Editor’s Note: We’re so excited to introduce you to Karina, the amazing Office Manager at Khan Academy who will be sharing her pregnancy with us! So whether you’re pregnant, planning on it, or even have a partner contemplating the idea, we hope Karina’s story and advice will help give you the support you need.
Seeing that extra pink line on a pregnancy test is shocking. Is this real? Should I take another one? Am I ready? Who should I call first? What color should the room be? The list of thoughts running through your head are endless. And they should be—you’re going to become a parent!
When I became pregnant earlier this year, I found endless resources to tell me how to do what was necessary and what to expect, but nothing that told me how to do all those things and my full-time job. As an office manager, I’m constantly on the go and moving many projects in multiple directions and all this pregnancy advice didn’t seem to mesh with that. This column is a way for me to help other admins, OMs, and office ninjas navigate this exciting time.
The next few months of your life will change everything and this guide is here to help you thrive in each trimester not only in the office, but at home as well. A ninja’s job is never done, especially in pregnancy, but it’s important you take care of yourself and that lil’ ninja inside you.
Parental Leave & Insurance
Understanding your company’s leave policy and insurance coverage is essential for any expecting ninja. If you don’t know it already, look it up ASAP. The last thing you want is to be surprised at eight and a half months with less leave or different rules than you expected. Check your handbook and talk to HR to make sure you get it. If you don’t have an HR team, find someone in leadership you’re comfortable talking to and who can help answer your questions.
As for insurance, get it over with and call them. Insurance is enough of a nightmare in small situations, but during pregnancy and birth it can get complicated. Know both your in and out of network options, understand what (or what percentage) your insurance will cover, and start looking for a service provider.
There’s No Time Like You Time
Now that’s we’ve talked logistics, let’s talk about you. Your body is about to go through some incredible changes and the process of making a baby can take its toll physically, mentally, and emotionally. This is why it’s so important to carve time out for yourself. If you’re currently working 10+ hour days with few breaks and jumping back online at home to wrap up a couple things, going to bed late and waking up early, you may want to reevaluate your work/life balance. There is no better time to start setting boundaries in your schedule than now. You’ll need it. Trust me.
Here are a couple tips to get more you time in your life:
Create hours for yourself. Literally go into Google Calendar right now and set your work hours. This includes real breaks like lunch (more than a quick bite at your desk or 10 minutes at a table) and small breaks during the day. Go for a walk, take a nap, whatever you need, just make it happen. You don’t need to work 24/7. For those stubborn ninjas out there, using apps like Awareness or Break Time will force you to step away from your desk.
Start healthy habits. This means eating well, staying hydrated (64 ounces a day!), and doing something nice for yourself. The better you treat your body now, the easier it is to keep up and the more you’ll be able to make it through those pesky first trimester symptoms (we’ll get to those in just a moment).
Making it Work at Work
If you’re not feeling them yet, the first trimester symptoms are bound to creep up on you. The nausea, sickness, exhaustion, food aversions, food cravings, moodiness—the list goes on. There are plenty of blogs and books to help you alleviate them, but you still need to make it through your work day with or without symptoms.
First, if you have a close friend or someone you trust, it may be worth telling them you’re pregnant. It helped me so much to just ping my friend on HipChat with a sick face and have her get it. She would see me in the office lost in a daze and making gag faces at lunch and just be there for me. The comfort of a friend is paramount during pregnancy.
If you’re feeling the symptoms really strongly, the best thing to do is ask for help. It seems counterintuitive to any office ninja to ask instead of just do it ourselves, but you really need to. Not only are you not going to be able to do certain tasks as your pregnancy goes on, but it’s a good habit to get into. Ask a coworker to lift those heavy boxes, delegate duties to other team members, and don’t say yes to every single thing that comes across your desk.
Being a ninja is hard enough work as it is, but adding on becoming a parent can feel intense and overwhelming and maybe even impossible. But let me remind you, you aren’t just any ol’ admin, you’re a total rock star! You put out fires and manage crazy situations every single day. Your body may not feel so hot these next 13 weeks, but you’ve got a list of tips to help you enjoy this trimester and spend all the energy focusing on how amazing pregnancy is and what a great parent you’re going to be.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series where we tackle the second trimester including telling your office the good news, preparing for your leave, and what to wear to stay comfortable & adorable in office.
Are you a newly pregnant ninja (or recently were one)? What are your best tactics for staying sane at work and enjoying your pregnancy? Significant Others—we want to hear from you too! What did you do to help your partner keep their cool when they were expecting?