Baby on Board.

by Vicki Larson


The job interview was going well. I liked my potential boss, and she seemed to like me.


I was genuinely interested in the position with the landscape architecture firm — the office was right on San Francisco’s beautiful waterfront; I could commute by ferry! — although it was only part time and quite different than my traditional newspaper experience. Mostly, I was desperate to leave my then-hell boss. So when I was offered the position a few days later, I told my new boss, “Yes.” What I didn’t tell her was that I was newly pregnant.


Was that wrong?


To tell or not to tell, that truly is the question for many young women. On one hand, you want to be honest and start off on the right foot with your new employer, but on the other you know that your honesty might take you out of the running for a great job. And although employers may not discriminate against pregnant women under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, we all know that people, and employers are people after all, discriminate for lots of reasons — you’re a pretty blonde and therefore perceived as ditzy or an office affair waiting to happen; you’re overweight; you pepper your conversation with “like,” “yeah” and dude.” Not many employers want to hire a woman they know will be taking maternity leave in a few months, and may choose to never come back.


And, I don’t blame them. It often takes a lot of time and energy — and money — to get a new employee up to speed.


But does an employer have a right to know about your pregnancy before you’re offered a job? Do you destroy the trust of your employer if you accept a position and start displaying a bump a few weeks after? Should a potential stay-at-home dad say something? Or is it, as the song says, ain’t nobody’s business but my own?


I interviewed for a management position when I was six months pregnant with my son. I carried him high, and while I thought I looked like I'd swallowed a watermelon sideways, it became clear to me quickly that the business owner (somehow)didn't notice.

My second interview included talk of an offer, and the fact that there were two women in the 11 person office who were expecting babies in January, so I would really need to pitch in while they were on leave. At that point, I said "We have to talk. I'm expecting a baby in December."

He turned bright red and actually made a noise... But I still go the offer!