chapter  2
‘Mum’s the Word’: ‘Coming Out’ as Pregnant at Work
Pages 20

You’re pregnant and you’re riding a wave of happiness like no other. Your family knows. Your most intimate friends know, but no one at work does. You’re probably starting to think about when and how to announce your big news to your immediate supervisor and co-workers. Each pregnancy is different. The relationship you have with your boss and co-workers is different from anyone else’s. So, the ‘right time’ to announce your pregnancy at work is unique to you. Below are some tips to help you put together a plan to announce your pregnancy at work. (Clearblue, 2006, available <http://www.clearplan.com/Telling YourBossYou’rePregnant.cfm>, accessed 22 February 2006)

Just found out you are pregnant? Afraid to tell your boss? Learn about the best way to break the news. And, know your rights so you can relax a bit more and enjoy your pregnancy — even at work. (Pregnancy-info. net, 2006, available <http://www.pregnancy-info.net/pregnancy_and_ work.html>, accessed 22 February 2006)

These quotes are from websites that offer advice on how to tell an employer that you are pregnant. They are typical of many that can be found on the Internet. The academic literature has much less to say on this topic. Extensive research has been carried out on mothers and waged work, the feminisation of the workforce, gendered organizational cultures, pregnant women’s experiences of waged work, maternity leave, discrimination issues, health and pregnancy at work, and returning to work after maternity leave but there is still little published research on announcing one’s pregnancy at work.1 The aim of this chapter therefore is to address this topic. I am especially interested in some of the diffi culties that pregnant women potentially face when they announce their pregnancy. It is not always easy negotiating the subject position of Pregnant Woman at work. The way I have chosen to examine this topic is to use the metaphor of ‘coming out of the closet’.