When you want to start a family but you just started a new job...
"How soon is it appropriate to plan a pregnancy after starting a new job?"
Diane Keaton being a boss in Baby Boom.
Disclaimer: The following information was not prepared by an attorney and does not constitute legal advice. We are not providing legal counsel, and nothing said on Women.work is intended to be legal counsel. If you need legal assistance, conact an attorney or your local legal aid.
This is a hard one with many things to consider. We want to say that family always comes first, because jobs come and go, but your concerns are totally valid.
Know your company's maternity leave policy
Look through your employee handbook. If your company offers supplemental paid maternity leave, you may only be eligible for that leave if you have been on the job for a certain amount of time. If you know you can get paid while on leave it might be worth waiting a bit so that you can be eligible for that money.
Research Job Protection
We are offered federal job protection under FMLA - the Family Medical Leave act. To be eligible, an employee must "have worked 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave; work at a location where the employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles; and have worked for the employer for 12 months." Source
The law states that an employee has a right to reinstatement to their position or a comparable one if they take pregnancy disability leave. You are eligible for this protection if you meet the eligibility requirements stated above, but even if you aren't eligible you have rights under the law. We recommend you research not only FMLA (here is a handy doc we found with the relevant bits highlighted in yellow) but also what protections, if any, are offered by your State.
Get your health checked
Ask your doctor. Getting a physical could give you insight into whether the time to start is now or if you'd be okay to wait.
Consider the onboarding process
Starting a new job is stressful. You want to start off on the right foot as well as make a good impression, and it may take 3-6 months to get up to speed. Consider whether or not you want to go through the stress of onboarding at a new job with morning sickness or extreme fatigue. You want to be relaxed as much as possible when you are pregnant, and being settled at work definitely helps. This isn't saying you can't start a new job and get pregnant right away, but these are factors to consider.
The decision to start a family is both an emotional and a practical one. What if you wait to start trying, and there are complications? What if you wait, get pregnant, and then something happens to your company? What if you start your new job and hate it and have to leave? Will you push your plans to start a family the additional time it may take to find and onboard at a new company? There are so many unknowns in life and as much as we try to "plan" there are a lot of factors that are out of our control.
At the end of the day you have to do what is best for you and your family. Which includes ensuring you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, as well as have a job when you come back from leave. Our advice is to trust your gut. Once you start your new job and assess the environment, you will be the best judge of when it would be appropriate.
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