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One of the stars of the award winning Law & Order series announced she and her husband are expecting their first child.  Alane De La Garza is married to Michael Roberts and they both are eagerly anticipating their first child in October.  Naturally, fans of both De La Garza and the Law & Order franchise were hoping her pregnancy would be written into the storylines that are “ripped from the headlines”.  No one’s disappointed – her pregnancy won’t be hidden on the show.   A.  Harrison Barnes, career coach and founder of Hound.com says often, an actress’s pregnancy doesn’t necessarily spill over to a television character she might be playing.  In fact, more times than not, clever camera angles and other props conceal an actress’s pregnancy.

For those of us who aren’t in Hollywood might find ourselves torn over when the share the happy news with our employers and co-workers.  What’s the proper etiquette on when you should reveal and what happens if your happy news isn’t necessarily considered good news for your employer?  The Hound.com founder says it’s difficult to provide an across the board timeline since one’s career, the career field itself and the employer play a big role in how expectant mothers break the news.  The one universal rule, however, is that a woman shouldn’t allow nature to break the news.  If she’s visibly showing and nearing the end of her pregnancy,  it defeats the purpose.  Here are a few more tips from A. Harrison Barnes:

* If you’re planning to become pregnant, you’re afforded an option of revealing your plans or waiting until you become pregnant.  Many career coaches will suggest employees keep their bosses in the loop even before the pregnancy, but there are just as many who say it’s a need to know and there’s  nothing really to know during the planning stages.
* Even if you opt to wait until after your first trimester, you definitely don’t want to wait until your third trimester.  You simply can’t know when your physician will place you on maternity leave or when you run into other difficulties.  This will likely result in an unfair burden being placed on others in your department and possibly even resentment.
* Allowing the courtesy of an early reveal allows your employer to find a temporary replacement and will likely allow you a lot of time to properly train this replacement to step in once you’re out on leave.
* Once you have revealed your secret, A. Harrison Barnes reminds you to keep in mind you’ll likely be expected to provide updates.  While it may feel intrusive, understand that business moves forward, even as you’re enjoying your bundle of joy.

Most new parents will agree that returning to work after having a baby is the hardest part.  It may be that you only wish to return to work on a part time basis.  If that’s the case, a conversation with your manager should be one of the first things you do.  It may be that an arrangement can be worked out that will allow you to telecommute or to share your full time position with another who is OK with part time hours.

And finally, don’t forget to enjoy the ride.  Bringing a new baby into your family will surely be one of the happiest events of your life.

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