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priscilla arthus

The Working                


Win At Work. Thrive in Motherhood.

Strategies for Planning Your Pregnancy without Career Disruption

Personal Development
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Also known as P.A.
Welcome to my blog, The Working Mom Collective (formerly Girl Meets Soul), where I'm on a quest to help the ambitious working mom in a high-stakes career  win at work and thrive in motherhood!
Pull up a seat, grab some tea, and let's get to know each other!

Hi,   I'm   Priscilla

about me

Ever since I announced that my family and I are expecting a new member this fall, I’ve received two common questions:

  1. Did you plan it?
  2. How does this affect your career now that you’re a partner?

The answer to question number 1 is both “Yes … and no.” I’ll let you in on my fertility journey if I get enough of a response (feel free to email me letting me know you want to know the whole  story).

The answer to number 2 is far more complicated. Either way, both questions lead me to the conclusion that what you really want to know is whether there’s a way to plan a pregnancy with minimal disruption to your career.

Well, buckle up, Buttercup!

If you’ve been around a while, you already know I’m a no-holds-bar, give-it-to-you-straight, kinda gal, with a little sarcasm and humor on top. So, this isn’t going to be one of those “here’s how you plan the perfect pregnancy while working” spiels.

I will explore some practical strategies to help you plan your family while keeping your career intact, but I’m also going to keep it absolutely 💯.

The first thing you absolutely need to know is: “Man proposes, God disposes.”

Plan all you want, but with fertility, pregnancy, and all things family “planning,” it really is out of your control.  But here are a few factors to consider:

1. Understand What You Want Out of Your Career

Before diving into the world of diapers and nursery rhymes, take a moment to reflect on your career goals. Consider where you want to be in the short and long term, and any significant milestones you aim to achieve. Understanding your professional aspirations will help you chart a course that balances your ambitions with the joys of motherhood. And when the going gets tough, you’ll remember what you were aiming for, and know how to re-adjust and course correct.

2. Research Your Company’s Policies

Become familiar with your employer’s policies regarding maternity leave, flexible work arrangements, and other benefits related to pregnancy and childcare. Honestly, I can’t emphasize this point enough. Knowing your rights and options will empower you to make informed decisions and potentially negotiate arrangements that suit your needs. It may even push out your timeline to start trying for kids if you can’t take the financial hit in the event your company’s policies are subpar.

For example, do you only get unpaid leave through FMLA? Probably time to start seeking out a job at a different company that’s known to be more working-mom friendly.  Do you have to use up all of your PTO first? Same result.  Is there a ramp-up period? Provisions for extended leave if things don’t go as planned, medically, and you need to be out for a prolonged period of time?  Will your bonuses or other incentives be impacted by your going on maternity leave? What about promotions? Can you go to reduced hours or part-time once your baby is here?

These are all serious considerations that have real-life, practical consequences on not only your career aspirations but how your family may be impacted day-to-day.  Especially if you’re the main breadwinner.

3. Have Collaborative Conversations

It’s crucial to involve your partner in discussions about family planning and career aspirations. Maybe some of the downsides to your company’s policies can be counterbalanced by the contributions your partner is able to make.

Share your goals and listen to their perspective too. Building a solid support system within your relationship ensures that both of you can support each other in achieving individual dreams while navigating the beautiful chaos that is parenthood.

4. Do A Deep Dive Health Assessment

This is the second point I can’t emphasize enough. Schedule a preconception visit with your healthcare provider to address any medical concerns and ensure you’re in optimal health for pregnancy.

Infertility is far more common now than in the past, and that goes for younger women too.  According to the CDC, in the United States, about 1 in 5 (19%) married women aged 15 to 49 years with no prior births, are unable to get pregnant after one year of trying (this is the technical definition of infertility – it’s 6 months for women over 35). Also, about 1 in 4 (26%) women in this group have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term.

I’m not going to say fertility treatments or egg-freezing is an end all be all to this potentially high risk for working women in America – I’ve known far too many women have nothing to show for it after spending thousands of dollars and going through intensely emotional fertility journeys.

But, I am going to say, infertility is something that is traditionally thought to impact only older women, but something about the way we live life in the USA has brought the threshold down significantly.  This is something you should look into, regardless.  And again, if you’d love to hear my story, email me to let me know.

5. Cultivate a Supportive Network

Forge relationships with colleagues, mentors, and allies who can be there for you during your pregnancy and potential career transitions. Surrounding yourself with a strong professional network provides guidance, support, and opportunities, making your journey smoother and more rewarding.

6. Embrace Work-Life Balance Early

Start implementing clear boundaries at work now.  Yes, even when you don’t have kids.  It’ll be far easier for you to exercise this muscle during pregnancy and beyond (when you really need it) if you start now.  Prioritize self-care and work-life balance, delegate tasks, and practice effective time management to maintain your physical and mental well-being while managing your professional responsibilities. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup! And boy will you need your cup full once motherhood begins.

7. Open Communication is Key …

At the right time.  This part is tricky, but I believe it is necessary.  Disclose too soon and you can shoot yourself in the foot.  But disclosing an issue too late can put you and your baby at risk if there is something medically serious going on.

Transparent and open communication allows for better planning and coordination, demonstrating your commitment to your career while balancing your personal priorities. But disclosure too soon can hinder your career progression as well, depending on the company and culture.

8. Plan for the Unexpected

This is probably the most honest, and important, advice I can give. As I said above, family planning is one of those things that is pretty much out of our control.

So, while it’s good to have an understanding of how policies at your job may impact your decision to start trying for a bambino or to wait, or while getting a health assessment may provide insight as to whether you should start sooner rather than later, there is no way to “time it right.”

Kids come when they come.

Your support network will be critical here if things do or don’t go according to plan.  They can be a source of encouragement, or a source of practical help for one of the biggest transitions life brings about.

Just understand that flexibility during this period is your superpower. Be prepared to adapt your plans and expectations as unexpected challenges may arise. Embrace change and remain flexible, adjusting your career trajectory while keeping your long-term goals in mind. Being adaptable will allow you to thrive both as a career woman and a loving mom when the stars align.

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