How to Tell Your Boss You Had a Miscarriage

I had just started my new job three weeks ago, my boss didn’t even know I was pregnant, and now I had to break the news to a man I barely knew that I not only had a miscarriage but I was going to be out of work for a few days. I was terrified.

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I had just started my new job three weeks ago, my boss didn’t even know I was pregnant, and now I had to break the news to a man I barely knew that I not only had a miscarriage but I was going to be out of work for a few days.

I was terrified.

Thankfully, my new bosses were amazing sources of support; however, I do know that unfortunately not all bosses are going to be as supportive or understanding. So, let’s talk about how you can prepare for a conversation with your boss while you’re a complete emotional wreck.

1. Talk to your doctor and figure out your course of action.

 

 

Before sending that quick email to your boss in the doctor’s office letting them know what’s going on and you won’t be back to work immediately, talk with your doctor and figure out your course of action.

When you let your boss know what’s going on, they are undoubtedly going to want to know what the plan is moving forward. No, with miscarriages you never know how it’s truly going to progress and there are so many factors at play and this plan may change…so be prepared for this.

To give you an example, when I found out that my first sweet baby no longer had a heartbeat I hadn’t started to bleed yet – my body hadn’t recognized the loss. My doctor’s appointment was on a Thursday and the plan was that I would receive a D&C (Dilation and Curettage) on Monday. The doctor stated that I would be able to go back to work the next day; however, due to my mental state agreed to write me a work excuse through Wednesday.

Having this plan in place gave me more confidence to talk to my boss.

 

2. Write down the dates of your planned absence and provide a doctor’s note.

 

Whether you talk to your boss in person, via email or over the phone, you want to be able to provide him or her with the dates you plan on being absent, the doctor’s note(s) and be open and honest that this is just a tentative plan and that things may change but you will keep them updated should that happen.

To continue the story of when I had my first miscarriage, I went to work the day after we found out and told my boss everything in person. I went to his office, hands and voice shaking, and asked if it was okay if I talked to him for a minute. I let him know that I was in fact pregnant, but unfortunately had found out at my appointment the day prior that my baby no longer had a heartbeat.

Bless his heart he didn’t know what to say and blurted out, “So are you going to have a D&C?” (By the time this conversation was over and I had returned to my office he had sent me an email, apologizing for being so blunt. He was caught off guard and truly sorry about my loss.)

I was actually relieved he was talking so matter of fact so the tears would stay at bay.

I let him know that I would indeed be having a D&C, that it was scheduled for Monday and I would be able to return to the office on Wednesday. I provided him with my doctor’s note and that was that.

 

3. Plan out what you want to say beforehand.

 

Once you have created your plan with your doctor, have the dates that you will be out of the office and your doctor’s notes in hand, next you want to plan out what you want to say.

Let’s face it, you’re already a total wreck, crying in front of your boss (old or new) is pretty much inevitable, but having a plan of what you want to say and talk about is so important in order to be fully prepared for this difficult conversation.

For me, I planned out in my head what I wanted to say the night before and that morning on the way to work. I had rehearsed it a couple times in my head so it was almost as if I was going to be on autopilot when I walked into my bosses’ office.

If you feel more comfortable, write everything up in an email and re-read it a couple times before you send it. This way, you also have the option of someone else proof reading it for you as well.

 

4. Do what’s best for you.

 

Despite the planning of it all, having a miscarriage is going to be messy for you. You’re emotions are going to be all over the place and you may not know how you’re “supposed” to react to what’s going on to you.

But let me tell you a little secret…

Are you ready?

You don’t have to act any certain way.

You do you mama.

If you need to take extra days off of work, do so without the guilt.

If you want to color your hair some crazy color, have at it.

If you want to get a tattoo, tat it up girl. (The elephant tattoo on my wrist is in remembrance of the sweet babies we lost too soon…because an elephant never forgets.)

This is YOUR time. You do what is best for you without the guilt of anyone else telling you how you should or shouldn’t act or feel.

Tell them to mind their business.

For me, I did a little of all three. I ended up going home early on that Thursday and took Friday off as well (unfortunately that morning is when my body began recognizing the loss so I was in an extreme amount of pain, physically and emotionally).

I got the elephant tattoo on my wrist.

AND I colored my hair.

I’ll admit, I went a little crazy during this time; however, it’s what I needed to help myself heal.

So there you have it. If you’re worried about talking to your boss (old or new) about your miscarriage, don’t be. Just follow the steps I talk about here and you’ll be set!

  1. Talk to your doctor and figure out a course of action.
  2. Write down the dates of your planned absence and provide a doctor’s note.
  3. Plan out what you want to say beforehand.
  4. Do what’s best for you.

 

Stay strong sweet mama,

XOXO

Ashlee

Tips for Pumping at Work

Are you afraid to talk about your pumping schedule at work? Are you worried about your supply decreasing? Well I’m here to share my tips and tricks for tackling both!

Over the past several weeks you have carefully cultivated a pumping or nursing schedule that fits yours and your baby’s needs…now you’re going back to work and your stressed about losing your milk supply, but good news…you don’t have to be! In fact, when I went back to work, my milk supply actually increased!

