When I was hired as an intern at the publishing company of my dreams, there were two unexpected aspects: 1. it was a paid full-time position and 2. I was going to be with child.
Internships are typically viewed as something you do to build your resume while in college, and they have a stigma attached to them that makes them seem almost juvenile post-graduation. Because of this I felt kind of embarrassed to say that I was even considering accepting an internship position, even though I knew it was the best way for me to get a foot in the door at this particular company. But that sense of embarrassment disappeared immediately once my baby came into play. The urge to provide for your child is much more intense than the urge to have the job title you think you’re entitled to because of your college degree.
As my start-date neared I became more and more nervous about keeping my pregnancy a secret. The issue wasn’t that my pregnancy was noticeable (I was barely eight weeks along), but that I felt bad about not being completely forthcoming about my situation. I kept going back and forth about what the right thing to do was, and could not, for the life of me, make a decision I was 100% comfortable with. In the end I decided that I would follow the 12-week rule, which says to wait 12 weeks before telling anybody about your pregnancy in case something were to go wrong. It’s a bit morbid, but it makes sense and made me feel okay about keeping my pregnancy to myself for the first few weeks of my brand new job.
After getting to know my company better, I realized that my paranoia was completely unwarranted. For many other women, however, it’s not. I read countless stories online about women who were terminated from their jobs or had job offers retracted because they did the honest thing and revealed to the hiring manager that they were expecting a baby within a few months of their start date. While such firings are technically illegal, they still happen, and it’s incredibly sad. How heartless do you have to be to take away a mother-to-be’s way of providing for her child? People seem to forget that pregnancy is not an illness, or something that signifies irresponsibility in the employee; us pregnant ladies can still sit at a desk and respond to e-mails all day. It disgusts and terrifies me that such discrimination happens in this country, and I am so unbelievably grateful that I was brought into a company that values family and helping others as much as it does.
About three weeks into my new role as a pregnant intern, a fabulous thing happened. I was promoted to a full-time with benefits Editorial Assistant position. My pay increased, I was able to partake in the amazing benefits and I was going to get my very own cubicle! I finally felt like the working mom I knew I was meant to be, and I was finally confident in my ability to provide for my child. The internship allowed me to get used to working long hours and to the changes happening to my body (nausea and fatigue didn’t make my job any easier), but by the time I was promoted I was ready to start pushing myself again. I couldn’t remember the last time I didn’t have a variety of responsibilities at once, and I was ready to get back into the lifestyle I had grown accustomed to in college.
The only downside was that I was promoted before I had reached the 12-week mark, and the urge to come clean about my growing baby was stronger than ever. I still wasn’t showing too much, but I felt that I owed it to my new, super-cool boss to be honest with her about what she was getting herself into. My pregnancy had been relatively easy (I hadn’t, and still haven’t, thrown up once) so I wasn’t worried about my ability to perform my everyday duties; I was simply tired of keeping my wonderful news to myself. But I stuck to my guns and waited until my twelfth week ended before sending my boss an e-mail asking if we could speak in private, as I had some news to share with her.