Sunday

Advice for Pregnant Nanny?

Received Sunday, December 16, 2007 - Perspective & Opinion
I am a nanny to a wonderful little boy that I have been with for over two years. I found out a week ago that I am pregnant. So right now I am six weeks pregnant. I have not told my employer yet. When do you think would be an appropriate time to tell her? Should I tell my employer early on or wait a while? I want to be fair to her, I also need to hang onto this job for as long as I can. Plus, my nanny job is not a normal nanny job. I don't know my schedule from day to day, usually. Some days I work 10am-6pm, other days I work 5pm-1 am... it varies. I also go on trips with them every couple of months. I am just really concerned that if she finds out I'm pregnant that she'll ditch me for someone that'll have energy and won't be pregnant. I'm also concerned with the health of my baby and know my job is very demanding. Are there any other nannies or families that been in this situation or similar? Any (nice) advice would be helpful! Thanks!

53 comments:

tree said...

I would wait on telling her until you are out of your first trimester. If you are a good nanny and they appreciate you they would keep you. How much time are you planning on taking off after the baby is born? Congrats to your pregancy.

we need a nanny union said...

She can't fire you for being pregnant, that's illegal. Plus, she's not going to find anyone else to work those last minute crazy hours. I hope she'll be happy and supportive when you tell her. Good luck!

ericsmom said...

First, I would address concerns to your doctor. Did you tell them the work you do, thats its demanding, etc. And they expect you to travel alot. How old is the child you watch? Do you have to do alot of bending and lifting, housecleaning, etc??
Tell the doctor if you have any risk factors: family history, etc. Did anyone in your family have early contractions or a premature baby? Etc, etc.

If your doctor feels you can't work he can put you on temporary disability. If you are on the books, I believe.
Or can you work less hours, especially if shes a SAHM? Not sure if she is or not. And not sure if you have someone to help support you. If your the soul bread winner, then I know its going to be hard. But you can get assistance thru the state, check out WIC as well. They can help you with, referrals,etc. Also, they will give you breastfeeding support or formula if you choose that route

thanks

Congrats!

Take care of your health first.

Anonymous said...

First, wait to tell them until at least past week 12 (first trimester) or until your 8 to 10 week check. There are lots of things that can happen in the first trimester and you should wait until you are out of it. You might start to get tired, sick, and grumpy, but it is possible to work through it.

I am currently pregnant and just told the family I work for (although I am a nanny/household manager…I watch 3 children that are in school full time and take care of the house). I told my family and was surprised by their reaction. They were more worried about my quitting than them having to fire me. They are planning on having family cover for me for about 2 months (more if needed) and then I will come just during the mornings to get the kids off to school and 2-3 afternoons to take them to activities. They are also planning on having me bring my baby and have even pulled out an old crib for it to use while I am at their house.

Anonymous said...

I think you should do nothing until after the first trimester is completed. Then things are more sure. When you tell the family of your pregnancy at that point, be sure to say certain things. Tell them that you would like to keep the job for the long term, and you would like to stay as long as they would like to keep you. (This is what I understood from your post.) Tell them you are worried they will look for someone else and that you would like to keep your job permanently. Ask them if they would please let you know if they are even considering looking for a new nanny.

(By the way to "we need a nanny union," unless the OP is totally legal and on the books, there are no laws that protect a person from being fired due to being pregnant. The person can be fired for any reason whatsoever.)

Anonymous said...

Right after I started working for my 1st nanny family ...I mean weeks...I found out I was expecting. I am heavyset I knew I could wait a bit and let them bond with me. I had horrible morning sickness and sometimes was sliently dry heaving with my back turn to mom...but I made it to 4 months before I had to break the news, because they wanted to add a new addition to their family and my time off would throw all that off I was fired. So be ready, that could be your reality. Sucks :(

mimi said...

I currently have an in home daycare, and was married this past year. My husband and I plan on starting a family in Aug '08. I too am freaking out about telling everyone and I am not even prego yet! I have it lined up that if it goes as planned my mom -a preschool teacher of 30 years and my sister a college student can cover daycare all summer so all my families don't have to scramble to find care and raise the risks of them going elsewhere...But I am worried that once I start back up, the baby will be with me most days as my husband works shifts, I worry about them thinking I take better care of mine/spend more time with mine/ and all the other wrong ideas that they could imagine. I worry I'll lose kids. But most families have been with me nearly over 2 years sooooo I am hoping that will help them be secure knowing that ALL my kids will get the best care...I don't know though , it's scary to think of having a new baby and having my ncome change unexpectly. But I won't change my life plans for my work so I will have to just accept the risks. OP...same for you, you can't put your life on hold...so as much as it sucks to think you might be fired, try to focus on youe baby..

