bit of suffering I would not wish on anyone.

    Praying all goes well with you and your baby.

    1. aelle*

      I would even think now under which circumstances you might choose to terminate for medical reasons, and if the answer is not “none”, consider whether waiting until after your non invasive prenatal testing (I had mine around 16 weeks) or even anatomy scan (20 weeks) makes sense. This is a discussion you can start now with your medical team.
      All the best for you and your pregnancy!

      1. Anon for Now*

        This. I had a relative who terminated her pregnancy at 18 weeks due to a medical reason, and while most people were wonderfully supportive (the baby would not have lived after birth), there were a couple of people who were dreadful to my relative. Kept talking about miracles and the like.

        My relative was heart broken at the outcome of her pregnancy, and the comments about miracles (and the one comment about not being able to “murder” their baby) were horrendous. They made horrible situation a millions times worse.

        1. MommyMD*

          I had to have amniocentesis at 20 weeks. I’ve never spoken again to my best friend at the time who was also my maid of honor after similar terrible remarks. Thankfully everything worked out and I had a healthy baby girl. You learn who your friends are.

    2. Sam Sepiol*

      Counterpoint: I announced at 12 weeks and miscarried at 17. It was horrendous – but it was actually a relief that Everyone Knew. I didn’t have to worry about what people were saying behind my back and I got support from people I never would have expected it from.

      My friends were mainly useless, but my work was amazing. YMMV though obviously, but I always like to say that for me it was ok.

      1. Clay on my apron*

        I am sorry Sam! :-(

        I announced at 12 weeks and miscarried at 14, and I really really wished I had waited a bit longer. Everyone was kind and supportive but I’m a very private person and would have been happier to not talk about it at all except to my closest family and friends.

        Happily I had two easy pregnancies and healthy babies at ages 38 and 39.

        It made me laugh then to think that when my mom was pregnant with my youngest sibling at age 32, she was the oldest mom in the maternity ward and the nursing staff referred to her as a geriatric pregnancy.

        OP, I wish you all the best on this new journey.

    3. NotTheSameAaron*

      Perhaps have a miscarriage party instead? Yes, this is actually a thing.

      1. Flash Bristow*

        “I could change how I viewed the vanishing of my plans for a second child — for my son’s first sibling. And, for me, that meant celebrating the freedom that comes with not being pregnant anymore.”

        ” I wasn’t growing another body inside my own, so a Jack and Coke, or two, would mark the beginning of my miscarriage party.”

        And so it continues, eating potentially Listeria-filled food and comments like “my womb is a hollow, but my resolve is not” and “I didn’t cry … because I had my party”.

        I’m honestly glad if that worked for the author – we are all different of course – but I’m not sure if I’d take it well if, post miscarriage, someone suggested a party could be the answer(!) Gosh.

  3. I know this isn't related to work, but I honestly just have nowhere to turn for advice*

    Removed because off-topic. (I’m sorry, I know you’re in a bind, but I can’t allow totally unrelated posts or it becomes a free-for-all.)

    1. Jersey's mom*

      Poster, a reminder that Saturday morning is the “free for all” post, you can discuss not-work questions then.

      Please resend your post early Saturday morning, and hopefully you’ll get some responses then from the readers. People here are looking to help. Best of luck until then!

      1. I know this isn't related to work, but I honestly just have nowhere to turn for advice*

        Thanks for letting me know. Unfortunately the problem is going to manifest itself on Friday, but I appreciate you reaching out to let me know.

        1. WellRed*

          If you’re really desperate, post on this past weekend forum? Someone might see it. I’ll go look.

  4. IvyGirl*

    I found out I was pregnant a week before I turned forty – it was quite the birthday present!

    I waited until a was safely past the first trimester before announcing at work.

    1. Zombeyonce*

      I think that waiting to tell people at work is so important. A close co-worker had been trying for a long time and was so excited when she found out she was expecting that she told a lot of people. It got around quickly and then she miscarried, but that news didn’t get around as quickly so she spent months trying to keep it together at work only to have people she hadn’t seen in a while congratulating her, which made it really hard on her. As much as support from close co-workers can be helpful, it can also make bad news incredibly tough.

  5. Need a Beach*


    As someone who is childfree, I would like to request that if you do have colleagues who verbalize the idea “we knew you’d change your mind, everyone does” to please push back on that, if feasible. There’s nothing wrong with being on the fence about major life decisions, of course, but it’s easy for people with agendas to use your type of situation as ammunition.

    1. Original Poster*

      This is a great point! I always did hate being pressured or cajoled, and I will try to do my part to push back on these assumptions. Thanks for the food for thought!

    2. raktajino*

      Yes this! Please push back on that kind of BS.
      As for your boss, yeah she might be disappointed but unless you’ve been heavily in an “us against the baby-having world” pair, it will probably be short-lived.

    3. Shay*

      ^^^ THIS ^^^
      There are people that demand that others’ lives look just like theirs’ and are threatened when others make different choices for themselves.

    4. WFH Mom*

      Totally agree. I struggled with infertility for some time, and since my husband and I didn’t announce our struggles with family or friends, I heard more than my fair share of how selfish we were or how we were missing out. We had made the choice not to pursue invasive infertility methods – we weren’t against it, but we had personal/financial reasons not to. In order to remain positive, we had considered the benefits of being a childfree couple.

      I’m also supportive of anyone who chooses not to have children. It is a major life shift not to be taken lightly, and I’m of the mind that it is selfless to not have children if it’s not a lifestyle you want to take on. It amazes me how many people still believe every woman should want and do whatever possible to have children.

    5. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It sounds like the OP never even mentioned being childfree in the first place. Just that her and her spouse weren’t actively trying or dialed into being parents. I’m in the same boat and I’ll never title myself childfree due to the massively negative light I’ve seen many within that subculture. Please keep that in mind when requesting we push back and take a stand for something a lot of us don’t subscribe to.

    6. MoopySwarpet*

      I am also ambivalently child-free. Life and health circumstances kicked my fence to the “forever child free” side, but I wouldn’t rule out adoption if the right set of circumstances arose.

      That won’t mean that I “changed my mind” it will just mean that I was happily child free and now I’m happily going to be a parent.

      1. Jennifer Juniper*

        I’m childfree because I would be a terrible mother and could possibly pass on up to six mental illnesses. Anyone who thinks that everyone should have kids needs to look up Andrea Yates.

        1. Former Admin Turned Project Manager*

          Heck, I’m a parent three-times-over (having done all my gestating by the time I was 31) and am firmly on the side of people choosing not to have children. I love my kids more than anything, but my choices would be disastrous for some folks, just as their life decisions or situations would make me crash and burn.

    7. JB*

      How would you suggest she word that pushback? I’m someone who didn’t want kids but wound up having one in my 40s (by choice!) so I sympathize, but also not sure how I would say that to a colleague or that the onus is on OP to do so. It’s not her fault crazy people have crazy agendas. Ammunition for what? Being annoying? I think people make their own ammunition. If you want to be childfree, be childfree. Someone’s always going to judge no matter what you do.

    8. Gerald*

      As someone who doesn’t have children, and occasionally talks about it as a positive thing (because of problems friends have had), if I knew you then I would appreciate knowing that you are happy about this. What you said sums it up so well: you hadn’t decided against it, and life had a good surprise for you! You aren’t hiding an awkward / unhappy birth control failure. I can’t speak for your situation, but personally I would appreciate knowing that you were truly happy (this doesn’t preclude an honest worry about the future and life – people can be happy as well as have other emotions) so that I could be truly happy for you too.

      Congrats, and best wishes!

  6. Chickena*

    I want to gently push back on the idea of not telling anyone you’re pregnant until the second trimester. I think a better way to think about it is that if you did have a miscarriage, who would you want to know / want support from? Most people wouldn’t want their work to know about a miscarriage so yes, it usually makes sense to wait until the start of the second trimester (which is around the time that neural tube screening and NIPT screening test results are available). But if you’re someone who would want your work to know about a loss, and more generally for telling friends, it sometimes makes sense to share even when you’re not sure that a pregnancy will be viable.

    1. WellRed*

      Why think in the negative about having a miscarriage? The LW sounds aware of the risks, I don’t think she needs to frame it that way, especially with coworkers. Also, it’s so normal to wait until the second trimester to tell people.

      1. Chickena*

        It’s very common to wait until the second trimester to tell people, and often that’s the right choice. For me, I found the framing of “who would I want to know about a loss” helpful to figure out who I wanted to tell about my pregnancy right away and who I wanted to wait to tell.

        1. The Original K.*

          This was my best friend’s philosophy. She told me she was pregnant when she was about 7 weeks along; she said straight up that she was only telling people she’d tell if something went wrong. (No one at her job was on that list; she told her boss when she was 4 months along and then just let the news get around however it got around.)

