Switching jobs while pregnant

I am 7 months pregnant (29 weeks to be exact) and I've recently started a new job. Let me start by saying that 7 months ago, I was neither looking for a new job, nor did I plan on being pregnant. Both happened by “accident”.

The manager of a group of companies with which I worked closely, while discussing a new opening causally said, “Lecia, I need someone like you!”

While promising to send her some referrals, I jokingly responded, “Why not me?”

Shortly after, the conversation got serious. Back then in November, if you had even suggested pregnancy in jest, I would have promptly dismissed you. A baby was not on my agenda.  But us Jamaicans have a saying, "Man a plan. God a wipe". Well this couldn't be truer, since I was already pregnant.

In early January, when the formal offer finally landed in my inbox, I was excited, but I was also paralysed with fear. Here I was being presented with the opportunity to merge and explore two of my greatest passions… and I was pregnant.

My husband couldn't understand my fear. I was worried that my prospective employer would be daunted by the fact that pregnancy would impede my flexibility, and even worst, that I  would be taking off a huge chuck of time so soon after joining the team.

"Lecia, these guys know you! They know your work ethic. They have seen you in action for the past three plus years. I don't think they are going to suddenly not want you because you're pregnant. Plus, you are married, so I don't think there will be any surprises there. If anything, they'll be happy for you!"

He was thoroughly convinced that utter joy could be their only reaction, while I was thoroughly convinced he was mad.

Frustrated, I wondered why was I sharing my distress with him. He is a man. Clearly, doesn't understand these things! So, I went in search of some reassurance and empathy from persons who could relate - women! Women who are all mothers, and more importantly, women who manage or run a business. I called each one right after the other in panic.

Here are some of the tips they gave me which not only calmed me immensely, but helped for a smooth transition to my new job. I have also included some of the things I have learnt along the way in making this transition.

Make a full disclosure. Now! This is a hot button issue and a tricky one for most women. Quite frankly, being open and honest about your pregnancy in a job interview may cost you the job. But keeping it a secret could later cause mistrust and “bad blood” in the relationship between you and your new employer who may think he/she has been duped.

All four ladies insisted that I set up a meeting immediately with my prospective employer. You see, I was heading into a close-knitted environment that was based on trust, and while some may argue that their pregnancy is their personal affair, I was aware that disclosing my pregnancy at this early stage would play a key role in establishing a good work relationship.

In any event, I didn't even have the option of not disclosing. My oversharing husband had already planned a photo shoot and was far along with plans of announcing our pregnancy to the world. God knows that the last thing I wanted was for my prospective employer to learn of my pregnancy from social media!

As soon as I got off the phone with my last mentor, I called and asked for a meeting to discuss “a few matters relating to the offer."

Go with a plan and never present the pregnancy as a bad thing! Left to my own devices, I probably would have walked into the meeting extremely apologetic, calling down doom and calamity at my discovery. Thankfully, the ladies with whom I spoke all agreed with my husband that I needed a game plan.

"OK, so let's develop a plan.” This was my ever-strategic husband speaking.

“What can you get done? What will you still be able to do? How are you going to show that this pregnancy is not a problem? And for God's sake don't present it as bad news!”

After much collaboration, I walked into my meeting with a foolproof plan ready to show how I would still be an asset to the organisation despite being pregnant. Quelling my rising anxiety, I summoned my most confident voice to make the announcement.

Before I was finished, my new employer was clapping with glee, "This is great news!"

For me yes... but not so much for you, is what I was thinking.

“So, here is what I am thinking…” Taken aback by her genuine excitement, I was now trying to squeeze in my well orchestrated plan.

She listened for a while then blurted out, "Lecia! Stop. I'm confident we’ll figure this out. We are looking to establish a long-term relationship with you. Your pregnancy doesn't change that..."

She continued on, saying all the things a prospective employee, and a pregnant one at that, could only dream of hearing. She even shared her own experience of being pregnant. Right there in her office, I wanted to sing and dance and kiss her, but I kept my cool. Until I got into my car. Then, I just bawled!!! Tears of absolute joy.

