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Hi everyone, 

I found out about 8 weeks ago that I am pregnant (no, it was not planned). I have been at my current job for a year, next month. It has it's good and bad days but the problems/drama have slowly been increasing due to VERY poor management. I have only stayed to finish out as much experience as I can get. My subconscious is telling me all these problems may be a sign that I should not return after my maternity leave. Also, I have not been through this before but I heard now is a bad time to begin a new job w/o experience due to FMLA and all that. I guess I'm wondering if I should stick it out until I start showing and then tell my current employer? Do I consider not coming back? (It is not feasible for my husband and I for me to be a SAHM yet). Should I start looking for a new job now but warn them about my pregnancy so I can come back to a less toxic environment? I have no clue how to navigate this change with all these feelings. Has anyone been through this before?

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7 hours ago, comPAssionatecamel said:

I found out about 8 weeks ago that I am pregnant (no, it was not planned). I have been at my current job for a year, next month. It has it's good and bad days but the problems/drama have slowly been increasing due to VERY poor management. I have only stayed to finish out as much experience as I can get. My subconscious is telling me all these problems may be a sign that I should not return after my maternity leave. Also, I have not been through this before but I heard now is a bad time to begin a new job w/o experience due to FMLA and all that. I guess I'm wondering if I should stick it out until I start showing and then tell my current employer? Do I consider not coming back? (It is not feasible for my husband and I for me to be a SAHM yet). Should I start looking for a new job now but warn them about my pregnancy so I can come back to a less toxic environment? I have no clue how to navigate this change with all these feelings. Has anyone been through this before?

First, eight weeks is too soon to make any concrete decisions. Wait until the end of the first trimester, and keep in mind that there's still an unfortunately non-trivial risk of pregnancy loss. It's a terrible thing to have to say... but it's a terrible thing to have to endure, too, which can be made worse by having to deal with HR departments wanting updates to your plans in the setting of bad news.

Second, neither your current nor future employer are entitled to any input into your pregnancy plans. You are entitled to make your plans as are best for you, not for them, and notify them only when required to do so. Why commit to leaving when you can do that at any time? Go ahead and "show" before you tell. It's your medical status, not their business.

Third, always trust your gut. Or, at the very least, understand what it's telling you and act accordingly. Your gut, if well trained, can get you out of bad situations... but it can't drum up better ones. That's going to take networking and leg work.

Fourth, you're not the first female PA to get pregnant, nor the first to have an unplanned pregnancy. An employment gap secondary to childbirth is probably the rule, rather than the exception, on a younger female PA's CV--it's not going to hurt appreciably in fact, just like your pregnancy status is not supposed to count against you legally.

Let us know how else we can help...

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Great advice above. 

I've had colleagues do all sorts of things. One told their boss and they fired her just before her due date, arguably illegally but right to work state and HR listed a couple reasons like showing up late to work or something. One accepted a new job while newly pregnant and told them after she had been working with them for a few months. She returned to that job after her leave was over but quit again shortly thereafter. Another accepted a new job and got pregnant around the same time. She went on maternity leave at like Month 9 of her new job and she is now due to have her second just about a year later. 

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One thing to add: Even if they can't ask, HR departments are expecting female PAs of ideal childbearing age (through early 30's) to have 1-2 kids as soon as benefits kick in. Enough smart, talented, motivated women have been told that PA school is better for their childbearing options, which they themselves have prioritized, that the expected course of action for a young, female PA is: graduate, get a job, have a kid or two. That's a perfectly good option, by no means mandatory or even normative, just sufficiently common that any practice hiring a female PA (what, 75%+ of new grads now?) expects to be dealing with maternity leave issues.

If a practice absolutely didn't want to hire a PA who is potentially going to get pregnant, they will find a way to prioritize a male or older female candidate that passes a legal sniff test. Still discrimination, but not illegal enough to be actionable.

Likewise, PAs can bring up their own fertility status when the employer can't ask about it. In the job interview for what became my first post-PA school position, I noted that 1) I had owned a house in the county for 10 years before PA school and had already moved back in for my last two rotations, 2) my last job had lasted 13 years, ending only when I went back to PA school to change careers, and 3) my wife and I already had three kids with no plans for more.

Remember, there are really only three interview questions:

  • Can you do the job?
  • Can we get along with you?
  • Are you going to stick around?

The answers to the last one often overlap with protected pregnancy status, so to the extent that any female PA of potential childbearing age wants to address it, she has the right to bring it up when the employer cannot.

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1).  Tell no one at work about preg status until you absolutely must (visibly showing a lot).  Or sooner if in radiation.  
 

2)  it is purely your choice if and when you tell employers.   And DO. NOT feel obligated to tell them even one second earlier then you want to. 
 

3) being pregnant is not the ideal time to change a job.    Make your current job believe you will stay, even after telling them of FMLA leave.   
 

4) sign up for MAX amount of FMLA (and any state benefits you may be entitled to)

 

5). Be patient with everything and don’t make rash decisions.   
 

6) go out on fmla and if you choose to, start a job search then.   (With out telling current employer.)
 

 

above all enjoy the pregnancy and starting a family and do not focus on being the model employee.  Instead keep as much info from the employer as long as possible (cause the awful HR “professional” and corp USA stinks). 
 

 

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