      2. Baby Fishmouth*

        But that’s the reason why it’s normal to wait – most people wait to tell people just in case a miscarriage happens.

    2. Bend & Snap*

      I’ve had a loss, and I had to disclose it at work, and it was horrible.

      People gossiped about it and nobody was supportive.

      I do not recommend.

      1. Chickena*

        I’ve also had a loss; I had told a handful of people about the pregnancy including one friend at work. I am in no way saying that the OP should tell people early; I’m just saying that the framing of “who would I want to know” helped me figure out who I wanted to tell early and who I wanted to tell later.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          I don’t think there is any reason that you are required to keep a failed pregnancy a secret from people you didn’t tell before the miscarriage. I had an 8 week miscarriage while at work and told my male boss why I was leaving. He was very surprised, but supportive, and handled it as well as any other urgent medical issue. If you had a work friend you wanted to share it with, you could easily let them know you weren’t telling anyone outside your household, but you’ve been out due to this. If you’re worried that their feelings will be hurt that you didn’t tell them about the pregnancy, then they might not be the supportive friend you thought they were.

          1. Atalanta0jess*

            This is true. But just to share another perspective – i’ve had friends who supported others through miscarriages when they knew about the pregnancy before the miscarriage, and when they didn’t, and they reflected on how much easier it was to be in the grief space with the person when they knew about the pregnancy. They felt like they were a better support in that case.

            It’s also really nice to have someone to complain to or get support from if you’re feeling like crap. I find it so unfair that the first trimester is just the WORST, and you’re trying to keep a secret. It’s definitely a time when a lot of women could use some help.

          2. Jess*

            I think this really depends SO MUCH on your relationships with your team – there’s no right way to do it.

            I had a miscarriage at around 7 weeks, well before I planned to tell anyone at work. When I was needing to leave early a few times for blood tests etc. my boss casually asked if everything was all right. I just said that I was pregnant but it looked like it wasn’t going well – she was very supportive, but if I didn’t had a good relationship with her it would have been easy to brush it off as some other medical issue. I wouldn’t have wanted the rest of my team to know, even though they were all a caring and supporting bunch of women who I have no doubt would have been lovely.

            (Happily a few months later all DID go well – I told my boss in-person in a private meeting after 12 weeks, and shortly after forwarded an ultrasound photo to the team as my explanation for some late starts etc. I’d had recently. I could hear the squeals around the office as they opened the email, quite a lot of fun for me!)

      2. Burned Out Supervisor*

        That’s terrible, Bend & Snap. I hope you are doing better now or on the road to recovery (and maybe a new job).

      3. MeganTea*

        It really depends on your work environment and your colleagues. I had a loss, and told my boss and the coworkers in my office—everyone was extremely supportive.

        Bend & Snap, I’m really sorry your coworkers (and boss?) were awful.

      4. JoAnna*

        I’m so sorry you were treated that way.

        I have had four miscarriages in the context of working full time. I didn’t tell my workers or even my boss with the first two for various reasons, but I did with the second two. I recommend the latter approach if you have a supportive environment for doing so.

    3. fposte*

      Though it’s also absolutely okay to tell people if you’re experiencing a miscarriage whether you’ve mentioned pregnancy before then or not.

    4. CoveredInBees*

      I agree. It will really depend on your workplace and your relationships with your colleagues. Personally, I am glad to have taken this approach with 3 of my 4 pregnancies, two of which ended in loss. One of those miscarriages, we hadn’t told anyone and dealing with it alone (and not feeling like I could take sick leave because no one knew) was awful. My morning sickness wasn’t too bad in the office, but it if had been there would have been no way to hide it.

    5. Zombeyonce*

      I disagree with this. I posted about it above but mainly the problem with sharing only with people you’d tell if you had a loss is a different equation when at work. That news very rarely stays with just those people and then if you do have a loss, you suddenly have all these people that only heard the news that you’re pregnant coming up to congratulate you. You then have to tell them you had a miscarriage which is not only uncomfortable for everyone, but if you’re trying to keep it together work, you don’t want that reminder whenever you see someone that’s out of the loop.

      It’s different for friends, but all it takes is one tiny slip up from someone at work for a miscarriage to become what feels like a never-ending nightmare of reminders when you’re trying to work and not talk about your miscarriage with near strangers. Mainly because people that hardly know you take pregnancy news as a time to make conversation when they didn’t before, so it’s coming from everywhere.

    6. Non-prophet*

      Yes, I agree with this framing. I’ve had previous losses, one of which impact my travel schedule for several projects at work. I let my boss know what had happened because a) I needed time off for a D&C and b) she’s a kind, reasonable, lovely person and I knew she would be supportive about both the miscarriages and any future pregnancies.

      I’m pregnant again, and told my boss once I was a few weeks into the second trimester. If I had another loss, I knew I would share it with her, so felt comfortable telling her about the pregnancy. I waited until 22 weeks to tell coworkers, since I’m not as close to them and wouldn’t want that type of information to be widely known around the office. All that to say, I agree with your framing of “who would I want support from, in case something goes wron?.”

      OP, it’s such a personal decision and there is no wrong answer. Congrats and wishing you a healthy and happy pregnancy!

    7. Me*

      I have experience with this as the supportive work friend.

      A coworker, who now has a 6 year old, had difficulties while trying to get pregnant and had several losses.

      Fortunately we have a good supportive, non-nosy, work environment, which helped as well, but it was helpful for her to disclose to me so I could run interference. For instance, she had to leave upset in the middle of the day and I was able to go to the boss and say she’s ok just dealing with a difficult personal issue and needs some time off.

      It’s not a requirement of course, but I think it’s valuable to offer as a suggestion if it makes sense.

    8. Former Admin Turned Project Manager*

      From a less medical and more social aspect, I waited until my second trimester with each kid (except for a few folks with whom I was personally friendly outside of the office) because I didn’t want the pregnancy to dominate my life at work. I had too many people ready to share every horror story of their own pregnancies, or to butt into my business about what I ate/how I moved/what plans I had once the news was out, I might have been able to cope with any more of it. With my first, I pretty much told everyone as soon as I hit the second trimester; with the other two, I waited until I couldn’t disguise my protruding belly (although I showed more quickly with #2 and #3 than I did the first time around, so it didn’t buy me a huge amount of time).

  7. Terrified*

    We are doing IVF now, I’ll be 39 in March. I am in the same boat with you I don’t want to tell people we are trying because of our age and I really fear telling them when we get pregnant. The men I work with that are my age had kids in their 20’s and the women are either quite a bit older with grandkids or are younger and don’t plan on kids or had an baby in college. Our friends had kids early in life and they are just now that their kids are grown are able to travel like we have been for years and I fear their reactions so much. It may be the hormones but I am so scared for this.

    1. Alienor*

      Fwiw, I had my daughter pretty young (mid-20s, so not outrageously young, but several years ahead of everyone else in my cohort) and the only thing I’d say to a friend having their first child in their late 30s is “congratulations, that’s great news.” And, when daughter was in primary school, there were LOTS of kids who had parents in their 40s and early 50s–either because they’d started later or because they had several kids and this one was the last–so you’re going to have lots of company as your eventual baby grows up!

    2. I coulda been a lawyer*

      People will either be happy that you are happy, or they won’t. The happy ones are your friends. Everyone is permitted to be concerned for you, but if they are angry they are just selfish. I don’t have the strength to go through a later-age pregnancy, but if that’s what YOU want, then I wish you all blessings.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      If *YOU* are a good traveler, your child will likely learn to love it too. I went all over with my mom & dad and loved it.
      That said, I’d recommend waiting until the child is old enough to tell you about physical problems before taking her on a plane simply because it’s so painful to fly with an undiscovered ear infection. Unfortunately THAT is the voice of experience too… it’s one of my earliest memories.

    4. A tester, not a developer*

      Best wishes!

      Re. your friends – look at it this way: if they have kids still at home, you’ve got a babysitter for when you all want to go out! And if their kids are grown, but aren’t at the stage to be having their own kids, you may be providing your friends with a little dose of adorable baby to tide them over until it’s time for grandkids! :)

    5. Zillah*

      FWIW, two good friends of mine travel with their twin babies often – I think they’ve been on more flights than they are months old at this point, and while it takes some planning and obviously changes things, travel can still be doable.

      1. LawBee*

        I have a friend who takes her kids on monthly flights to visit the grandparents, and has done since they were quite young. I figure once they graduate high school, they’ll have accumulated enough frequent flyer points that their graduation trip will be paid for, lol.

        Another friend of mine took her six-week old to Disney World with zero problems. She, a mother of four, said that it was actually the easiest time to travel with a child because all they do is eat and sleep, and they’re still light enough to carry.

