It is sometimes tough to be a working woman. It is even tougher to be a pregnant working woman. Being pregnant and making an adoption plan while working may be very difficult for some. Understanding the potential stress, your rights and how best to protect your privacy can make this time less stressful.
Understanding Your Rights
First things first, understand that you have protections from discrimination. There are two federal laws that protect your rights as a pregnant woman in the workplace. The first law is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. This law offers protections in hiring, insurance access, medical and family leave, and fringe benefits. Benefits offered to all employees must be offered to you as a pregnant woman and if you are not married, you also can not be discriminated against being a single pregnant woman.
The second law, the Family and Medical Leave Act offers eligible employees from workplaces that qualify, access to unpaid, job protected leave regardless of your marital status or whether you make an adoption plan for your child. You have the same rights as a birth mother who decides to parent her child. Some employers who do not qualify (under 50 employees, etc) may offer maternity or paternity leave to employees. You are also eligible for taking the full leave offered to you, regardless of whether you are making an adoption plan and placing your child for adoption.
Protecting Your Privacy
Some pregnant women making an adoption plan, wish to keep their pregnancy a secret. This can be difficult when you are a working women and with your boss and colleagues every day. Keeping your pregnancy a secret from you supervisor can make it difficult for you to receive the workplace support you need to attend prenatal visits, meetings with prospective adoptive parents and social workers, and on days you may not feel well. Sharing with a supervisor does not mean you need to share your adoption plan or your pregnancy with anyone else at your workplace. You have a right to privacy.
It can be difficult if you share your pregnancy news or your physical state makes your pregnancy apparent and answer the many questions pregnant women receive. This can be difficult for women whether they are placing their child for adoption or parenting. Remember that you have a right to share as little or as much as you want. Your personal life and home life is your business. If you spend time contemplating it, you will notice many other colleagues may share very little about their personal life. It is not out of the ordinary to keep your private life private and frankly, no one’s business. You will be pleasantly surprised that many people will respect how little you may wish to share.
Other women feel that they gain support from sharing about their adoption plan and may need and want the listening ear of a colleague to share updates, fears, thoughts, or just to get advice. This is also healthy and normal. Working women who are having a planned, open adoption may want to celebrate this news with colleagues. If that is you, do so!
Many workplaces mean well and want to celebrate you and your baby. They may wish to throw you a shower or luncheon with gifts. Some birth mothers who are making an adoption plan love the celebration of their baby and pass along the gifts to the adoptive parents. Some other women are uncomfortable with a shower and may wish for their well-meaning colleagues to not do so. If that is the case, share your wishes with your supervisor or a close friend and colleague. They can make sure that no surprises are planned.
After the Birth and Adoption Placement
Once returning to work after the birth you may feel stressed out or nervous about well-intentioned inquiring colleagues. If your adoption plan was closed, you may not wish to discuss any details about placing your child or the birth. It may still be an emotionally tender time for you and that is okay to keep your feelings and circumstances to yourself. You do not need to share any more information than you wish with anyone.
Your adoption plan was a beautiful choice you made for you and your baby. Your strength will carry you through the weeks and months of your pregnancy and following the birth. Finding a support group of birth mothers who placed their children for adoption can be very helpful. Their advice, experiences, and suggestions for handling workplace issues when making an adoption plan can prove very valuable as you navigate the process.
Pregnant and considering adoption? You don’t need to do it alone. Click here to connect with a caring, compassionate adoption professional who can help you figure out what’s best for you and your baby. All consultations and counseling are absolutely free.