Do your research. Know the law and be willing to make compromises. The number one question from my female peers when I told them of my plan to switch jobs was, "But what about maternity leave?" The truth is you will have to be practical and reasonable.

Jamaican law says that you are entitled to 8 weeks paid maternity leave and 4 weeks unpaid (12 weeks in total), but only after you have been employed for at least 52 weeks with the same employer. Of course, the law is not a shackle (I had to go there😊) and employers are free to grant you maternity leave with pay even though you may not have completed 52 weeks. Clearly, I have not completed 52 weeks.

If you are in this position, then it’s time for serious discussion with your spouse. After all, you are possibly walking away from income at a time when you need it most. At this stage, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of your new job prospect. Most persons thought I was crazy and even encouraged me to stay in my job until after the baby. My mentors and husband encouraged me to go for it!

Admittedly, it’s one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make. I had to ask myself some tough questions: barring unforeseen circumstances, how much leave did I want to or could I afford to take? Can I afford to lose 2 or 3 months’ pay?  What was the new job worth to me?  Was it a sacrifice I was willing to make?

One of my mentors told me that she had baby in the morning and was on a conference call in the afternoon! Looking back now she admits that this was crazy. But she told me this story to make a bigger point, if you have to get it done, you will get it done.

Interestingly, I found that most women who owned their own business or who were part of a family owned business simply could not afford to take three or sometimes even two months’ maternity leave. In these circumstances, flexibility was more important than the actual leave. With this in mind, my mentors also encouraged me to explore the possibility of taking a shorter leave, but negotiating flexi-hours and/or the possibility of working from home.

It's really a balancing act and business is business. Demonstrating that you understand the bottom line of any business and showing a willingness to compromise, even before HR points out the law to you, is important and will demonstrate to the prospective employer that you aren’t just “looking a job,” you care about the success of the company.

Warning! You will lose your health benefits! There is no way around this. If you are part of your employer’s group health insurance plan, once you walk away from that job, you lose those benefits. This is a serious disadvantage of changing jobs while pregnant.

Us pregnant women suffer from a term being bandied about a lot in American politics today. It’s called a "pre-existing condition". So, even if your new job has a group health insurance plan, sorry, your pre-existing condition (aka pregnancy) disqualifies you from obtaining any maternity benefits. In fact, you do not qualify for maternity benefits on most groups plans (at least all the ones I've researched) until you’ve been on the plan for at least 9 months or more (see what they did there?)

Thankfully, even though I lost my coverage under my old insurance plan, I am still a part of another health insurance scheme. By the way, it is just me or do insurance companies treat us pregnant women as outcasts? Whether you have insurance or not, be prepared to come up out of pocket for all your blood tests and ultrasounds.

I vaguely recall an insurance agent telling me I could save my receipts and claim later, but really?

"So, let me get this straight, if I am not pregnant and I have to do a random blood test or an ultrasound, insurance pays for it upfront, but it doesn't do this if I'm pregnant?"

She responded in the affirmative and I was so annoyed I may have terminated the call shortly thereafter as her explanation did not make any sense. So be warned!

Don’t be afraid to take risks. Have faith! I'm not a religious or overly spiritual person, but you must trust that God (or the universe, if you prefer) will conspire to support you. Even without being pregnant, I’m sure many of you can relate to the trepidation of leaving a stable and great job with (and I’m not exaggerating) the most amazing co-workers to go somewhere new – even if new allowed me to pursue my passion.

Without the support of my mentors and especially my husband, it would have been very easy to cop out and stick with my existing job because of the comfort of knowing that my co-workers all had my back, I’d enjoy all my benefits and they all knew that when I called in sick or fell asleep at my desk, I was not being a slacker, I was just pregnant.
With waning energy, mood swings, back pains and all sorts of crazy afflictions, it’s hard, damn near impossible for a pregnant woman to be at her optimum. This is frustrating. I mean, who doesn’t want to put their best foot forward when starting a new role? I really had to come to grips with the fact that try as I might, I would not be the best version of myself starting this new job.

