Blogher: I Was the “Black Working Mom” Example

When it came time to tell my manager about my pregnancy, I worried. I knew my explanations that I wasn’t pregnant during interviews or I had found out after accepting their offer wouldn’t matter. She’d just think of me as a risk.

I knew it meant I would have to work harder in a “man’s profession.” I just didn’t understand how my status as a new mother would affect their expectations of me as a professional. I also didn’t realize how my race would play into other people’s perceptions of me on the job..

My department had been looking for an industrial engineer for some time. In me, they found a combination of technical expertise and talent with group work.

When they learned I’d be out for a while on maternity leave, they were understandably disappointed.They asked daily questions like, “How long do you think you’ll be out?” and “You don’t have a lot of time accrued, do you?”

The questions became so frequent that I made up canned responses. I’d say, “Oh, not long at all,” or “I’m not sure yet,” just to avoid these incredibly personal conversations.

As folks scrambled to cover me in my absence, I found my work being hijacked and disregarded as others deemed this a great opportunity to increase their status.

Read the full article at Blogher.