I have a great boss at work – she’s a couple of years younger than me, testament to her ambition and ability. I’m employed by an agency and she is a client that I was seconded to work full time with on some projects in February, and we got on well from the start. She is a British Indian and very family orientated. She’s a ‘tell it how it is’ person, sees through people and b*llshit from a mile away is very direct – which makes her particularly effective in a business environment, but she’s also a very caring and thoughtful individual. After we’d worked together for a few months we evolved from colleagues to friends. Before she got married in Goa over the summer I attended her hen party and my husband and I attended her UK wedding dinner – our first experience of a large Hindu get-together with around 400 guests and some knock out Indian food. It was prior to this at some post work drinks that she asked me outright whether Jake and I were trying for babies. I’m not sure where she got the idea from because I’d mentioned nothing at work, or in any capacity, obviously very conscious that employers knowing you are trying for a baby can be very detrimental to ones career. It shouldn’t be the case, but of course it is. Why would you continue to invest, train, promote or reward someone with a salary raise if she is planning on buggering off to procreate in the next few months with no guarantee she will ever return? I admitted we were, straight off the bat. Her reaction was one of real encouragement. We talked at length about how raising a family is important to us both, and how invariably and unfairly, our careers will have to go on the back burner in order for that to happen but how women should stick together to minimise how much of a disadvantage being mother can be in the working world.
A fews months on and there I was, staring at two pink lines on a stick. I decided to tell her last week, mainly so she could plan resource after my maternity leave as soon as possible, and also because I feel tired and sick as a dog and I need someone on the inside at work to support me and cover for me at the array of boozy Christmas lunches we have lined up. Aware that I was still very much in the pregnancy danger zone, I figured if something went wrong with the pregnancy I would be on compassionate leave for a few days anyway so she would know. She was every bit as supportive and excited as I’d hoped. She told me nothing had changed in my position as far as she was concerned. It means a lot to me to have her support and for that I am truly thankful. In a few years time I have no doubt she’ll be in upper tier management and it makes me happy to think of women like her rising in the ranks and levelling the playing field for mothers to be successful at work without prejudice.