We recently received this question from one of our Baby Bunching readers.
Q: I recently found out I am pregnant with my second baby and my first daughter is only 12 months old. How do you deal with telling your manager you are going back on maternity leave. Or even worse in my case, coming back to work from leave pregnant again! I’m sure I am not the only one facing this but it sure feels like it.
A: Let us reassure you, you're not the only one. Many people are taking more time off for leave these days....even up to 6 months. And as all know, some of us found ourselves pregnant around this time. We remember talking to a Baby Buncher in your same situation. She ended up telling her immediate supervisor of the news, since she was sure her boss would be supportive. But she waited until she was about 6 months along before telling the rest of her team. (We're impressed she could hide her bump that long!)
It's unfortunate that this is what it's come to--lying to coworkers or evading the question. But the fact of the matter is, the U.S. is not amicable toward maternity leave. It is what it is at this point and you can rally the troops to make change, and we certainly welcome that. Or, you can move to one of the countries that has maternity leave set up for Baby Bunching. Yes, it's true, places like Canada totally have the right idea for supporting Baby Bunching.
But living here in the USA can mean being a slave to 'the man' or some other being. Just a few things to note. Be prepared as people will ask/comment: "Was this planned? Didn't you just have a baby? Can't you keep your hands off each other? Great, now I have to take on your projects....again!" They can be nasty comments and hurtful at a time when you're still getting your head around the idea of two under two! The other things is going back to work with one kids can be very different than going back to work with two. With both of us we were ready to hit the ground running soon after Baby #1, but Baby #2 can do a number on you physically and emotionally. Just note we have many friends who did some heavy readjusting of schedules and expectations after the second child--meaning more work from home, flexible hours, etc. Things are just different when there are two.
We wish we could offer some great sound advice on this on how to tell your boss or even how to manage expectations. But since both of us were the work-from-home-part-time Baby Bunching moms who have cobbled together an assortment of sitters, mother's helpers, naptimes and wee hours of the night to get work completed, we don't have concrete advice here. So we're asking all of you to offer up some advice. Please.