Do I move slower? Yes. Am I uncomfortable? Hell yes? Forgetful? Say hello to mommy brain. But I take comfort in the fact that it’s all temporary. As one of my mentors told me,

“When all else fails, just think about it, your body is the process of performing the greatest miracle on earth – creating a human being! Cut yourself some slack!”

Lastly, be confident and friendly! No one likes a grumpy co-worker, especially, a grumpy new co-worker. If you are confident, enthusiastic and happy about your pregnancy, then your new co-workers will feed off your energy. I've discovered that everyone (men especially) has a soft spot for pregnant women. You don't have to share your life story, but be as open and accommodating as you can.

I have also learnt that Jamaicans do not have much boundaries, so try not to make too much of a fuss when a new co-worker offers unsolicited advice, confidently declares the sex of the baby based on the shape or position of your tummy or even rub your tummy without permission. It’s all with good intentions. Most likely these are the same co-workers who will go the extra mile to make you comfortable. So, not being grumpy or stuck-up in a new environment will make life easier for everyone, especially you!

Have you ever changed jobs while pregnant? I’d love to hear more tips from you.

72 Responses

  1. Another excellent piece, love it. All the best on your new job. Enjoy your journey into motherhood. Blessings.

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thanks Stacy-Ann!

  2. I could never have read this article at a more opportune time. And no, I’m not preggers (mom to a teeny bop) but I genuinely understand all you fears of stepping into the unknown. Yet you step so boldly! I have always admired your passion and fortitude and I know you will do very well. It can only go well when you are working in the area you are most passionate about. I know you won’t regret it and neither will your family. Can’t wait to meet Princess Jordan…muahhh

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thank you so much Sapphire! I am very grateful for your support!

  3. Hey Lecia, thank you for the tips that you provided. I know that when my time comes, I will be able to remember the tips as well as to ask the necessary questions to ensure that we are all on the same page.

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thanks PetaKash!!!

  4. I started my new job 3 weeks ago and 5 months pregnant. I decided to tell my male boss the 1st week. I had the same fear as you before I disclosed. It was important for me to be transparent and honest so that trust will not be an issue. The greatest thing is I am not disabled, just blessed with bringing a new life into this world. My boss was so excited about the pregnancy news because he has a 6 month old son, and he was also sharing his lovely experience. We are even discussing my development plan after my maternity. My advice to other women is the same, people believe in your skill sets and contribution that you bring to their company, so being pregnant should not be a set back and we should not be a shamed of wanting to start our family and being a professional woman. Forward Upwards and Onwards!!!!

  5. Another very well written post Lecia. Thank you for being so open and honest. I pray that all will go well and things will fall into place to your heart’s desire.
    Congrats on your new role! You are going to be an awesome mommy!

    P.S…please tell baby to stop craving KFC lol

  6. Lovely article. Many blessings and all the best on your journey to motherhood.

  7. Great read, thanks for sharing, honesty is the best policy.

  8. Hi Lecia
    I feel great after reading your story. I am in a similar spot like you, but I actually found out this month that I am 2 months pregnant and I just started a new job a month ago. By speaking with my HR department they suggest that I just let my work speak for itself because pregnancy is not a decease it’s a part of life and it can happen even if we think we are careful. Hope you have a very successful path and a safe delivery when the date comes.

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Congratulations Alexcia! Wishing you a smooth journey! That’s a great company. I love their take. You will be just fine. Hugs!

  9. I admire you a lot, I’m pregnant and I want to leave my job and persue a stay at home job…… I am so scared to take risks. But after reading this you have given me this life. I salute you
    thank you. May God’s blessings be on you n your family forever.

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thanks for sharing Claudia. Just be sure to weigh all the pros and cons before making the leap and then leap in faith! One love!

  10. It felt as if i was reading a published book from a Author..everything written in thus book got my attention…well said Leceia.great tips..i seriously think you should write a book. You would be one great interesting inspiring author.

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thank you so much Marie!!

  11. Well done Lecia. I do love the facts that you weigh your options before making your decision. But then again you have a very strong support system especially your husband. Congrats on you new job and all the best during your pregnancy.