        (Of course, I also have a friend who went on self-imposed house arrest the entirety of her maternity leave, so YMMV.)

        1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

          We took full advantage of the “under two years old children fly free on your lap” policy! We took our then-eight-month-old daughter on a five-week trip to visit both sets of grandparents and friends in two different countries, and it was great. There’s some sacrifice to spontaneity when traveling with kids, but it’s really still very doable. (At six weeks I was still definitely figuring things out and it took me a Herculean effort to get out of the house to run errands, let alone travel, but I was a first-time parent… if I was on kid #4 I’d probably have all the tricks down pat!)

    6. WFH Mom*

      Best wishes to you! I had both my kids in mid/late 30’s and had many friends who had kids in their 20’s or have chosen not to at all. As my oldest has entered kindergarten, we are finding a new group of friends with kids in the same age group. Though I live in a part of the country where the norm is to start families young, I have found many other parents through my kid’s school who are in my same age range.

      Don’t overthink it. People will be happy for you and supportive for the most part. There might be someone who says something insensitive, but they are typically few and far between. I think the worst part about having kids in my 30’s has been the overwhelming unsolicited advice on pregnancy and childcare from those who have been there done that. Most of it comes from a good place, but it can be too much at times.

    7. MommyMD*

      It doesn’t matter what people thing. It matters that it makes you happy. If someone is not committing a crime or hurting someone, people should just be free to live.

    8. Fellow IVF'er*

      I am 37 and going through IVF. We have been trying to conceive since I was 30. We have been pretty open about our journey (with friends and family, not blasting on social media or anything) because I hate the stigma that exists with the topic. Anyway, age is no way the only factor that impacts fertility. It certainly isn’t a factor in our medically diagnosed infertility.. Anyway, it’s your choice how much or how little you want to share and I would just take any and all reactions with a grain a salt. People who have never experienced infertility/IVF simply have no comprehension of how difficult it is and make many assumptions based on common misconceptions. It is unfortunate but the truth. So, you just have prepare yourself not to let dumb comments get to you.

  8. WellRed*

    My boss (age 37) waited until she was five months along to tell us, during a regular meeting. It was definitely a surprise but it was all fine.

  9. Minnesota*

    Mom of 4. My youngest was born when I was 39 and after I’d started at a new company. And I miscarried in my early 30s after I had told people about the pregnancy (and after the first trimester). In both instances, I told people I trusted and specifically asked them to make sure people knew. Telling people–especially about the miscarriage–as exhausting, but I definitely wanted everyone to know. I didn’t want to tell the office gossip (yes, there is one everywhere) because I wanted to tell people with whom I was comfortable expressing emotion and who I trusted to tell everyone else in a caring and compassionate manner.

    And, yes, Congratulations!

  10. Working Mom*

    I found out I was pregnant very, very early. I went to work the next day and my colleague announced her third pregnancy. We worked with a small staff (12 people), so I took a risk and let my CEO know immediately, since based on our respective due dates and my colleague’s history with her other kids to take extra time before returning to work (so good for her and a great example for me!!), my coworker would not be back from maternity leave when my leave started. I did wait until my symptoms essentially forced me to tell the rest of my colleagues, but my CEO was nothing but supportive and also appreciated the advance notice to plan for having two of us out at once. Now, however, I would wait to tell everyone until I was further along. We merged with a few other nonprofits and are a larger organization, and have seen a complete change in executive leadership, so my being out would impact fewer people, but I also don’t have the same, positive relationship or trust with the new CEO. I would definitely suggest waiting until the second trimester, for the reasons Allison states but also because if your experience is like mine, your pregnancy will become the focal point of conversations, and that gets old really fast. Any way to reduce that window is worth it :)

    Also, as someone in my mid-thirties who struggles a bit with the fact that I’m getting older, only have one kid and am not in a position to have another kid right now, I needed to read your letter and remind myself there’s always time. Thanks for sharing, and best wishes for a healthy pregnancy!

    1. Sloan Kittering*

      Because of a friend’s IVF, she knew about her pregnancy much earlier than most people in our group (like, she knew to the the second the embryo was planted!). It was very hard for her to keep it a secret so long. It’s fun to see that child now and remember the picture of the multi-cell sphere she’d texted me!!

      1. Valancy Snaith*

        Hey, just to correct a common misconception: an IVF transfer is not a guarantee of pregnancy. Once the embryo is transferred (not implanted) into the womb, there’s still a waiting game to see if it will actually implant or not. There is still a pretty agonizing waiting period between the transfer and the blood test to determine whether or not it will become a pregnancy.

        1. Sloan Kittering*

          Oh, yes. Of course. Just that hers did result in pregnancy, so she knew down to the second.

      2. Shawna*

        I am an IVF “alum.” Like many women, my road to pregnancy was long and incredibly fraught. I didn’t tell anyone until I was 5 months along because I didn’t want to jinx anything. My point being, IVF people might be particularly secretive (unlike your friend) about their pregnancies. And also, while it’s great to share joyful news, baby announcements can be agonizing for people doing infertility treatment. Of course it’s fine to share and celebrate, but just a reminder to be aware that infertility is super common, and if someone on your team struggles to congratulate you, or attend baby-related events, it’s possible that infertility is the cause. (FWIW the email ultrasound would have been devastating to me when I was undergoing treatment.)
        Valancy: wishing you well with your treatment! I am cheering you on from Internet-stranger-land.

        1. Fellow IVF'er*

          Shawna- so true and great advice!
          I have had 2 failed transfers and am starting to get ready for a 3rd FET. I think if it does finally work, it may be hard not to shout the exciting news from the roof top! LOL! Though who knows how I will really feel when/if it happens. But infertility changes everything! You are more concerned about others in similar situations, you’re more paranoid than others that something could go wrong, etc.

  11. DCompliance*

    I waited until the end of my first trimester to say something. I told my boss first. I told my team later that day. Then I just let word spread or for people to figure it out….like the one person who said to me “Oh your pregnant! I thought you were just getting fat!”
    If you have a good relationship with your boss, then I think you can be more honest.

      1. Burned Out Supervisor*

        On the other end of that, I had a friend (who I hadn’t seen in a while) congratulate me on my pregnancy. I was not pregnant.

        I had a good cry over that and is why I will never assume someone is pregnant, even if they’re laid out on the floor having the kid right there in the lobby.

        1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

          Yup, a good rule of thumb is that you can *ask* if someone is pregnant *if* you are about to administer some kind of medical care to them that you would do differently if they are pregnant. Otherwise, shut up.

        2. Flash Bristow*

          I’ve had that. At work.

          “When is it due?”
          “What? ”
          “The baby!”
          “I’m not pregnant. Just fat.”

          The rest of that lift journey was rather chilly and silent.

    1. IvyGirl*

      Two days after telling my at the time boss, she asked me if I thought I was showing.

      I replied – well, I guess, a little, maybe?

      She replied – well, you’ve definitely put on a considerable amount of weight.


    2. Hills to Die on*

      Ah, yes, I love those! Put them up there with these old faves:

      Really, just one? I would have assumed youwere carrying triplets with how big you are!

      Wow, you look so much farther along than that! Your stomach is huge. Also, so is your butt (yes, these are actual adults saying this crap. And also my MIL. of course.)

      You’re so big I just figured you ate too many donuts.

      1. Artemesia*

        My best friend was very short — we were pregnant at the same time and she at 5 mos was bigger than me at 8 (I am tall and so show less). Everyone kept asking her if she was having twins; got old fast. Fast forward to delivery, induced because ‘the baby is so big’ — Twins. Two six pounders and a tribute to the incompetence of the OB that he hadn’t noticed two heartbeats or done an ultrasound. She didn’t know she was having twins till the second one was delivered — her husband had already left the delivery room to see his child’s first bath.

        I cannot believe people who comment on body change in pregnant women — or talk about weight gain any time except ‘gee you look great’ after a significant weight loss.

        1. Octopus*

          Eh, I’ve also heard too many stories of people who lost a lot of weight that they didn’t want to lose. You can have worrying medical issues that cause you to lose weight and still “look great” to other people – especially because people often think less weight = healthy when that isn’t always true. I just don’t comment on other people’s weight unless they’ve asked my opinion and I know them well enough to know how to phrase my response.

          1. Flash Bristow*

            About to say that. I get a lot of “wow, what’s your secret?!!

            I have some answers in standby, but they get old fast.

            I usually just say “ah well, vomiting all the time will tend to do that”.

            If anyone can think of a better / kinder response please clue us all in!

