“I think it went really well!” I told my husband excitedly as I wiggled out of my blazer, which was now definitely too snug on my third-trimester body.
“Did they say when to expect a callback?” he asked, with noticeable caution in his voice.
We had been having this conversation for months already. It would start with me excitedly telling him that a company had reached out to me with comments on my “impressive resume.” And the first interview would almost always go well.
But then, every single time that a company made the follow-up call to discuss “next steps,” and I disclosed that I was pregnant, the conversation ended. 47 job applications later, I was now in my third trimester, my due date rapidly impending, and not a single company had called back after “The Pregnancy Talk.”
Since late fall, I had been actively applying to part-time copywriting jobs. Although I have a full-time job, my company does not offer fully paid maternity leave, so I was in the pursuit of short-term, part-time hours to offset the costs of the unpaid weeks we knew were coming in the spring.
The jobs that I applied to were ones that many employers said needed to be filled immediately–something I was eager and professionally prepared to do. And yet, once they had expressed interest in me and I disclosed my pregnancy, I was either ghosted or hit with the “please apply again after your maternity leave.”
I didn’t blame them, but I did start to wonder if perhaps my value while pregnant had diminished to only one thing: being a mother. To say the least, it was a disheartening few months.
But my story doesn’t have a sad ending, because not all companies see limitations when hiring pregnant women or mothers. It’s true–there aren’t many companies hiring pregnant women. And there are even less companies hiring women who are 35-weeks-pregnant. And yet, that is the exact position I found myself in after 16 weeks of applying to jobs when Melissa Wirt, CEO of Latched Mama, hired me.
So, a bit of encouragement for the many mothers or moms-to-be who may find themselves in my position: there are companies hiring the pregnant woman when she is most qualified for the job. There are companies that know mothers make some of the best employees when given the opportunity.
After all, we have a reason to be driven in our careers, we know how to multitask better than almost anyone, and we don’t have a lot of time to spare, so we are uncompromisingly productive when working.
It was nearly impossible to find a company that saw that value in me once they knew I was pregnant, though. And how many hundreds of thousands of working moms already know this story? They weren’t given the chance to get the job. Or maybe even worse, they returned after maternity leave, only to be let go on their first day back. These stories are well-known among moms and often can make the quest for a job feel overwhelming and defeating.
I’m walking away from my job-hunting experience thankful to have found what feels like a needle in a haystack–a company that sees my value as an employee, and not just my limitations as a pregnant woman. But should job-hunting while pregnant feel like searching for a needle in a haystack?
The companies who realize the value of hiring mothers sooner will undoubtedly see pay-offs that continue to prove the power of the working mother. The more we recognize this oversight in our workforce, perhaps the more companies we will see eager to hire mothers and everything they bring to the table.
Maybe motherhood isn’t just something to hide in the pursuit of a career. Maybe ‘motherhood’ deserves a spot on your resume instead.
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