Being laid off while pregnant is probably one of the scariest moments in parenting. It is sad, frustrating, and downright craptastic. Here are things you can do to ease the hardship of being laid off while pregnant.
There are a lot of questions revolving around what a working mom should do when she is laid off. I personally understand those questions first hand. There will be emotions swirling around you the minute you receive the news and everything you just prepared for with this new baby will suddenly be turned upside down.
When I was pregnant with our first child, I was laid off suddenly. I was four months pregnant. Trying to find another job while expecting was nearly impossible. Plus, at the time, health insurance still considered me a pre-existing condition. I was the insurance policyholder in our family which meant the short-term disability, maternity leave, and insurance I had all planned for was gone.
Is it legal to layoff a pregnant employee?
It sounds completely unethical but yes, it is completely legal to layoff a pregnant employee. While there is a Pregnancy Discrimination Act where someone cannot be fired simply for being pregnant there can be several other reasons for letting a pregnant employee go. Budget cuts, performance, etc. are all right up there. In my case, the recession had taken over and budget cuts involved my position.
Does pregnancy affect unemployment benefits?
No, you should still qualify for unemployment benefits providing all other qualifications are met. Being a pregnancy or a new mother should not hinder you from gaining unemployment when laid off while expecting.
Laid off while pregnant – now what?
- Don’t let emotions completely take over: Please, give yourself a break to release every bit of emotion that you feel right now. You have every right to be angry, sad, upset, fearful, etc. I laid for days sobbing on my bathroom floor. Holding in emotions will just let them completely take over you and make you ill. Nothing you need while pregnant.
- Immediately apply for unemployment benefits: Research your local unemployment benefits and apply for them right away. The sooner, the better to help relieve any financial stress.
- Don’t be afraid to interview with a belly: Do not let walking into an interview with a large pregnant belly intimidate you or anyone else around you. You are being interviewed, not your baby. Have a plan ready for how you intend to return to work after baby and ensure the possible new employer that you are here for the long haul.
- Maternity leave at a new job could be tricky: Be fully aware that if you are able to begin a new job after being laid off while pregnant, maternity leave might not be fully available. You might need to work out a plan with your new employer or take unpaid maternity leave. It stinks but it is good to not be blindsided.
- Health insurance research is important: Another thing you immediately want to do is research your health insurance options. Talk to your doctor about possible private plans their office might provide, looking into federal insurance, state insurance, COBRA, etc. This is probably the most stressful part of being laid off while pregnant. Health insurance, such as COBRA, can be ridiculously expensive. Some hospitals offer financial aid in these circumstances and are something you should have no shame in looking into. Health insurance and being laid off while expecting is very hard, I won’t lie. However, take a deep breathe and know that you are going to get through this.
- Second-hand is okay: When money gets tight, there is nothing wrong with second-hand items for baby. At least things outside of car seats and other safety items. Second-hand clothing and non-recalled furniture are perfectly okay for baby. I know we all dream of the stylish nursery but never feel the second rate if this path is before you. So many people seem to step up during these times too. Never feel ashamed to take help.
- Still, take time for you and baby: Don’t forget about your pregnancy during this time. I know there are a lot of clouds overshadowing right now try not to let them. This is still a very exciting time with a new baby on the way. I promise, they will feel your love in every situation.
- Take time for you and your spouse: These are trying times and you and your spouse need one another more than ever right now. Don’t let financial stress get to you. Enjoy date nights at home. Make dinner together, watch a movie together in bed, etc. Even if money is tight, spend time together.
- Don’t let guilt get to you: Guilt will come on strong right now. You feel ashamed, looked at like a loser, feel inadequate, etc. All of those feelings are normal but they are not true! Do not let people judge you for your current situation and do not judge yourself. Being laid off while pregnant during budget cuts and hardships is not your fault. You did everything right.
I think the hardest thing I went through while being laid off while pregnant was feeling like I had done something wrong. I had worked my entire life as a successful businesswoman. I was the breadwinner, I kept things together. My husband and I prepared for this baby. We made plans, signed up for insurance policies, short-term disability. I…we…did it all right!
We did. We did it all right. Life just got in the way. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. Cliche as it sounds, I couldn’t see then how much this trail would bring me through to today.
I now have my own business, I am able to be home with the kids, dreams of homeschooling our kids have come true, and my husband found an even better job that offers fabulous health insurance that we utilized during the birth of our second child.
There were serious hardships that consumed me. I dare even say my first born and I struggled to bond for a bit because of the stress. She is now seven and I cannot imagine life without her. Our bond is stronger and our family has come through fire together.
Being laid off while pregnant sucks. Period. However, I promise you that you will come through this. Take help, cling to loved ones, and know how incredible of a mother you are. You are bringing life into this world and that is by far one of the most important jobs of all.
More Mom Life tips:
- How To Make a Tooth Fairy Glass
- My Child Found Their Santa Present; Now What?
- How to Wash Cloth Diapers Print Out