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thanks Andrine! I do have the best support system in the world!

  12. Wow! I feel like this is exactly what I needed to see/hear at this point in time. I too am pregnant, but I have suspended my search for a new job pending the arrival of the baby. My main reason for doing so was fear and loss of income/benefits at a time when they are needed most. While it may be too late for me to switch jobs while pregnant (almost full term now), these tips have encouraged me to resume my search much sooner than otherwise intended and keep the faith that I will progress according to God’s plan!

    Thanks again for the informative and uplifting read. Wishing you all the best with the new job and baby!

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      I’m happy this is helpful Melissa!Keep me posted when you resume your search and thanks for the support!

  13. This was a good read, had it been written in January when I got a job offer right after getting confirmation I was preggers I possibly would have changed jobs.

    All the fears expressed regarding maternity leave etc kept me in my old job.

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      I completely understand those fears, but you know what? Everything happens for a reason! so focus on the future!

  14. Wow…that’s indeed a bold move – no doubt… congratulations and all the very best!!

    Great tips too from some obviously amazing women.

    I would also suggest to any ‘soon- to-be-career-mom’ that she secures from early all the help she can get for when baby comes i.e. nanny and housekeeping (for me this was so important).

    It turned out that I had to do an emergency c-section. So at home I was recovering from a surgery while tending to a new born … I was grateful for all the help I got especially from my mom and hubby- trust me I needed it.

    Family and friends would also help for sure but the reality is everybody has their own lives and so for the long run I had to and continue to get professional help to make it through the days (mark you I had some trials and errors and regular service has become a real expense).

    Additionally, if you are like me, pre-preggy you worked late at the office and go 150% for your job. However I found post-preggy, and even though I was happy to go back to work, I would really miss my little baby at home and would be dying to get to her especially to breast feed, so my work routine changed after baby- i’m still working on this new normal.

    … ohhhh and btw the breastfeeding too was really hectic … lolol … those things were filling up at work all the time and leaking no matter how many times I changed breast pads (went through those like crazy) …. I also had to take breaks to pump at work before meetings and all sort of things otherwise those bad boys did not play to drip through my clothes even as I made by presentations to co-workers (covers face) …lolol…. (I know they say 6 months is ideal but I was secretly so relieved when baby stopped breastfeeding at 4 months…lol)

    BUT anyways … the good thing is it does get better and easier … and the baby is soooo soooo worth it (even if that turns out to be a gradual realization too – no shame in the postpartum game..lol)

    What’s for sure though is how important home help and nanny care was and is for a woman with a demanding career and especially with a hubby who (although dutiful and attentive) also works.

    Anyways can’t wait to hear those post-preggy stories 🙂

    Good luck and a safe & happy landing to you!!!

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thanks Shermiane! Very goods tips. I have started to look for help already. I know this process can be tedious so I’m praying all goes well. Thank you for sharing your experience and all the best as well!!

  15. Fay

    Congrats Lecia and all the best in your new job.

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thanks Fay!

  16. Good read….be enthused, happy and energetic as much as you can…..your baby feeds off your energy.
    I was extremely sad, sorrowful and miserable while pregnant and believe me i think my daughter has adopted that spirit. I am trying my best to reverse that.
    Enjoy your pregnancy ….time flies

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thanks for the tip Shenique!!! I’m sure your daughter will come around soon!

  17. I love this. I love all your posts….they’re so genuine and refreshing. Wishing you a safe delivery and all the best in your new job.

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thank you Ana!!

  18. Wishing you a safe delivery. All the best of life to you and yours. Love your positive energy.

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thank you Shery!!

  19. Well written, #supermomtobe

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thanks Lassy!

  20. Hi Lecia,

    I enjoyed reading your blog. I had a similar experience while I was transitioning from the field of education to management I was pregnant and did not know until weeks after. At first I was overly excited but also worried about my new career. Thank God my employer was very understanding and also very supportive. They even through us a surprise baby shower. I lost some of my benefits but that was ok because there is no greater gift than giving birth to your first child. God is always good and I thank Him everyday for the decision I made. Be blessed and I know you will be a terrific mom while juggling new career and home.

