What to Expect When You’re Expecting…and Job Hunting


What to Expect when Your Expecting(2)

Well over 100 job applications submitted. At least seven in-person interviews. Six roundtrip drives from Charleston, SC to Knoxville, TN (12 hours roundtrip, in case you were wondering). Five months (going on six) months pregnant. One part-time job offer.

There I was, pregnant, about to be unemployed and desperately applying for jobs to be able to afford my $500/month COBRA health insurance. My husband and I were in the process of relocating after our jobs didn’t quite pan out as expected in South Carolina. We didn’t know exactly where we were going to be relocating; it all just kind of hinged on who landed the first job and what city it was in, Atlanta or Knoxville.

I was pretty confident I was going to land a job. I mean, seven in-person job interviews. That has to mean something for my resume and experience. One of those interviews was even for a position at a former employer where I left on great terms and was perfectly eligible for rehire. But let’s face it—they knew I was pregnant. I was a little past the point of hiding it, though I didn’t openly disclose it, as many of my Google search results recommended.

But after all that money spent on gas and pregnancy-concealing clothing (as much as it could anyway) for job interviews, not to mention the countless hours in the car by myself at five months pregnant, I received one part-time job offer…which in case you are wondering, wasn’t even by the place where I had worked previously. That one part-time job offer wouldn’t even amount to enough to cover the cost of COBRA.

So I admitted defeat while my husband accepted a position in Knoxville, and we packed our stuff up and headed home, where I went on to work a few temporary jobs through a staffing agency until I had to go on bed rest for pre-eclampsia. And since we couldn’t afford the $500/month in health insurance in addition to whatever amount I would owe after the baby came, I wound up at the Department of Human Services filling out paperwork for TennCare and food stamps. It wasn’t the end of the world, and a necessity many mothers face, but it wasn’t where I expected to end up.

While on bed rest nearly four weeks before my due date, I continued to apply for jobs. You see, I wanted to work, but the workforce isn’t always fair to pregnant women. Or mothers. Or women in general (I assume you’ve heard about that whole “women earn just 77 cents for every dollar a man makes”). I was really starting to lose faith that I might be out of work for weeks or months; after all, if I couldn’t get a job as a pregnant woman, how was I going to get a job as a new mother?

But then something kind of amazing happened. I got another interview, just three weeks after my daughter arrived. I put myself together, did my best to cover up the circles under my eyes and fully disclosed I was a new mother to a two-week old infant, and the employer didn’t bat an eye. I was offered the job within a week…in case you ever doubted my interview skills.

Sure, it was tough leaving my five-week-old daughter to go back to work, but I enjoy working. And with labor day just around the corner, I’m reminded that I’m very fortunate to have a family-friendly employer. But I’m also reminded that the US can do more to be supportive of women and working mothers by offering things like paid maternity leave or just maternity leave in general if your employer doesn’t fall into the FMLA category. Some companies such as Netflix (wow), Microsoft, Google, IBM, etc. are setting the stage for paid parental leave, and while I understand not every company can afford to offer up months of paid time off, the least they can do is protect the jobs of those women who want to return to work or you know, employ pregnant women who want to work–because believe me, there are plenty of us out there.


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