Do I need to tell the hiring manager that I'm NOT pregnant?
December 27, 2012 12:10 PM   Subscribe

This fall, when I was unemployed and job hunting, I discovered I was pregnant, kind of like this person: I did not mention this during interviews, but when I got an offer, I brought it up with the hiring manager as part of my negotiation. I was very pleased that it did not seem like a liability, and he promised I'd be made eligible for their paid maternity leave even though I would have only been there about six months. He also said he'd leave it up to me to tell my boss and team with at least 4 months advance notice.

Well, I miscarried just shy of my second trimester. I did not have to take any time off work, so I didn't tell anyone. But now I'm getting near to the time I would have been obliged to go public about the baby. I'm wondering if I'm... Not exactly obliged, but if I ought to tell the hiring manager that I am no longer pregnant. I dont want him to think Im putting off my notification (and he gave me a look when I had a glass of wine at the Holiday party). Do you think I can assume he'll just get the picture on his own, when I don't announce, and my waistline doesn't change? I don't want to be unprofessional, but I don't know what "professional" would be here.

Also, if the consensus is that I do need to say something, is email ok? This isn't something I can talk about without crying still, and I try to hold a no-crying-at-work policy.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think an e-mail to the effect of "I won't be needing to take time off after all" would be appropriate, without going into any detail you don't want to reveal. The hiring manager may have already been trying to find your replacement for maternity leave, so you should let them know.

I am sorry for your loss.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:18 PM on December 27, 2012 [34 favorites]

I would let him know, just for courtesy's sake and also to prevent an awkward and potentially tearful conversation should he take the initiative to inquire as to your condition and plans.

I think email would be fine. Just let him know you've miscarried, and as no one else at work knew you were pregnant you'd appreciate him keeping it in confidence as you are not ready to talk about it (which hopefully will also serve to clue him in not to bring it up with you the next time he runs into you in the hall.)

I'm very sorry for your loss.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 12:19 PM on December 27, 2012 [6 favorites]

I think probably you should inform the hiring manager. Email is fine, and I'd say something like "Dear HM, I will not be needing maternity leave. As I do not need to take time off work, I have not discussed this with my team. Sincerely, anonymous."

If you want to say miscarriage, you can write the same but say you miscarried.

I am very sorry for your loss.
posted by jeather at 12:20 PM on December 27, 2012 [6 favorites]

i would e-mail (which is fine, btw) the hiring manager, if he's the only one who knew. put it simply and succinctly: "dear hiring manager, i will no longer require maternity leave. this will be my only communication on the matter, and i trust you will respect my privacy. thank you, x." you can leave out the second line if you like, but that would stop the questions from him cold, at least. you're not necessarily obliged, but it might cut speculation off at the pass, as it were, and save you from him asking questions later.

i'm sorry for your loss.
posted by koroshiya at 12:20 PM on December 27, 2012

I think you ought to say something by email: "Just wanted to give you a heads up that I won't be needing to take the maternity leave that I was planning on. This is a pretty painful time for me as I process my loss to forgive me for not bringing this up in person. Thanks for all your help thus far, I really enjoy my job here and am so happy to be here."

I'm so sorry.
posted by amanda at 12:21 PM on December 27, 2012 [56 favorites]

Oh, man, anonymous, I'm really sorry for your loss. Miscarriages are really, really hard. I do hope you're being kind to yourself as much as you can.

I told my boss about my miscarriage, but it was because I missed several days of work. I've been at my job a few years but had only been in my department for about four months, so it was an awkward conversation (what with me crying and all, especially).

I would let the hiring manager know, just as a professional courtesy to ensure he's not trying to guess at what your plans are. Email is totally fine. I like roomthreeseventeen's suggested wording if you're not trying to discuss it much, and Serene Empress Dork's even better, as it is very clear that it's not something you wish to chat about.
posted by SeedStitch at 12:22 PM on December 27, 2012

So sorry for you. I think it's best to mention it, for the personnel reasons that roomthreeseventeen mentioned, but email in relatively non-specific terms will suffice. "Sadly, I won't be needing to make the leave arrangements we discussed when I was hired; thanks for your discretion on this."
posted by holgate at 12:22 PM on December 27, 2012 [7 favorites]

Send them a brief email to let him know what's up. It is a courtesy to him so he can know not only to not expect your leave request, but also that he wouldn't say something to you about the pregnancy that might inadvertently make you upset.

"Dear Hiring Manager,

When I was hired, I mentioned that I was pregnant. Sadly, this is no longer the case. While this is a painful time, I am handling it with the support of my family.