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Great story!!! Thank you for sharing. Some employers just get it!

  21. As a HR practitioner I thoroughly enjoyed reading your very informative article. Safe landing hon

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thanks Tamara!

  22. I admire you. I interviewed for a job while I was about 3 months pregnant, at that time no one could tell. I got called back for a second interview maybe 6 weeks later and my thought was there is no way they would not know that I’m pregnant. My thought was that they would take one look at me, go through the formalities and then let me know they cannot hire me. I did not go job seeking again until my daughter was 5 months old. So, I admire you. The thought of being a first time mother alone scared me out of not wanting to start a new job when I already had all of this (being pregnant) going on. But God knows best. Keep trusting him and keep those who encourage and support you close.

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Yaneek! It’s all in our minds! I was so self-conscoius in December I would beg Garfield not to post any of pics of what I thought was my belly showing! Being a first time mom is scary…and exciting. I’m sure you are enjoying the blessing that is your daughter and that is the most important thing in gthe world! Now banish all fear and grab the future boldly!!

  23. Love love love your blog posts. Interesting and informative. Prayers for a smooth transition into both your job and motherhood!

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thanks Jodi!!!

  24. You are not a religious or overly spiritual person? Girl you are blessed!!!! This doesn’t happen often. Most women walks in get a job then feel untrustworthy because they were never open about their pregnancy.
    Great story and keep your mentors close!
    All the best!!

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Haha! Thanks Sheree! I am grateful for my blessings everyday! Thanks again for the well wishes and please subscribe and share!

  25. This is awesome! Great tips and very well written as usual.
    I too switched jobs at almost 7 months pregnant. I hit a jackpot of blessings on this one. Though I was filled with trepidation because I was about 5 months pregnant when I got the offer. I didn’t need to say I was preggo- (I was quite big for 5 months). My now ex husband too was quite supportive and perhaps more excited and positive than I was about it. He told me if I was competent or a job fit then I wouldn’t have gotten the offer.
    In addition, the move was to a foreign company (US based headquarters) and I didn’t expect the JA benefits. Of course, I subsequently learnt that operating in JA they were subject to the JA law. However, naturally I would not have had tenure with them so I would basically lose my benefits. I was with my then job for 7yrs.
    Like you Lecia, I had been interacting with them professionally for over a year at my then employment.

    Long and short, my then President met with who would be my new Boss and literally worked out how I would make that transition and not lose my benefits. So I was placed “on loan” to the organization (like secondment) until after maternity etc. So I resigned while in maternity.
    I know my situation was an extremely special case and almost unheard of BUT I remain forever grateful for it. I stayed home 4.5 months (I had planned this out before) – maternity, vacay, casual days and sick days allowed me all that time. I literally saved up the vacation etc so I could use it.
    I was able to work from home on some days, especially in the last part of my pregnancy and even while pregnant I would be consulted but only on major projects.
    I was able to thoroughly enjoy my newborn, my family and all the fulfillment that came with this amazing blessing called motherhood.

    I wish you great success Lecia and a very safe delivery. Enjoy every moment. Take it all in one day at a time. Time will move swiftly. Congrats again and wishing you and Garfield the very best of everything!
    One love

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thank you for sharing Nicky! Yours was a special case indeed and shows just how valuable you were to the organisation! Unfortunately, I won’t be able to enjoy such a long maternity leave, but I have no doubt that it will all work out! Thank you for all the well wishes and please subscribe and share!!

  26. Lecia, there Isa spirit of excellence upon you that is remarkable. I believe that women going through the transition if a new job especially if they are pregnant should not just reaf., But study this article.
    Here’s what I got from it:
    1) maintain a positive attitude
    2) never stay in your comfort zone. Purpose is not fulfilled there
    3) support group – absolutely necessary
    4) there is indeed wisdom in the multitude of council
    5)when God provides an opportunity, not matter, how difficult the transition might seem, trust him for favor and provision, and finally
    6) absolutely nothing beats having a cheering squad at home
    As I said in a previous post, I admire your courage.