        1. Former Admin Turned Project Manager*

          When I was pregnant with my daughter, I carried my weigh all over (as opposed to the belly-only with my boys) and I was startled one day to have one of the accounting clerks whack me on the behind and exclaim “You are carrying this child in your butt!” She didn’t seem to think it was even mildly inappropriate.

    3. YouGottaThrowtheWholeJobAway*

      “I thought you were just getting fat!”
      This statement entitles you to set fire to their desk and eat their lunch out of the fridge.

    4. NotAnotherManager!*

      The last time I was pregnant, I was managing a small, all-male team. I told them at a staff meeting when I was about halfway done, and one of them looks at another one and goes, “See, I TOLD you so!” in a manner that suggested there had been discussion about whether I was pregnant or just gaining weight.

  12. Lulu*

    One of my pet peeves is the advice that pregnant people shouldn’t announce to anybody except their partner and maybe BFF until 2nd trimester. I totally understand not announcing to people who aren’t friends or potential supports (which in many cases includes co-workers). But I think the advice also ignores the reality that complications and/or miscarriage happen to a lot of people, and that those people may need a lot of support. I have a lot of regret about not telling people about the pregnancy I lost a week shy of 2nd trimester. I robbed myself of a lot of potential emotional support that I honestly needed before and after the loss. For me, that included some co-workers. So many people suffer alone or with inadequate support because they were told to keep things a secret.

    My advice: tell anybody you would want to lean on if you had difficulties or a loss. (Depending on your workplace, this might be everybody or nobody or somewhere in between.) Anybody else can wait until you need to discuss maternity leave plans, though obviously if it would bring you joy to announce to them earlier, announce earlier!

    1. Lulu*

      I realize this comes off as a debbie downer post. I’m not assuming complications or a miscarriage. But the reason we are told to keep it a secret is because of that possibility. So it feels relevant.

      Congratulations, and good luck!

    2. Faith*

      My first pregnancy ended in a very early miscarriage (we went in for my very first appointment, and the sonogram showed no heartbeat). I ended up having to take a few days off for the D&C procedure and some physical and mental recovery, and I really wish people at work knew why I was out. Everyone was operating under the presumption that I was simply taking vacation, so I ended up having to deal with some questions and comments that were totally innocent, but very hurtful given the circumstances.

    3. Chickena*

      I wrote something similar above but you wrote it better – this is exactly what I was trying to say.

    4. your favorite person*

      I agree with you. I think it’s fine to tell anyone you want early, but I always hedged it with, “of course, it’s still early and things can happen so please keep this between up until further notice.” My family was very considerate of that, with the reminder.

    5. TheRedCoat*

      It’s different for different people. I found having to “un-tell” everyone just reopened the wound every single time- I didn’t want emotional support, I wanted to lick my wounds in private and not hash out every detail in public.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        I felt like I was then burdened being the emotional support for those people who experienced my loss as their own. [I’m looking at you, Mom.] That’s probably more unlikely for friends and colleagues than family, but some people make everything about them. Do not tell those people.

    6. Turtlewings*

      I was really struck a while back by someone — I believe it was on this site, who knows, it may have been you! — expressing their regret for not telling more people. She was sick enough with the miscarriage that her coworkers had to be told what was up, and they gave her a lot of support in that bad time, but she hated the fact that… basically everyone got the bad news, without ever getting the good news and having a chance to celebrate with her. All concealing the beginning of the pregnancy did was ensure that no one got to be happy about her baby before it was gone. That really made an impression on me and sort of changed my mind about the “when to tell” question.

    7. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      I agree on the “someone to lean on” category. My 2nd trimester loss happened while I was on a business trip. It was good to have an ally at work to tell and who could relay the information to my bosses. I couldn’t have faced the phone call otherwise.

      And for both of my pregnancies, she was the first person I told. I got to have the happy and excited, and the support when I needed it.

      And I definitely was glad that our nosy and opinionated receptionist stayed out of the loop until I was very well along!

  13. alh*

    You could always do it the way I did it, and come back to your desk after lunch to find out that your manager had sent out an email to the entire section asking if anyone was interested in filling in for you during your maternity leave. Oh, wait …

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Oh dear god in heaven.
      That was so inappropriate of them that I just channeled my grandmother. And decided to leave it.

  14. MaternityLeaveIsAJoke*

    Congratulations! I wasn’t planning on telling my boss until 13 weeks (after all the genetic testing, etc.) but I had a spotting scare at work 9 weeks in and had to explain why I was rushing out in a panic. I told the rest of my team later on. I’m 35, so, “high risk.”

    I contacted HR right away about maternity leave policies without telling them anything. They can’t really question you as it’s their job to provide you with information/documentation.

    Federally, you’ll get 12 weeks under the FMLA if you meet the qualifications per your employer. Not sure what state you live in, but some have better laws than others. I’m in CT and they allow for 16 weeks, running concurrently with the federal 12. I’m also using my short term disability which is paid at the same time as my PTO is deducted. Either way, I will run out of pay but am still taking the full 16.

    Also, once you get further along, check to see if your state’s laws allow for extended leave requests in extenuating cicrcumstances. Not to scare you, and if inappropriate, Allison please delete, but I have the possibility of facing a NICU stay as I’ve been diagnosed with IUGR (Google it.) Obviously, no mom wants her maternity leave to begin in the NICU and last there for however long. It cuts into bonding time with baby. So I was upfront with HR about this as soon as I was diagnosed, and they said CT laws had changed and you can request more time in cases of maternity leave so long as you provide medical documentation.

    Again, not saying that’s your case AT ALL…. but I like to be prepared from every angle… to the extent that I can.

  15. kristinyc*

    Re: waiting to tell
    Another reason for waiting to tell until the 2nd trimester is that NIPT/Nuchal screenings happen around 12-14 weeks. (For anyone who doesn’t know what those are – they’re tests that find any genetic abnormalities/anomalies that could pose future problems, and they’re done early enough that if something horrible was found, the parents could decide to terminate the pregnancy. It’s pretty terrifying waiting for those results, and I’ve had friends who have made that decision after they had already announced their pregnancy, and it was awful.)

    I’m currently 31 weeks along (!!!). I told my boss and a few close coworkers around 7-8 weeks, then told my direct reports around 13 weeks because I was about to be away speaking at conferences (where the news would possibly come out on twitter). When I got back, I announced it a bigger team meeting.

    1. Consulting Queen*

      This was the situation I had in 2017. I had waited until 14 weeks to announce to my job (although my direct bosses knew at around 7 weeks because I had bitching morning sickness). At 17 weeks we found out from the Nuchal test results (and a follow up scan) that our baby was not going to survive and we had to terminate the pregnancy. I told my bosses the full story because I needed a few weeks of medical leave to take care of things, but asked them to just say I lost the baby to everyone else.

      This time around (I’m currently 20 weeks), I told my bosses against because of my morning sickness but waited until I was 17 weeks and had my nucal test results and early anatomy scan to tell people.

      1. kristinyc*

        Wishing you the best for the rest of your pregnancy! You’re almost at the part where you can feel the baby moving, and it’s wonderful! :)

    2. lulu*

      This. If you know you’re going to do testing where, depending on the results, you might chose to terminate the pregnancy, I would keep it to myself because I wouldn’t want to deal with comments on my decision.

  16. Akcipitrokulo*


    I was also pregnant at 39 – you’re not alone in it!

    Regardless of how/when you chose to tell people, if they decide to react badly, that is not on you!

    Good luck :)

  17. The New Wanderer*

    I waited until I was 5 months or so with my first (at 34), because I was really pushing to get my promotion through before any ‘distraction’ – it did go through, but also made things just a touch awkward for coworkers who had guessed but were polite enough to refrain from asking. Told my manager first, then a few coworkers during normal conversations, and the news kind of spread on its own.

    With my second at 39, I don’t even remember the details. I know I waited until 12 weeks though. I had had an earlier pregnancy end at 10 weeks, after I had told family and a few friends but no work people yet. It was hard enough having to update family and friends (I need a lot of privacy to grieve), I was really grateful not to have to manage the news with coworkers too.


  18. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

    Congratulations. I’d second Alison’s advice on keeping it quiet until you’re well along for the various reasons she mentioned.

    But I’ll also point out that the longer people know, the more time they have to get unreasonably invested in your own parenting journey and giving you “helpful” advice whether you’d like it or not. You have your own process to consider, and having people leap in and tell you their horror stories or worry or start quizzing you on baby names or nursery decor is not as fun or as helpful as they mean to be.

    If you have a very discreet friend and/or boss, it might be good to have an ally in the office if you’re keeping things quiet — sometimes it’s nice to have someone who gets it when you feel gross and need to hide out in the ladies room for awhile.