Anonymous said...

If they fire you for being pregnant, they are horrible people and don't deserve you. I'd have a few interviews at least lined up for short term or temp nanny jobs when you tell them... If they are happy and accepting, just cancel the interviews. If they are evil, well, at least you have a back up plan!

chick said...

Congrats to you on your pregnancy. I agree with everyone who suggested waiting to let your boss know until you are in your second trimester.

Unfortunately, I do not believe that nannies are entitled to the same job discrimination protections as workers in large(r) companies are. We don't qualify for the federal Family and Medical Leave act, for example.

So, get your ducks in a row financially. ericsmom/9:20 gave good advice about the possibility of temporary disability. If you do get fired, you can always file for unemployment, of course.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I didn't tell the family until late, almost out of my 2nd trimester, but I didn't get really big. They where worried that they where working me too hard, and it was tough at first to find coverage so I could have some time off when the baby first came, but we made it work. I am still with them, and now am watching 3 kids. As long as you have a good bond I think you'll be ok

Anonymous said...

Re: unemployment,
In order to collect unemployment your employer must be paying into your unemployment insurance, then you must be laid off through no fault of your own, you can't collect if you quit or are fired for cause. You must be ready, willing and able to work, and actively looking for a new job. A pg nanny is in a very gray area, and it varies from state to state. She might have a better chance to collect workman's comp., again assuming she is covered.

Anonymous said...

If they are truly happy with the care you provide, they will accomodate you during and after your pregnancy. I know I would if my nanny was pregnant. I would tell them as soon as you are out of your first trimester. It is normal not to share your pregnancy widely until then. Also, think about what you want to do after the baby. If you want to return to working for them, let them know how long you think you will take off--plan on a bare minimum of 8 weeks off, but 12 weeks is best. If you want to be able to bring the baby with you to work, also let them know that. Offer to help them find temporary care, by asking around, helping with the interview process, etc. Open communication at the right time is key. You might want to save your vacation (I'm assuming you get paid vacation) for the beginning of your time off to minimize your loss of income. If they are truly kind employers who really want you back, they wil provide you with a few weeks additional of pay on top of that, but I wouldn't expect full pay for a full 12 week leave if they are going to have to pay a temporary.

Anonymous said...

To Chick, only if the nanny is fully on the books and fully legal, and actually also has a disability insurance policy, either provided by her employers or purchased herself, can she collect disability! Of course most nannies do not have this kind of benefit because only top corporate etc. jobs provide this!! And many top corporate jobs do not provide it too! (Besides pregnancy is not a disability unless you are placed on bed rest or hospitalized or whatever.) One cannot collect unemployment if one is not fully legal and on the books, and as someone else said, actively seeking a job and unable to find ont. It seems very unlikely that this is the case here.
(from 11:06am)

cali mom said...

This is a tough situation. Definitely don't tell them until you are AT LEAST 12 weeks along. I'm not sure how your state laws work regarding firing an employee due to pregnancy, but there are probably SOME protections. If they can make the argument that you are unable to carry out your assigned job duties, I doubt you'd be protected. But if it's just discrimination because they have assumptions about you because of the pregnancy, you would have some recourse.

I told my boss (at a company) when I was just past the first trimester, talked about how much time I planned to take off, arranged to work from home part of the time after the baby came (many employees in the company did), and thought all details were finalized EXCEPT...2 weeks before I was supposed to come back he pretended he had no recollection of ever agreeing to any sort of work off-site arrangement, bitched and moaned about how much time off I'd had to take already (I had MAJOR, life threatening complications in the pregnancy and baby was born at barely 26 weeks), and screwed me around for the next 3 months, nudging me into giving notice, then I found out they'd been advertising my job, DESPITE my having gone back to work FT on their terms, and having scrambled to find childcare solutions to accomodate their demands. So I talked to a lawyer and prevailed eventually.