Thank you for your care and discretion. I do appreciate it.


posted by inturnaround at 12:24 PM on December 27, 2012 [13 favorites]

My condolences. You're not obligated to tell him anything, but you will both be more comfortable if you send him a brief email early one morning or in the evening saying something like "Subject: Sad News Contents: Dear [boss], Since I shared the news of my pregnancy with you I wanted to let you know that I've lost the baby. I'm not comfortable talking about this in person and I appreciate your understanding. Thank you for your support. [name]" And that's it, it should not come up again, though he might want to offer his sympathy in person. You could make that part of the email stronger if you really do not want to deal with that: "please understand that I do not want to talk about this in person". And then he'll stop wondering about what's going and you can let this part of the sadness go. Best of luck.
posted by girlhacker at 12:25 PM on December 27, 2012

I know having a face to face is much harder than an email, but if you truly want to maintain your privacy, using email is not the best way to do that. Emails get forwarded, read over a shoulder, whatever. I would stop by the person's office, tell them you only have a minute as you are on the way to a meeting/lunch/an appointment, but you would like to let them know that you will not be needing the maternity leave you had mentioned in your hiring process. If asked, just say it is a painful time, but you are supported by family and friends. Apologize for not being comfortable talking about it, ask them to keep it private and by the way I must get to that appointment.

Essentially do what you would do in an email, but face to face.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:37 PM on December 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

I think inturnaround has the script part down, and JohnnyGunn has the approach.

Comfort and blessings to you.
posted by batmonkey at 12:52 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd go with something like "I'm sorry to say that I will no longer need the maternity leave we discussed when I was originally hired. Thanks so much for your understanding."

I think that gets the message across without explicitly going in to something you don't necessarily want to share or discuss.

My condolences and best wishes.
posted by cnc at 12:59 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Probably a good idea to send an email for your own sanity. You can set the yardstick in terms of how much to reveal. I think saying circumstances changed or sadly, i will not be needing maternity leave after all is sufficient. Anyone with a brain and a heart will know what you mean, so no need to get too confessional. Ending on a note thanking them for discretion is also good and conveys what happened without getting into the details.

I'm so sorry for your loss.
posted by amycup at 1:03 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

I agree with everyone above that it's better to email the hiring manager, so that he's not wondering what your plans are and doesn't feel like he needs to come ask you in person whether you've told your supervisor/team.

Most of the scripts above have this, but I think it's worth pointing out that the essential elements of the email you send should be:

1. Explicit statement of relevant fact - you are no longer pregnant and so you will not need the maternity leave you spoke about when hired

2. Why you are telling him - you wanted to let him know in case he was planning on finding staff to cover you while you were out, or because you didn't want him to have a question about whether you'd spoken with your supervisor

3. What you want from him - it would be really good to let him know how you would like him to interact with you (e.g., I had not told anyone else at work and I appreciate your discretion, it's a painful time and I prefer not to talk about it at work)

Making sure you hit those three points but not going beyond them will keep the tone professional despite its very personal nature, and ensure he doesn't think you're sharing just to share or because you want to talk about it in person or whatever else might cross his mind.

I'm so sorry, this must be a very painful situation.
posted by iminurmefi at 1:06 PM on December 27, 2012 [8 favorites]

I would definitely put the word "unfortunately" or "sadly" or something similar in your notice to tip them off that this is a sensitive subject for you, rather than being so very stoic that you only say "I will no longer be needing maternity leave." I'm not saying to turn on the waterworks or anything, but I think it would be odd for the manager to get an entirely emotionless email about such a thing.
posted by needs more cowbell at 1:09 PM on December 27, 2012

Following up in regards to email verses in person, I realize email isn't as secure, but my guess is it's probably more uncomfortable to discuss it in person with a (relative) stranger than it would be if a few HR people knew. I think the likelihood that something like this would be leaked or gossiped about in a way that would ultimately get back to the OP is low. The element of finding out inappropriately would deter most people from making unwanted approaches to the OP. Plus, we don't know how well the hiring manager will handle being told this information in person and people presented with a person's grief often respond very badly and cause undue distress to the suffering party.
posted by amycup at 1:12 PM on December 27, 2012

Do you think I can assume he'll just get the picture on his own

The answer to this question is always no, regardless of the subject matter.

And as the husband of someone who's more than once gone through what you're going through, I'm sorry for you... please take care of yourself, and don't be concerned about taking some time away from work if you even think that you might need it or enjoy it.
posted by toxic at 1:14 PM on December 27, 2012

I believe you have to let him know what happened. If you say nothing, or express no emotion, he may assume that you voluntarily terminated the pregnancy. That is something that he may judge you for or gossip about, depending on his politics and personality. The fact that he shot you a look when you had a drink at the holiday party makes me think you should bring this up as soon as practicable.
posted by payoto at 1:51 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't beat around the bush about saying the word "miscarriage," or he might think you had an abortion. I have no problem with that, but you never know.
posted by yarly at 2:30 PM on December 27, 2012 [11 favorites]

As someone who has been through the experience, I second yarly's comment.
posted by infini at 3:57 PM on December 27, 2012

I would definitely use the word miscarriage/miscarry but other than that I think the above advice is all solid. Email is fine.
posted by radioamy at 9:07 PM on December 27, 2012

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