    I had a complicated parenting journey, including losing my first in the second trimester, and being an only parent who didn’t want to explain myself or my conception story either time, and I really liked just not telling a lot of people about it until it became really obvious, at which point they could just figure out that they weren’t in on the deep detailed discussions.

    Enjoy your journey any way you decide, though. It is kinda cool.

    1. TheRedCoat*

      THIS. As someone was called “mama” by coworkers for a solid 7 months, I have vowed that next time my coworkers will find out I’m pregnant at about month 9. (My manager will probably be a-ok with that plan, tbh.)

      1. kristinyc*

        Ugh, my co-workers are calling me Mama and asking me if I’m ready for the baby to come… I still have 2 full months. I’ve also had a few coworkers comment on how I’ve “gotten so big!!!”

        Like, what’s a polite way to respond to that? I want to just say “Thanks, you too!”, but I’m nicer than they are.

        Also, I’m not even THAT big… I’m having a “belly only” pregnancy and only have any noticeable size difference in my chest and belly. But then people have comment on how I’m “carrying beautifully”. Uh, thanks? I didn’t really get to decide how my body reacts to pregnancy. And “carrying beautifully” puts a lot more strain on my ribs and hips than it would if I were getting bigger everywhere…

        People have no idea how to talk to pregnant people. It’s okay not to mention my pregnancy every time you see me. Really.

        1. President Porpoise*

          I’m with you. 36 weeks, here. I’m going out on leave after Thursday (thank goodness for good STD benefits!) and I am so tired of the constant “You’re looking good for how far along you are!”- which isn’t as complementary to someone who is in serious, constant discomfort and barely fitting anything.

          The only thing I hate more is the barrage of requests for baby pictures when the kiddo does show up – it’s like you have nothing to talk abut that people find interesting except the baby, and I don’t want to be That Person.

          1. kristinyc*

            Yay! You’re almost there! :)

            I have to work up until my due date (end of March), and….I’d rather not. I’m measuring 2 weeks ahead and hoping that means baby will be a little early. Our STD only covers from the day I deliver, and I would rather tack my month of saved PTO to the end of my leave once the baby’s here, since I can’t exactly plan for the delivery date just yet.

        2. Elizabeth the Ginger*

          Ugh, what IS it about pregnancy that makes people think that it’s okay to comment on women’s bodies?

          Unfortunately, brace yourself for it not to end after you give birth, either. I’m a teacher and had SO MANY of my student’s parents comment on my weight when I came back from maternity leave. “You look like you never had a baby!” Uh… if that’s a compliment, it’s weirdly negating of something that’s impacted my entire life recently. “You look great! You’re so skinny!” I teach your kid science. Why are you inspecting my abdomen? And if I wasn’t so skinny, would I therefore not look great? (I actually had lost a LOT of weight and felt really uncomfortable in my body because of it, and having acquaintances constantly let me know they were paying attention to my body didn’t help at all.)

          1. Artemesia*

            One thing I was not prepared for when I had my first was that you look 5 mos pregnant the day after the birth; I didn’t have any trouble losing the weight and getting back in shape and was back to more or less normal in 6 weeks the first time and 10 the second — but lots of people take longer than that and it is perfectly normal. I just didn’t know that it took the belly awhile to disappear and was shocked by it. Having people comment on that was not that swell. Having a baby is a major stress on the body and there are lots of changes that don’t disappear overnight.

      2. WFH Mom*

        When I had my 2nd, I was working in a satellite office having a boss and most of the coworkers in my department in a separate office in a different state. My boss and grandboss were informed at 2nd trimester, but most of my peers didn’t know until I was on maternity leave. Honestly, I just didn’t really know how to announce pregnancy in that environment. And since I had only been on the job a year, I feared how people would react. I worried too much as people were super supportive, just shocked that an entire pregnancy had come and gone without any announcement until I was on leave.

  19. Akcipitrokulo*

    May also be worth checking entitlements where you are as may affect decision – eg in UK you are entitled to have paid time off for maternity-related appointments, but you’d have to tell them so they didn’t take it off your holiday allowance or get you to make up the time.

  20. Jubilance*

    I told my boss at about 10wks – my boss was new and unfamiliar with my work, and I was in the middle of the “I can’t stay awake past 2pm” phase of the first trimester, so it was my way of saying “I’m not a slacker I’m just pregnant & trying to deal with it”. I think I told my team in a team meeting in a kind of off-hand way and it was well received.

  21. your favorite person*

    I’m a little younger, but just went through this (14 weeks this week!) I was basically forced to tell my immediate boss very early (6 weeks) because I had ‘morning sickness’ all day and was sick and vomiting all the time. I had to take several mornings and leave early some days. He was very supportive. One of my co-workers was getting very worried about me, and was threatening to take me to the ER since I was so sick- I told her at 8 weeks. After that, I told my employees at 13 weeks very matter of factly at a staff meeting that I was pregnant and when I was due and how it would affect them. I told them they were free to tell people around the office if they wanted to, and told a couple busy-body types after that. I assume that most of the office knows now!

  22. Future Parent but Not in the Usual Way*

    I’m curious what y’all’s or Alison’s take would be for parents who are looking to adopt. What do you say then? At times its very similar in terms of being out of the office, and there is still the possibility of loss, although not in the same physical way, but potentially emotionally.

    1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      I’d probably stick to telling only discreet allies. There are just too many opinions out there and you don’t need to hear it. You’ve already thought this through and done your research and unless someone’s done it before and offers to answer questions (and holds off from pontificating until AFTER you’ve given the go ahead), keeping things to a need-to-know basis seems to be prudent.

      The potential for loss is incredible, and there are stresses as you go through each step of the adoption, which is not in any way as simple as someone handing you a rosy cheeked cherub. The less you involve folks, the better, because you are not likely to have the space to defend your positions or answer the same questions over and over just because they thought of something.

      I’d encourage you to get some support from other adoptive parents … possibly outside of the office … because they’ll get it and their “help” is more likely to be helpful.

      If you’re adopting domestically, then you can announce to many of your co-workers even as late as “hey, I’m back from adoption leave”. And if your adoption takes you out of state or out of the country, they can discover the details later.

      Good luck on your process!

    2. President Porpoise*

      Good luck to you! I’ve had family and friends go the adoption route and it can be so emotionally fraught. The payoff is so great however, with kids being brought into a loving home that welcomes them wholeheartedly.

    3. Scaramouche Scaramouche*

      Was looking for a comment like this because I’m ALSO trying to adopt and wondering! I can tell you that I told a friend at work – as in, we’re friends OUTSIDE of work – and told her discreetly. She let me know that her boss adopted a few years ago – through the agency I did my home study with! So I had some helpful convos with her and plan to seek her advice on telling my boss/HR. For adoption it’s so tricky – not only is there the possibility of a placement not working out, but the only time you for sure know it’s happening is when baby/child is home with you and even THEN it’s not completely certain until the birth parent(s) have signed the termination of parental rights – in some states there’s a 30 or 60 day window where they can change their mind. So to play it completely safe you really might just tell your boss, “I’m going to become a parent this week!”

      I also have a brand new boss – new to the company – so telling them “I might become a parent any day but probably it’ll take a year or more but it COULD be next week” feels…….. not all that helpful. But keeping it a secret until the big event also feels unhelpful!

  23. Congrats!*

    I told my boss (at 12 weeks) & my team (at 20 weeks) in person, then put up a little sign (it’s a girl! with due date) on the outside of my cube wall so it wasn’t like making an announcement or walking around telling people – but gave anyone who wanted to celebrate with me an opening to do so. It worked great!

  24. CanCan*

    Excellent advice; I agree 100% with Alison. Congrats, OP!

    I would wait until the end of the first trimester, regardless of the age. That said, if you never ever came in late due to doctor’s appointments, and suddenly you have one appointment per month, people will start to guess. That’s what happened to me! (It was towards the end of the first trimester, so I was ready to tell anyway.)

    1. Just Employed Here*

      You might need to let the plumber in or drive an elderly relative to an appointment sometimes… ;-) Or have an appointment with the dentist, that’s believable, too!

  25. Elsie Sea*

    To throw in a different perspective – I did not share my due date at work, I shared a two week range to help people have realistic expectations! “I’m due sometime the last week of June through first week of July” worked even when getting leave arranged through HR (my doctor shared my date with HR and they didn’t share it with anyone). The due date isn’t something the baby knows, and unless you’re planning a C-section, you won’t know what day the baby comes, so why should your colleagues have a specific date?

    I was able to work until I went into labor (no complications, no risks known in advance), and incorporated that “unknown” end date into my maternity leave because things happen! Plus, folks in my office are a little obsessive about The Due Date for other pregnant colleagues. I was able to perform *much* better at work because people weren’t able to make well-intentioned but nosy comments (that get under my skin) like “well, now you’re overdue, guess you’re ready to pop!” or “aren’t you worried you’re late/early?” I kept my pregnancy and symptom information pretty limited at work, unless it was something that impacted work, like leave plans, or if I was out for an appointment or other care.

