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Monday, January 17, 2005

Belly as burden?

In recent blogs, I have considered the challenges that face pregnant women as they interview for jobs. But when you are the boss, the challenges could affect your bottom line.

Kristen, who owns a public relations firm near Boston, started telling clients and potential clients the news once she could no longer keep it a secret under baggy shirts. But when the time came, this self-assured businesswoman with more than 10 years of PR experience fumbled. "I could barely get the words out. I was embarrassed, scared to tell them," Kristen said. "It was very awkward."

Kristen's business partner will be handling their clients while she is out on an eight-to-12 week maternity leave. For the most part, clients have been supportive. But Kristen has been concerned that potential clients will see her belly and not her business. So in an attempt to offset any uneasiness, Kristen's business partner recently started joining her in meetings with new business prospects. She hopes that seeing this other capable person will help clients feel that her temporarily leave is a non-issue.

Her biggest fear: that new business will be more and more difficult to sign as her belly grows. Stay tuned.

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