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Excellent take away points Sylvia!! Thank you so much for the encouragement as well.

  27. I love this!! So informative, heartfelt, encouraging, and an open discussion on a situation that I am sure many women today face. Thankfully, you have mentors who encouraged you to do the right thing. I hope that your candid disclosure will encourage other women to do so as well. You have an encouraging and supportive husband as well, which is always amazing. I wish you both the absolute best on this new journey. I am happy that you shared your experience and that it can positively impact someone who is in a similar position and paralyzed by the fear of the unknown.

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thank you Kerri-Anne! Yes, I am grateful for the amazing support group I have in my life, especially my husband. I am glad you enjoyed. Please subscribe and share!

  28. Wow….couldn’t stop reading until the end….great story….Happy things worked out well…lesson…Go for it!…be prepared…be confident…be open and honest…it worked out!!

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thank you Michelle! I’m glad you enjoyed. Please subscribe and share!

  29. Great read Lecia! I am glad you took your hubby advice and moved into your new job. You will do well. Best wishes and all the best. Thanks for sharing!

  30. Great Article Lecia ❤……FEAR of the unknown is one of the biggest dream killer out there ………Not to mention the insurance companies and their ugly heads. I am one of those women who own their business and yeah never had the luxury nor comfort of being able to take 3 months maternity leave had to be flexible and getting pregnant unplanned was a big scare factor for me as well, but i took the bull by the horn and just do it …….come what may!
    You are certainly going to be one of the most influencial Moms out there……
    But please cut your “oversharing husband” some slacks 😂
    Please do factor this in mind tho when the baby arrives please put yourself first and relationship secondary, you and it (marriage)can go neglected ……..and if you dont have the mental health or energy to take care of them its all going to pieces.❤❤❤❤❤
    Looking Forward to meeting Baby 🤗
    Goodluck at you New Job too 🕊
    Carol (charlespride)

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thank you Carol! Great tips. I will bear these in mind.

  31. Dre

    Lesson I got from this;
    Listen to your husband, and you nuh grow out of this worry-warting yet??

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Lol! I can’t help it!

  32. Love reading your stories very inspiring and not to scare you hopefully yours gets better but my daughter is 5 and I still have memory problems…All the best in your job I know you well do absolutely great

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Oh dear!!! lol! let’s hope it comes back!

  33. Ve

    I too change jobs when I was pregnant. I have always wanted to open my own daycare. After years of working with a great company, with wonderful benefits I decided to follow my dreams and open my daycare. After 2 weeks of being open, I realize I was eating more and had stomach cramping. Long story short, I was pregnant. I was very nervous, scared and worried. I only had 3 children in my daycare, no health insurance so I was unsure of what I was going to do. It all worked out, I work hard to fill my daycare with kids, hire staff to help me when I was not able to work and was able to get heath insurance. It has been 4 years since I have been open, my beautiful daughter is in the daycare with me everyday. It all worked out. Everything happens for a reason.

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thank you for sharing! I’m so happy it all worked out perfectly for you. You are right, everything happens for a reason.

  34. Absolutely love this! A great read. Just goes to show the value of a strong support system and the right attitude. Congratulations !

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thanks Dahlia!

  35. Love this Lecia; however, the memory loss is permanent! 😍

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Lol! Dear God! Say it ain’t so!

  36. Love this and all the best

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thanks!

  37. Ana

    Great tips 4 when whenever it’s my time! I Love your positivity and you are very brave!!! I like the fact that you have your mentors…have you ever written anything about how you got them? Especially female mentors.. That would be interesting to learn. Congrats on being able to pursue your dream and best of luck!!!!!

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thank you Ana!I will certainly explore this!

  38. Ana

    Great tips 4 when earlier it’s my time! I Love your positivity and you are very brave!!! I like the fact that you have your mentors…have you ever written anything about how you got them? Especially female mentors.. That would be interesting to learn. Congrats on being able to pursue your dream and best of luck!!!!!

  39. You look fabulous!

    • Lecia-Gaye Taylor

      Thank you!!