This is an interesting subject but not an easy one. The decision to work during and after pregnancy is something you should consider even before you get pregnant especially if your pregnancy is planned. For some people, this decision is quite simple. They are in employment, their partner’s income will not support them and a new baby and they get maternity leave benefits etc. Therefore, they keep their jobs, work through their pregnancy and go on maternity leave at the agreed time.
For others, the situation is not that simple. Their partners’ income cannot support them; their jobs are stressful or just not conducive for pregnancy or even after the child is born. They need the extra income but what to do? This article cannot answer these questions for you but will provide ideas that might help.
If you are already employed but find that the job or work schedules are not conducive for you during pregnancy, find out if the company offers flexible arrangements for pregnant workers. In most advanced countries, there are regulations that encourage companies to support pregnant employees either by offering them another job, allowing them to work part time, take time off when they need to go for test and doctor’s appointment etc. If you are not sure what rules apply in your countries or your company, consult your local council for information. You might find that this solves the problem.
If however, there are no regulations in your country and no company policies supporting pregnant employees, then you might want to ask for some flexible work arrangement for yourself. Go about it very carefully and with a specific plan. Request a meeting with your boss and prepare well for it. As part of your preparation determine what it is that bothers you; is the location of your workplace, your seating arrangement, the presence of harmful chemicals or just commuting to work every day. Then research the alternatives, don’t leave the task of providing the solutions to your boss. It will be easier for your boss to grant you what you want if you provided realistic solutions such as moving to another department or office where you might be of good use to the company and maybe even save them some money. You can ask if you can come to work only a few days in the week and work from home on the remaining days. You could offer to work part time during the rest of your pregnancy for reduced pay or offer to find someone to job share with you so that the company operations can continue to run smoothly. There is no guarantee that your company will give you what you want but presenting these well thought out options will increase your chances. Go armed with a doctor’s report where applicable. Ultimately, you will have to decide whether to remain at that job if the company refuses to change your work conditions.
Another option is to go it alone i.e. work as a freelance consultant or business woman but this has to be well thought and put into practice long before you get pregnant. Think of your skills and which of them you can transfer into working on your own. The advantage of this is that you work at your own pace and control your working conditions. It might also help when you have had the baby so that you can look after your child and still earn some money. It is also possible to get employment afterwards since you have using most or all of the skills you need and you never really stopped working. The obvious disadvantage is that there is less income guarantee because you will have to depend on project opportunities which might not always be there.
Flexible business opportunities to sell already established products are also another option. For instance, you can sign up to companies who want more exposure for their products and are willing to offer them to you at wholesale prices. You might have the chance of getting an extra income to suit your family’s present needs.
Whatever you option you decide to go for, here’s to wishing a happy, productive and fulfilling work-family balance!
Bridget Osho – Fertility Coach, Writer, Entrepreneur and Researcher
Bridget is a Fertility Coach who specialises in the use of a unique combination of alternative and western maternity practices, nutritional therapy and optimal lifestyle habits to create the most harmonious and positive motherhood experience. She provides fertility and pregnancy coaching support to women (and men) who want to become parents from pre-conception, pregnancy through to being a new mum.