    I am intentionally *not* part of the “mom clique” that goes on in the office because that group doesn’t reflect my parenting experience or values (no slight intended, I just don’t fit with that existing group), so know you can keep things to yourself (mostly), be happy about your upcoming parenting, and *still* be a stellar colleague who communicates and connects as needed.

  26. Eeyore's missing tail*

    Wow, this is very timely for me. I’m making my announcement at work today! A few people already knew, like my boss and a couple of coworkers, but most don’t.

  27. Alienor*

    I definitely wouldn’t advise doing what I did, which was to blurt it out on the heels of someone else on my team announcing that she was pregnant also. It’s been years and years and I still feel guilty about accidentally stealing her thunder, but I had been sitting on the news for 3-4 months trying to work out how to reveal it, and I was so relieved not to be the only one that it just came out! (She forgave me.)

    1. The New Wanderer*

      Oh, the same thing happened to me with my first. I went out to lunch with two of my closest coworkers and planned to announce it to them. Only just as we sat down, one announced that he and his wife were expecting! So, yeah. :-)

    2. Half-Caf Latte*

      I did this with a friend. I was nearing the end of the first trimester (not showing), and was headed to a wedding. I planned on not telling to not steal the bride’s thunder, but then another friend/guest announced her pregnancy. I didn’t make the congratulations face, I made the “crikey, should I tell people my news too face?”, and then ended up telling in order to explain my weird reaction. So I stole pregnancy thunder and wedding thunder.

  28. Pinky Pie*


    I was a later in life pregnancy- that dreaded AMA. My experience was that if pregnancy was a scale of no worries to all the worries, AMA puts you at a slightly higher level of worries, that actually give you some benefits. I was able to have genetic testing done in the first trimester as well as a level 2 ultrasound. Older moms have a greater likelihood of false positives on the genetic testing. (There wasn’t enough dna from my youngest the first time, the second time there were concerns about downs that were shared with me during the nuchal translucency testing- and the testing cleared up the concerns. I now tell all moms that as of 4 years ago, older moms may not get the best reading.)

    Using that scale idea, I ended up a step or two below Upho Shaggie and had considerably more appointments, which made discloser more important. I knew that going into my second, so I told my boss at the time of the first appointment.

    I was childfree for a period of time, deciding I’d rather regret not having a child than regretting having one. When the situation in my life changed to allow me to have kids, it was as right as not having them before I was ready to be a devoted mom. My girls know that motherhood is a choice that not all women make and even those who make it don’t make it at the same age in life. My 7 year old doesn’t understand the facts of life, but understands she’d rather take the pills that stop her from having a baby (she may or may not change her mind- but she has my love and support.)

  29. RNL*

    Congratulations, OP!

    I have a history of loss, and am actually currently 12 weeks pregnant and only a few people know, but I was strategic in who I told. I’m a lawyer, and a newly-minted junior partner. Basically, I’ve told the senior partner who I work with closely and is a good advocate for me, my assistant, and a few friends. I’m waiting for genetic screening results before I discuss it in a practical way (ie in terms of my yearly budget). One member of the compensation committee knows, but he’ll hopefully keep his mouth shut while determining my compensation this year.

    When I have had losses in the past, it has been helpful for me to basically ask for accommodation at work – I have had my budget reduced, taken time off, off-loaded certain pieces of work for a period of time. I certainly would not have wanted to have “announced” it generally at work, but if it is possible in your workplace and you have a miscarriage or other pregnancy complication, I recommend not hiding it and trying to power through but asking for the support you need to properly grieve and physically heal. It can be an overwhelming and very isolating experience. I found that when I took a week off I came back to work much more capable of performing, and struggled when I tried to power through.

    In terms of everyone else, I highly recommend not worrying about what they will think about you “changing your mind” or being older, or whatever. I really think we need to cultivate a culture in the workplace that pregnancy is something that happens to women sometimes, it is normal, it is not anyone’s business, and that workplaces need to consider it just a part of having staff. Tell them when you’re ready with enough time for them to prepare whatever you need to prepare, and be matter of fact! Allison’s advice is great.

  30. Robin Bobbin*

    I’m laughing about the “waiting to tell” advice. In the early weeks of my pregnancies I threw up multiple times a day and was green around the gills in between times. This was so bad that I lost 10 pounds in the fourth month of all 3 of my pregnancies. Yes, at month #4 this was still going on and beyond. Back in those olden days there was medication available that reduced the vomiting to once a day, but the green around the gills aspect stayed. This was a 24/7 condition, forget that “morning sickness” baloney. My daughter, when her time came, had similar issues. She got “laid off” from her large and well known movie outfit position. I have no doubt it was due to pregnancy sickness, but try proving that. (My mom had 5 kids and no tummy issues at all. So unfair!)

    And then there was my coworker whose breast size ballooned remarkably along about week 8. All of a sudden none of her tops fit and she needed a new wardrobe. Even polite people notice that sort of thing.

  31. Sharpie*

    Congratulations! When I was an executive assistant I announced my pregnancy with goodies! I brought in doughnuts and cinnamon rolls for the office and put a little note with an ultrasound picture on it saying “Please enjoy a sweet bun to celebrate Sharpie’s sweet little bun in the oven!”

    1. Turtlewings*

      How cute! My sister’s workplace a few years ago had a similar doughnut-announcement tradition. One day a box of doughnuts appeared in the breakroom with a coy little note about how the unnamed mom-to-be was “the last one anyone would expect.” My sister was the only woman working there who wasn’t married, and she got quite a few Suspicious Looks throughout the day — not very kindly ones, either! (Very conservative area.) She was so relieved when the “culprit” was revealed to be a coworker whose baby was a surprise because her husband had had a vasectomy!

      (Fun fact: they ended up having FOUR “miracle” post-vasectomy babies. They were happy because the vasectomy pre-dated their marriage, but even so I’da been asking a doctor for my money back.)

      1. AnotherAlison*

        That’s kind of odd. Maybe she wouldn’t have imagined it could happen to her, but did she go around telling her coworkers that her husband had had a vasectomy? (I guess I can see it. . .busybody coworkers pestering her about when she would have kids, and responding never because Husband can’t. .. )

        My husband had a vasectomy but never had it “checked.” I would die. I’m 40, but our kids are 21 and 14. I’m fine with people reproducing at whatever age works for them, but raising kids for 40 years would not be my ideal situation.

        1. Turtlewings*

          Yeah, apparently the vasectomy was common knowledge for whatever reason. She was actually very apologetic when she realized she’d nearly caused trouble for my sister!

        2. Anon for Adoption*

          I’m actually also in the process of adopting and we learned that babies placed today are more often from mom’s on the older end of the spectrum that don’t want to start over and less teenaged moms who now have a lot more support (and better access to birth control / abortion) than years passed. It was an interesting fact I hadn’t given much thought to prior.

        3. MoopySwarpet*

          I previously had a co-worker who had a post-vasectomy baby. Talk about disconcerting! I can’t remember why/how I knew about the vasectomy, though.

          I imagine the vasectomy came up as a definitive answer to “So . . . when are you and John having babies of your own?” . . . Never with his vasectomy.

          my partner and I use the vasectomy/hysterectomy combo to shut down the people who won’t take “not likely” for an answer. As in . . . “When her/my uterus grows back.” or “When his/my vasectomy reverses itself.”

  32. SheLooksFamiliar*

    Hi, OP – I have no advice, just wanted to offer my congratulations. Take good care of yourself and please keep us posted!

  33. A Nonny Nonny*

    I told my three immediate bosses and our managing partner as soon as my pregnancy was confirmed. I was high risk due to diabetes and would need to see the doctor more often than in a non-high risk pregnancy, especially in the last 8 weeks. I emailed the whole office (~30 people) once I passed the first trimester.

  34. Anon for this*

    Congratulations op!

    I’m nearing the end of my first trimester. I chose to tell my boss and my closest colleagues (my department of five) before the first trimester mark because I have been having a lot of morning sickness and I just decided it was only a matter of time before someone spotted me throwing up outside a campus building or in the bathroom. I told my boss first and then my colleagues. Something that made me feel better was making a list before telling my boss about what would need to be covered in my absence along with ideas of who could cover what. Currently the plan is to share with people outside our department of five once we have a coverage plan in place. I work with donors, faculty members, and other departments closely so there will be quite a few people impacted when I’m out for three months.