As for pay during any bonding/medical leave, it is never required in ANY industry that any emplyer in this country pay for your time off, other than whatever unused sick time and vacation time you have accrued. In California, and I believe nationwide, in most industries, employers HAVE to ALLOW you the 12 weeks off, but it is unpaid.

I hope this works out the way yoou want it to, and congratulations on the expected arrival :)

cali mom said...

AND, despite the time I'd already had to take off, I was still within the amount of medical leave and family leave they were REQUIRED by LAW to allow, with none of it paid.

cali mom said...

By medical leave, I meant pregnancy disability leave, as I was put on full bed rest, IN hospital, at about 24 weeks.

Anonymous said...

Cali Mom - wow, that sucks. What assholes your former employers are.

Anonymous said...

to be honest pregnancy is not that big of a deal. women all around the world work until they deliver and an hour later they are right back at it. Unless your doc says your going to die you can work. assure your employer that you had no intention of leaving and that you really appreciate all they have done for you. Pregnancy is a temporary handicap and it will go away... if they like you and you are a good employee then they should be able to wait out your problem.

mom said...

Cali mom,
It sounds like your employer, jerk that he was, did you a favor in the end. I believe you are home with your son now, and loving every minute of it, right?

Anonymous said...

My employers and I have already talked about this subject. And we've decided that I would work til my due date, then take 2 months off, and come back to work. But I also intend to plan it so that when he's on summer break is when I'll be on maternity leave, so they'd only need some help occassionally (which my mother, a retired home daycare provider for over 15 years will fill in). But she expressed that she'd like me to wait til her son is at least a year old before getting pregnant. He'll be a year in May, and my husband and I are gonna start trying in late September.
But anyway, not all employers are against a nanny with her own baby coming in with her. Tell them after your first trimester and talk about all the options.

Anonymous said...

9:14
You sound like a cad. You are either a man, or a woman without kids. If you do have kids, then I feel sorry for them.

Anonymous said...

9:14, there are a lot of possible pregnancy complications. It is entirely possible for pregnancy to go as you say, but that's just not the case for many people. All over the world women die in childbirth or from fistulas or pregnancy complications, and NEVER go back to work. I'm not going to generalize from that fact to say that all pregnant women are in grave danger to their health; neither should you generalize that pregnancy is no big deal. Most women survive it OK, but it is a laughable myth that the *majority* of pregnant women worldwide must make no adjustments to their work duties in order to take care of themselves and their babies and of sheer physical necessity.

I agree, it is likely you are a man, or a woman who has never been pregnant and is extremely low on empathy.

Anonymous said...

"an hour later they are back at work"? In most traditional cultures, the new mom is pampered for 40 days or more. At an hour postpartum, one's girly bits are a gaping bloody hole and one's uterus is just starting the painful contractions that return it to normal size. There is also a newborn baby to be taken care of. I doubt that anyone outside of that Pearl S. Buck novel (perhaps that is what you are referencing?) returns to work an hour out; even under slavery conditions such was not the case. You're a dreadful misogynist, but you knew that. It'd be interesting to see you laid up with a health condition necessitating time off from work and to hear your employer say, "well, you're not going to DIE, right? So, get back to work!"

mom said...

My husband took that attitude when I was pregnant with my first child. (Wonder for him that I am still here and was willing to bear him more children...hehee!) First, he thought I ought to go jogging to aleviate my severe morning sickness, because it was likely "all in my head" anyway, and a little fresh air would make me "forget" it. Then he mentioned many times how women in America make pregnancy and childbirth such a big deal simply becauise we are spoiled and pampered...as evidenced by the fact that women in Asia simply wander off all alone into the trees when labor starts, squat down and grunt out a healthy baby without fanfare or complaint, chew off the umbilical cord, tie the new baby promptly onto their backs, and return to working as hard as ever in the rice paddies as if they had done nothing more than taken a brief potty break.

So yeah, 9:14 is probably a man. Hmmm..maybe even my husband. I'll have to ask. However, although I suspect that he still secretly harbors this ridiculous notion, he is older now and has learned...yes, the hard way...not to say it out loud around me anymore..so maybe not.)

mom said...

Nope, wasn't mine.

Maybe it was one of his brothers or his dad...or one of their kooky relatives. Seems to be a common family belief among them.