Want to know how I prepared to pump at work to set myself up for success?

Let’s dive on in!

Even with the most supportive boss and co-workers, pumping at work can be a daunting task. I work in Human Resources, and even I was terrified the first time! But here are six tips to have you ready to pump at work in no time!

 

  1. Let Them Know

The first and most important step you need to take before going back to work, well before leaving for maternity leave really, is to let your boss know that you will be pumping when you return and would like to designate a space for that.

I was really worried about this in the beginning as both my bosses are male; however, I was lucky enough that they asked me, and they made sure the conversation was as neutral as possible.

If you don’t know where to start, the best thing to do is to talk to your Human Resources representative, they can help you facilitate the conversation. If you work in a smaller company and don’t have an HR rep, the best thing to do is to just talk. Be completely straight forward and say something like: “I plan on coming back from maternity leave on X day and once I return I will be pumping so I will need a place to do so. Where do you recommend?”

Speaking in a “matter of fact” way will really help you stay completely neutral and the conversation will be much easier.

  1. Find a Place

For this step, if you have your own office this is fairly easy and straight forward; however, if you work more in a group setting this may be slightly difficult.

If you don’t feel comfortable pumping in your office, think of a couple places around the office that you would be comfortable pumping in and then run those places by your boss. Especially if you are feeling particularly anxious about talking to your boss about you pumping at work, this will decrease the length of the conversation than if you simply went to them and asked them where you should pump.

Keep in mind, the place that you chose should have the following:

A plug-in for your pump

A comfortable chair

Decent lighting

A table to lay your supplies on

  1. Schedule Your Time

The biggest mistake I made in going back to work and trying to pump, is not blocking out certain times on my schedule and sticking to it. If you have to move a couple meetings around, then so be it, it is very important to keep your pumping schedule as normal as possible in order to keep your milk supply up.

When I went back to work, scheduling my time wasn’t the hardest part, it was actually sticking to it and not just hitting “dismiss” on my calendar reminders. What I highly recommend is plan your day before you get to work and make sure those pumping times are built into your schedule. Then, treat them like you would a meeting with your boss – show up on time.

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  1. Make a Sign

Now, once you have nailed down the place that you are going to pump and when you’re going to, you need a sign for the door, so people don’t just walk on in or wonder why the door is locked. The sign that I use for my office door when pumping states, the following:

 

“Pumping

Please come back in 15 minutes

If urgent, please knock

 

Thank you!”

 

Very simple and doesn’t leave any room for guessing. I have a cover, so if any of my co-workers need me immediately, I am still available. You don’t have to do this, but because I am the only Human Resource personnel at my company, I want to make sure I’m always available whenever needed.

 

  1. Bring Your Gear

Packing well is a huge step in being successful at pumping at work. You can have the best space and stick to your pumping times, but if you don’t have all your gear (or store it and pack it properly) then you’re going to really struggle.

The number one thing that I suggest is making a list of everything you need each day and packing as much of it as possible the night before.

Here is my list:

 

  1. Pump Productively

When I first started pumping I dreaded it…having to sit there for 15-20 minutes doing nothing but holding the pumps to my boobs…not fun.

Then my life changed forever…I’m being serious.

I discovered hands free pumping bras. If you’ve read my previous posts then you know that I typically write all my blog posts while I’m pumping…multi-tasking at it’s finest!

Now, I will be honest with you that not all pumping bras are the same. I’ve tried a couple different ones, and some didn’t hold the pumps to my breasts well, while others were just extremely uncomfortable or hard to put on. Finally, I found the Simply Wishes pumping bra…AMAZING! I’m telling you mama, you’re going to want to order one!

Even if you’re not a working mom, you can do so many things while you’re pumping if you have a hands-free pumping bra like read, get on social media or even plan your shopping list for the week.

I’m all about finding ways to multi-task efficiently and using a hands-free pumping bra has given be back several hours to my day and doesn’t make pumping feel as much of a chore.

  1. Have a Milk and Pump Parts Storage Plan

Now, unless you have a private sink in your office, I’m pretty sure you don’t want to have your pump parts drying on the kitchen counter for the whole office to see – I’m even weird about people seeing my milk. I don’t know why…call me crazy!

So, what I do is when I’m done pumping, I don’t rinse out my pump parts, I simply put them in a gallon size Ziplock bag, put them in my pump bag so they are discrete and place them in the fridge. This insures that the milk sitting in them doesn’t sour and that way you don’t have to wash and sanitize your pump parts for the whole office to see.

Also, to store my milk I have two of these bags that are designed specifically to hold bottles. They are fantastic!

 

So, there you have it, my guide to preparing yourself, and others, for your pumping journey at work. Just to recap:

  1. Let Them Know
  2. Find a Place
  3. Schedule Your Time
  4. Make a Sign
  5. Bring Your Gear
  6. Pump Productively
  7. Have a Milk and Pump Parts Storage Plan

 

Thank you for stopping by you lovely mama, you!

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