    I chose to disclose at 10 weeks versus waiting for 12 because I just couldn’t deal with having to lie whenever my very nice boss or coworkers would ask me “Are you okay?” because I so clearly was not feeling 100 percent. It’s totally a personal decision though when you disclose. I worked with someone who was 40 with her first pregnancy and she didn’t tell us until she was 20 weeks along which was her prerogative.

  35. JB*

    Congratulations! 43 years old here, had my baby at 42, she’s eight months now and all is going great! (I live in a major city so got absolutely no eyebrow raises about this–your mileage may vary.) I’m a late bloomer who always swore she’d never get married or have kids, but in my late 30s I met The Guy who I actually thought it might be okay to have a child with (if he hadn’t wanted kids, I would have happily gone childfree).

    A note about the childfree boss: Not the same thing, but in my 20s I had a colleague and friend who, like me, had sworn she’d never get married or have kids. It was a point of connection between us. In her 30s, she got married and then pregnant, and I know she was embarrassed to tell me, given our bond, but I was genuinely happy for (if privately surprised, but really, happy!). And when in my early 40s I announced my baby’s arrival, she was genuinely happy for me too. So don’t sweat it if she’s otherwise a reasonable person–and if she’s not, oh well, just remember the surprise you might have felt if the shoe had been on the other foot, and give her the space to feel that. There are SO many other people who will be so supportive, and she’ll likely come around anyway (and no matter if not).

    1. Original Poster*

      Thanks for sharing your experience, this is encouraging! I can’t blame her at all for being surprised…WE are still a bit surprised ourselves. I’m sure that when I’m ready to tell her, she’ll be lovely about it…I’m just worrying about ALL the things right now!

      1. Anon for this*

        Worrying about all the things sounds normal! My hands were shaking when I went into to tell my boss even though she is a lovely boss and super reasonable in general and also loves babies. It’s something that can be really nerve wracking!

  36. Yet Another Anon Handle*

    As a 40-something child-free person: definitely brace for awkwardness. Your sense that she might view it as a betrayal is indeed probably you overthinking it, but there could be a kernel of truth in there. Depending on how much harassment your boss has taken for making it to her 40s with no kids, she might associate pregnancy with friend loss – or even with bullying (I did, on both counts, for a long time). You being a person who changed their mind about not having kinds will probably also make things tense. I guarantee someone has told her that at least once, and it’s a really nasty thing to say to someone. Giving ammunition to the people who say that puts you on their side, at least symbolically. The advice above to push back on that kind of thing if you hear it is good, definitely do so if you get the chance to.

    Hopefully your boss will be happy for you and all will be well, but if she is less than enthusiastic in response to the news, I would recommend giving her a lot of space, and making an effort to 1, talk about the pregnancy with/around her less than you might otherwise and 2, keep the connections you and she have around other things alive and well.

    Congrats, and good luck!

    1. Jennifer*

      Did she really change her mind? She said she was ambivalent about it and people made an assumption about her that wasn’t true. People sometimes are too quick to assign motives to people or project their feelings onto them.

  37. Former Help Desk Peon*

    I had my son at 37; I told my boss and my closest work friends around 12 weeks – I’d told them too about a prior pregnancy that ended in miscarriage and knew they’d be super supportive. Then I accidentally outed myself at about 14 weeks when we went for lunch with the bigger team and I ate everyone’s pickles, lol. Someone made a joke about pregnancy pickle cravings and my face gave it away.

  38. Could be Anyone*

    As a joyous child-free person, I can (almost) guarantee you that nobody will feel betrayed by your wonderful news!

  39. Bridget the Elephant*

    Hi OP, congratulations! I just wanted to add – I had to let my boss know about my pregnancy pretty much as soon as I knew. I was working as a teacher at the time, and we had an overseas trip two weeks later. I really would have preferred to wait until the second trimester, but because medical information was held by him as trip leader he needed to know in case anything happened while we were away. He also needed to update the dietary requirements (we were going to a country famous for charcuterie etc.). Then I had to tell another colleague in case I ended up rooming with her (she was the only other female teacher on the trip, and bookings had been messed up by the tour company before) and to explain why I wasn’t my usual active self (nausea hit pretty bad by the time we were out there). I also just wanted to make sure there was another woman there who had my back!

    I think what I’m trying to say is, let your boss/coworkers/family/friends know when *you’re* ready if at all possible. Don’t feel rushed into it, but also don’t feel you have to wait unless you want to. Good luck!

  40. Jennifer*

    Congrats! I can totally relate to you because I am close to your age and I think many must have assumed I’m in the never having kids club. I’m really in the I’m not sure club. I think your childfree boss may be a little disappointed but hopefully, she will keep that to herself. She may be in the same boat as me but stays quiet about it. No one has the right to dictate anyone’s life choices. Just remember that if you get some pushback from her.

    Congrats again!

  41. Kimmybear*

    I had my first baby just before my 38th birthday and had been married over 10 years so everyone assumed I wasn’t having any kids. I worked closely with a small team of seven at the time and told that manager first (at about 8 weeks) because she and I were close and she had good advice on telling my boss and the big bosses. I told my boss and the big bosses at 12 weeks because I wanted to wait at least that long and I needed to start scheduling travel that would have hit the very end of my pregnancy. I then told the team in a weekly meeting with cupcakes. Everyone was surprised because of their assumptions but supportive. The childless woman on the team (much older than me) was probably the most supportive. I also just let the rumor mill take care of everyone else. All of this is to say that everyone has lots of assumptions and fears running around but you’ll never know what happens until it happens.

  42. 2 Cents*

    Congrats, OP! I hope everything goes smoothly!

    I had my first child last year at age 35 (“advanced maternal age” lol), and waited until the start of the 2nd trimester to tell work friends. My immediate boss knew (so.many.tests.and.appointments.), but I knew she wouldn’t say anything until I gave the go-ahead.

  43. Norrie*

    It sounds like a planned pregnancy (it doesn’t just sort of happen, you either deliberately do or don’t use precaution correctly), and being honest about actually wanting a baby and that you planned for it, is the most honest and direct approach. You would want your child being honest in years to come especially if they ended up in the same situation. I think it would be a refreshing and honest approach with co-workers and your boss if you explained you changed your mind and wanted this life (and you are allowed too!). Luck!

    1. Jennifer*

      Hard disagree. Why she decided to get pregnant and whether or not she was using birth control is none of her boss’s business. It definitely isn’t any of her coworkers’ business. Big time TMI.

      She didn’t change her mind. She said she was ambivalent about having kids. That’s not the same as someone who was 100% determined to remain childfree and changed their mind.

    2. LawBee*

      I don’t know what magical precaution you know of that is a guaranteed 100% prevention, but I’m sure there are a lot of women who would like to know about it. This comment is baffling – none of what you want her to tell her coworkers is any of their business.

      “You would want your child being honest in years to come especially if they ended up in the same situation.”
      What situation? Being “whatever, if it happens it happens” about having children and then getting pregnant? That is hardly rare. She didn’t change her mind at all, they were not NOT trying to get pregnant, and now they are pregnant, and none of this is anyone’s business but theirs. I certainly wouldn’t tell my kids that they are obligated to tell their coworkers any of this.

    3. bearing*

      It almost sounds like you think she should *confess* to wanting or planning a baby, as if there would have been something wrong with that.

    4. Jess*

      I’m also confused by your comment – I think there *is* a difference between “we’re not using protection and we’ll just see what happens” and “I’m charting my ovulation and THIS is when we’re going to have sex and I have the date my period is expected worked out to the minute.”

      (Not…that I’ve ever been there…)

      It also seems odd to conflate saying otherwise with being dishonest to/about your child?

    5. Indie*

      Out of the three siblings in my family only one of us is a planned baby. Mum decided to put the pills away for my sister after finally moving into a child friendly house. My brother and I were ‘wonderful surprises’ and proof the pill doesn’t always work. Now I have several nieces and nephews, five of which come to us courtesy of failed condoms and poorly absorbed pills (thank the fates, they are spectacular little people). Yes, we are a very sharey family.

      If you’re not ready, then it’s a scary idea, but contraception doesn’t always work. Something the contraceptive companies have been ‘honest’ with us about on the packets for years. It’s not like nature waits for you to confirm your order and sign on a dotted line for the pregnancy.

    6. Jennifer Juniper*

      Norrie, OP doesn’t owe her coworkers that much information. They wouldn’t care about how/why the kid got conceived.

  44. Lily in NYC*

    OP, just remember no one cares about this as much as you assume they do and announce it in one of your team meetings or something. That sounds harsh but I don’t mean it that way – I’m just trying to say you are overthinking this! Congrats.