LindaLou said...

pregnancy is not a disease and most of the time women can work right through it. why assume you're going to be some delicate flower, ya know?

Anonymous said...

You should tell them after first trimester so that they can start finding a temp nanny for the weeks/months you will be unable to work. Also, you should have a talk with your baby's father to figure out if you will be going back to work after you've had your baby and what your schedule will be like. It is always in your best interest to know ahead of time what the situation will be like so that both you and your employer are better prepared for what's ahead.

ericsmom said...

Lindalou

Your right pregnancy is not a disease. But some moms do have complications or a difficult pregnancy. Thats why I thought it would be good if she addressed her concerns to her doctor.

9:14 said...

I am not saying that people don't have complications from pregnancy, but you can't assume there will be some. A woman can't say she is hindered because she is pregnant. It doesn't work like that. If you are able to have sex and get knocked up then you should be able to cope with working while pg. Dont ever assume that anyone ever has sympathy, because in the working world it is all business. When you are hurting someone's business or not performing the duties you need to, you will be replaced plain and simple. This is a money driven world and no one cares about anyone. Whether or not people seem to care - well they might but they have to do what's best for them.

BTW - I am a woman

Anonymous said...

By the way maternity leave (at most 12 weeks without pay) only means that the employee will be able to get her job back after (at most) 12 weeks. It just means that you are guaranteed to still have a job after the maternity leave is over. And it is only required at companies that have more than 50 employees. So it hardly applies in this situation (unless it was in the nanny's contract, which would be extremely unlikely).

cali mom said...

Mom, I suppose in the long run he did, and by forcing me to take legal action, he ended up having to fork over some $ to me, so that was also a plus. HOWEVER, I would have loved, and thought I was going to have, the best of both worlds at least for a while. That is, hubby going PT, me working from home 2 days a week, and still doing the work I enjoyed, while being there for my little guy. If they had wanted it to work, it would have, and they could have still had me doing the fantastic job they had made clear they thought I was doing up until I had the difficult pregnancy. I heard at a later point, when they were floundering around fighting disasters at an important tradeshow due to my replacement really not knowing his butt from page 9, they were heard to say out loud more than once that they would "give anything" to have me back, but oh well...

It would not have worked out permanently, since newborns are quite different than toddlers and preschoolers, but it would have given me time to make a long term plan without the stress of having my feet stuck in the fire by them, and we all could have benefited. But after I left, everyone started falling out w/the boss there, getting fired or leaving on bad terms and I heard threats of lawsuits from some of them, too.

11:43 said...

9:14/BTW a woman
You made mention you were a woman (could have fooled me). However, you did NOT say you had children, so I'm assuming that is a big, fat NO. And since my first assumption was correct, please don't come back saying you *forgot*, just to prove your point.

9:14 said...

Nope I don't have any biological kids. I have a step-son whom I take care of almost by myself because his father is diabled. So I would say that he is like my own.

9:14 said...

ooops. I spelled disabled wrong. Hah! it's still early.

11:43 said...

Well, at least I can appreciate your honesty. Because if you were to experience just 1 hour of labor, and the wretched (but lovely) pain of birth ... you would NEVER suggest a woman could "pop out a baby" and be back to work in an hour.
It is such a thoughtless remark. I hope you are really not that kind of person (for your childs sake), and your comment was made in jest.

9:14 said...

the only reason that I can come to the assumption is basically because that is what all the women in my family did. The worked until they went into labor, I mean literally they all had their water break while on the job. They had the kid, then went back to work the next day. The men in our family take care of the kids while the women work. This is normal for me... I know it can be done.

The only one who didn't go back to work right away was my couson because she had a c-section and they wouldn't allow her to leave the hospital.

ericsmom said...

I can't imagine having a baby, and going back to work the next day. Is it just me, but it seems selfish. Having a baby then leaving to go to work the next day? And the men sound like real "winners" in this family.

11:43 said...

9:14
O.k., maybe we have hit on a cultural difference here, and that may explain why the women in your family are capable of doing this. Where are you from, if you don't mind me asking?

Anonymous said...

