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The site is maintained by students from the University of California, Santa Barbara who have studied advanced topics in human sexuality. When this happened, I realized that I had hardly ever worked with pregnant women on staff in my eight-year career.
I can’t shut up about this in print or in my personal life, because I will not let what happened to me happen to my peers. I emailed with Dina Bakst, one of the authors of “Babygate” and a co-founder and co-president of A Better Balance, on how to deal with some confusing situations that women might run into when they’re dealing with pregnancy at work. The placental membrane separates the mother’s blood from her child’s blood, only allowing oxygen and nutrients from the mother to be transferred to the child. Mothers with twins usually require more ultrasounds to monitor the growth of both children. High levels of human chorionic gonadotropin are commonly believed to cause nausea, and levels of this hormone are higher in women with twins than in women with a single pregnancy. Spotting is a sign of miscarriage, which is more prevalent in mothers of twins and upwards.


I had a very difficult pregnancy, with a combination of hyperemesis gravidarum(extreme morning sickness), depression and anxiety. To steal a line from the movie “Juno,”  I want to be a cautionary whale for other women navigating pregnancy and motherhood at work. Since young women are now getting the majority of bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and entering professions that were once male-dominated, I asked Bakst what to do if you’re the first woman in your company to be pregnant. If your company has more than 50 employees and you’ve been there for more than a year, your employer must give you 12 weeks of unpaid leave — that has to cover any pregnancy-related illness, prenatal doctor visits and recovery from childbirth or bonding with an adopted child. Share this empowering narrative on your social network of choice and ask others to do the same. At a boozy after-work hangout, I discovered I made more than a male co-worker with the same title, because I had asked for and received raises where he had not.
Because I was at a new job, I did not have some of the workplace protections provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act, which only kicks in if you’ve worked someplace for 12 months. If you had asked me what being pregnant at work might be like before I conceived, I probably would have said something glib along the lines of: “I’m not the first working woman to ever have a kid.


I ended up quitting — a luxury my family could afford because my husband has a good job with health insurance. When I started talking and writing about my experience, other mothers I knew came out of the woodwork with their stories of being pushed out or sneakily demoted. They don’t speak out about these issues because they would like to be employed again at some point. Stephanie Coontz’s recent opinion piece about how most of the gains in the gender wage gap have been made by childless women was no surprise to me.



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