  45. Ok_Fortune*

    My coworker in her late thirties announced to the office around 8 weeks to explain her “weird behavior”, but like most people we were all pretty focused on ourselves and hadn’t noticed anything strange. Sadly she miscarried a week later. Our boss told us about the miscarriage and asked us not to bring it up. We all respected her wishes and she’s doing fine now, but it was a good example of exactly what most people are afraid of when they say not to announce early.

  46. Catleesi*

    When I managed a small team I had one of my direct reports disclose her pregnancy to me, and that she didn’t know how to tell people because it felt awkward. I volunteered to be the gossip spreader on her behalf, and she seemed to appreciate that she wouldn’t have to randomly (in her words) announce it in a conversation. If you have someone that can do that for you, it worked well in this situation!

  47. Elizabeth the Ginger*

    Alison, I wish this and your article on maternity leave had been around for me to read when I was pregnant three years ago! They’re so practical and comforting in that practicality.

    The one thing I wish was included in the maternity leave article is in the “what about when I come back?” paragraph at the end, I wish you included something about the legal rights that breastfeeding/pumping parents have. Maybe The Cut would hire you to write an article on that topic? You’ve fielded a lot of questions on that topic and it would be great to have a clear summary kind of article that pulls all that info together – what rights you do and don’t have, and what to do if your employer isn’t providing you with what’s required.

    1. Anon for this*

      Agreed. My current workplace is great but my last one was definitely breaking the law by having a coworker pump in the bathroom. A coworker who was pumping after her had to fight to get them to find her a space to pump that wasn’t a bathroom.

  48. Beth*


    When my manager was pregnant a few years ago, she told us (her team members) in our regular one-on-one meetings. She focused on what she knew about her plans at that point–when she expected to be out, what the current state was on the plan for coverage (she’d clearly already talked about it at least a little with her boss), etc.–and added that she’d keep us in the loop as plans solidified. And she asked us to keep it to ourselves for a day or two just to give her time to tell everyone herself before news spread. It wasn’t at all awkward to be on the receiving end of that conversation; on the contrary, we were really happy for her! I hope your team responds the same way for you.

  49. bookends*

    Congrats, OP! I’d like to second Alison’s point about making sure you tell your direct reports all around the same time, especially if you want to give everyone the same information about it. My boss had a baby last year, and chose to wait to tell everyone in person. We work out of different offices, and happened to not run into each other for a good month and a half after she’d started announcing her pregnancy. Three people accidentally told me because they thought I knew (and we have under 10 employees, so that’s a lot)! I think my favorite was that I heard from a former coworker, who heard from another former coworker, who heard from a partially retired coworker. My boss finally told me after I’d known for over a month, and I awkwardly pretended like I hadn’t known yet.

  50. StephThePM*

    Congrats…you sound like me, right down to the ambivalence. I was 38 for the first and 41 for the second. Hi-5! I’m a project manager on a remote team, and basically told my boss and a couple of close friends…then sent an email to everyone else. I sent a humorous email (know your team) about my wine budget temporarily getting in better check. I work with almost all guys and everyone was super supportive and helpful.

  51. Mac Attack*

    I had a chemical pregnancy in 2009 (the egg fertilized but did not fully implant). I had told my office manager and boss when I took a positive test, and then when I had an emergency appointment because I got my period a week later. I was glad I told them in that they understood my need to go home once it was confirmed I was not, in fact, pregnant. I’m also glad I did not tell anyone else in the office although one pushy coworker asked why I left early that day. You need to do what’s right for you and what you feel comfortable with in terms of telling anyone at your office. I would recommend, however, that if you feel your boss would be supportive and keep it on the down low you may want to inform her before the end of the first trimester, especially if you end up needing additional time off for appointments or morning sickness.

  52. GermanGirl*


    I told my boss and my HR person right away in week 6 but asked them to keep it quiet until the second trimester. I told my team after the genetic screening results came back and just let it spread from there.

    Cultural difference on the maternity leave planning:
    In Germany, because of Elternzeit and Elterngeld (parenting time and money) the most common assumption seems to be that the dad takes off the first 2 month or less and mom takes off the first whole year or more. We are going to split the parenting time and money differently, so we started discussing leave plans with our bosses during the fifth month of my pregnancy.

    Oh yes, and don’t forget to register at childcare places now if you want to use one. The waiting lists are huge, especially at the places with convenient location and good reputation.

  53. Jeeessss*

    Does anyone else have issues with reading articles when they’re in The New Yorker? I’m on mobile and I cannot read any of these articles on TNY website.

    1. GermanGirl*

      Works for me on Android 7.1.1 with Firefox.
      Which operating system and browser do you use? Maybe try a different browser?

  54. Helena*

    Regarding the “planning for maternity leave” bit, consider including a contingency plan in case the baby comes early, even if medically everything is looking good. I had a low-risk pregnancy at a decade younger than the OP, and I was planning to work right up to my due date. Then my girl came six weeks early, and the major project I was working on had to be dropped on someone else without any transition. With my second baby, I planned to work on non-time-sensitive projects for the last six weeks, and I put together turnover documentation for all my projects at 34 weeks. My son then arrived promptly at 35 weeks. (Both babies were perfectly fine, and big! But getting asked “are you sure you got your dates right?” gets really old really fast. I overheard the neonatologist scolding the nurses about how my babies were obviously preemies per their developmental stage and that treating them as full-term was medically counterproductive.)

    1. writerson*

      Yes, start talking about it long before you think you’ll actually be out. When I was pregnant, I had scheduled 3 different meetings with my boss to start figuring out how to transition clients to colleagues – basically, I wanted her buy-in to start having people shadow me and get some background about big projects. My (terrible) boss kept blowing me off. I ended up with a completely surprising stillbirth at 29 weeks, then an 8-week leave (complications) – and when I got back, passive aggressive comments about how I had left things “a mess” for my colleagues.

      Better to make a plan early and adjust as needed.

  55. Van Wilder*

    Ugh, I also hate announcing my pregnancy. It feels so awkward. I wish I could send an office-wide email but that would be weird in my current job’s culture. So I have to have dozens of individual conversations without knowing if they’ve already heard from somebody else. Currently pregnant for the second time and I’ve only told about 5 people in the office so far.

    Side note – after you’ve seen the baby’s heartbeat on ultrasound, the take home baby rate is about 95% – so not much difference between 8 weeks and 12 weeks in terms of risk.

    1. Van Wilder*

      Btw, I could barely hold out until 11 weeks because I was showing so early on my first pregnancy. But I’m in that awkward stage where people are afraid to ask.

  56. Greg*

    Congrats, OP!

    Obviously, I don’t have first-hand experience with this, but it has been my observation seeing my wife and colleagues go through pregnancies at work that your coworkers typically don’t care about your pregnancy as much as you do. It is literally one of the biggest events in your entire life, and you might unconsciously assume that others will have spent as much time thinking about all of the details as you have. But that’s rarely the case. Their reaction is most likely to be, “That’s great that she’s having a baby. I’m happy for her.” (Also, if they do react in a weird way, it probably has more to do with them interpreting it through the prism of their own situation rather than having anything to do with you).

    So my advice is to assume they will be happy for you and otherwise view it as no big deal. If you do get any weird reactions, deal with those situations as they come.

    1. Greg*

      Two other thoughts:

      1. I’ve noticed that pregnant women tend to wrongly assume other people have already figured it out (again, most people just aren’t paying that much attention). Not a work situation, but one time we invited my cousin and her husband over for dinner. I kept offering them wine, and they declined each time. A few weeks later, my cousin told me about her pregnancy and assumed I was trying to smoke her out. I said, “Honestly, I was just trying to get rid of the wine.”

      2. I get that deciding when to tell people is a personal choice, which is why I’m not comfortable with the recommendation not to tell people until the second trimester. I would amend that to, “Wait to tell people if you don’t want to have to share news of a potential miscarriage with your coworkers.” Some people deal with loss better if they can discuss it. I also worry that there’s often a strong (if subconscious) undercurrent of shame in miscarriages, as if the woman’s body is somehow defective. That is of course nonsense, but I worry that the assumption that you *have* to wait reinforces that stigma.

      To be perfectly clear, if you want to wait, you should wait. Hell, Sarah Palin waited until she was like 7 months. There’s no wrong decision either way. I just want to push back against the default assumption that you *have* to wait.

  57. Jennifer Juniper*

    Greg, you may wish to only offer wine once. Offering alcoholic beverages after they are declined can come across as pressuring people to drink and could be triggering for a variety of reasons.

  58. Whatever Whatever*


    As someone who has battled infertility and loss, I’d like to raise something to just consider: be mindful your announcement may inadvertently cause pain to some people. That’s not your fault at all. If some people seem a bit distant or aren’t reacting the way you’d expect, it might mean that they’re dealing with their own stuff.

Comments are closed.