Navigating a prenatal diagnosis and pregnancy continuation in a work environment can be challenging. However, by informing your employer and colleagues and advocating for yourself at work, you can protect your mental well-being.
To help you establish boundaries, advocate for your needs, set expectations, and explain how your work family can support you best, we’ve prepared a sample email. Feel free to use it as a template or inspiration for composing your own message.
As some of you may already know, my [husband/wife] and I are expecting a baby this [insert month, season, or other time period, if you want]. We recently received the devastating news that our baby has a [life-limiting/terminal diagnosis] called [insert diagnosis, if you want]. Despite this diagnosis, we have chosen to continue the pregnancy and make memories with our baby during the time we will have with [him/her]. Throughout the upcoming months, my [husband/wife] and I will be navigating many difficult decisions and experiences, and as a result, you may notice that I am out of the office more, experiencing a range of emotions, or taking on less responsibilities.
Your support and understanding during this difficult time are so appreciated. You may be wondering what to say to me or how to support my [husband/wife] and I in the months ahead. I wanted to provide you with some helpful insight and resources.
Please know that I [do/do not] want to talk about the diagnosis and experience. I understand that you may have questions. I may not always have the answers to your questions or I may not feel emotionally capable of talking about it, but I will when I can. You do not have to avoid me or avoid bringing it up. You can talk to me about my baby. We have chosen to name our [son/daughter] [insert name], and I love it when people use [his/her] name.
This process is emotionally challenging, but we are making the most of the time we have with our baby. So, much of this process is unpredictable, which is why your understanding and support are so important and meaningful to us.
In the upcoming months, what would really help is [insert your needs, preferences, and boundaries].
• treat me like normal
• ask how we are doing
• address my baby by name
• offer your condolences
• hugs are okay, but please do not touch my belly]
I also wanted to include some helpful resources from an organization dedicated to helping families like mine navigate this process. Carrying To Term (carryingtoterm.org) provides resources for the friends, relatives, and coworkers walking alongside parents like us. Here are some resources that you may find helpful in the coming months:
For Friends and Relatives: Communicating With Parents
Giving Gifts and Keepsakes to Parents
Thank you for all of your support and understanding,