My best friend works for Rue 21 in the distribution center, she picks orders, packs the box, tapes it and tosses it 5 feet up onto a conveyor belt...she did this until her water broke, I am not saying everyone can but it certianly shows some can. She's had 3 children so far, and never blinked all thru every pregnancy. Then you have my other girlfriend who had such bad morning sickness, that she lost weight and peed her pants from straining every time she puked, eventually ended up on a chemo drug to curb the urge to vomit. Or take my other friend prego with twins who was nearly a month prego and canceling her vacation (at which she would have been 3 months) because "surely" she would be on bedrest...I really think she willed herself into a bad pregnancy, I mean form week 3 of pregnancy she was saying she was going on bedrest. I dunno, my 2 cents...evryone is different.

9:14 said...

My cultural back ground, Scottish and Irish, American by birth.

Anonymous said...

11:45
That chemo drug ... 'Zofran'.
And it works wonders! It's also one of the most expensive ones out there, too. Approx. $800.00 mo.

mom said...

I would have paid anything for that drug. I was like 11:45's friend, but the drugs they gave me (not Zofran) didn't even work. I lost weight, threw up at least 10-20 times a day, and fainted when I tried to get up for very long or go anywhere...from the time I was 6weeks until 5 months pregnant every time. It's why I stopped having kids...too much stress on the kids we did have to see that going on and to have me basically worthless for 3+ months at a time.

It's amazing the things they have come up with in medicine in such a short time.

marypoppin'pills said...

Mom
You would have been a perfect candidate for Zofran. They personally told me when it was given to me, that unless you have Cancer, or basically have your head in the toilet for 1/2 the day, they don't like to give it out (I guess production costs/shortage or something, who knows). They prefer to use Phenergen, but I was allergic to it. So they kindly told me every time they had to give me a shot of Zofran ... well, that cost $50.00 - which made me feel awful. One time I asked them, "what do you want me to do? Do you think I chose to be sick?" They never said another word after that.

mom said...

Mary poppin pills,

There is almost no amount of money that I wouldn't have paid for relief from that...and, oh the pleasure of having my head in the toilet for ONLY half the day! It was 24/7. I got to where I couldn't even bend down to get to the toilet anymore, because of the stomach pain, so I would have to stand over the sink and then clean it out after. I had to sit on the floor to take a shower. I quickly learned that any time I ate anything, if I could manage to lay perfectly still and somehow keep the food down for two hours, it would at least come back up more liquidy than solid...which hurt a bit less. When I HAD to go anywhere I kept a stash of diapers to throw up into in case it happened in the car. Good times, eh? The frightening things for me were that the doctor kept warning me that my weight loss could damage the babies' brains (as if I had any choice)...and all of these stories I had heard about bulemics having their esophagus rupture, when I couldn't imagine that even they were vomiting as much as I was. I took compazine and had an allergic reaction. I used to say to myself all the time, "There is nothing in the world but a baby that I would endure this for." And they are worth it. I have worried for my daughter that she will be like me, but I am much comforted by the news of this new drug.

? said...

I just have to add my two cents in here. While I am not a "delicate wallflower" I felt I deserved my twelve weeks off. Heck, it took that long for my son to sleep thru the night and for my incontinence to go away. Personaly, I think it would be selfish to go back to work the day after giving birth. A newborn needs their mommy.

I worked up to the week before having my son, and only stopped because of leg swelling. The next twelve weeks off were the best of my life. Anyone who suggest that that much time off is not needed obviously does not have children and/or a uterus. Lets see a man birth an eight pound baby, rip their crotch into a third degree rip (yeah, ALL the way) and then want to go back to work immediately! Wouldn't happen. In fact, if men gave birth, how much do you want to bet that maternity leave would not only be paid, but an entire year?

9:14 said...

Yikes!!!

? said.... your horrible experience just makes me thankful I can't have kids.

Anonymous said...

To ?, at least your kid started sleeping through the night at 3 months. That is very early. My first one didn't sleep through the night until 8 months. He was up every hour and a half to breastfeed until he was around 3 months. And this was after I had all night long labor (a few days after Sept 11th and this is in NYC) with an epidural that only worked on one side of my body and not the other, and then in the morning a c-section with complications. And that was only my first kid . . . I'll spare you about the second.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I was employed as a nanny, got pregnant and told my employer. They fired me one week later. I was a live in, so I had to pack up all my belongings and move out. It was a very difficult time and I had the stress of finding a new job while pregnant. I couldn't find a job and things have been really tough since then. My advice: if you are fired, do what I should have done: file a lawsuit because it is wrong and illegal.

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