7 Self-Reflection Prompts to Help You Prepare for Your Parental Leave Announcement 7 Self-Reflection Prompts to Help You Prepare for Your Parental Leave Announcement - Center for Parental Leave Leadership

7 Self-Reflection Prompts to Help You Prepare for Your Parental Leave Announcement

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Essential Takeaways:

Set the Tone with Positivity Your announcement sets the stage for a successful leave and return. Approach it with positivity and a clear plan to influence how it’s received by your workplace, colleagues, and other stakeholders.

Self-Reflect and Plan Ahead Take time to reflect on your concerns and visualize the outcome you desire. This preparation helps address unconscious worries and helps you frame your news positively.

Understand and Manage Expectations Acknowledge any presumptions you hold and distinguish between realistic concerns and those based on fear. This clarity will help you approach the situation with curiosity and openness.

Take a Collaborative Approach You and your manager are in this together – collaborate and coordinate for best results. Managers – be sure to prioritize genuine congratulations and respect your direct reports wishes on how and when to share the news. A thoughtful approach fosters a supportive and empathetic workplace culture.

Is it time to let work know you are welcoming a new child to your family? If you’re experiencing a mix of emotions–anticipation, excitement, a tinge of anxiety, confusion, and perhaps, even some dread–you’re not alone!

Pregnancy and leave discrimination is a legitimate concern, even with the passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act last year (with final regulations going into law this month on June 18th, 2024!). You might fear being overlooked for a promising opportunity or promotion due to your family plans. Or maybe you’re worried others will think you are less committed to your work? Maybe you’re an expecting dad and don’t want to make this about you? All these fears, and many more, are valid. However, it’s important to remember that you hold the reins when it comes to setting the tone with your announcement, and with just a little planning and forethought you can nail it.


“Your announcement is your first opportunity to kick start a successful leave and return. It can set the tone for your entire three-phase parental leave transition.”

Dr. Amy Beacom

Unlocking Success: The Power of Positive Parental Leave Mindsets

Our experience – over a decade and with countless parents – has proven the old adage true: What you give is what you get. When it comes to parental leave, positivity truly can shape outcomes. More often than not, when our coaching clients approach their announcement with a positive mindset and plan, the news is received well, matching their excitement and sunny outlook. We’ve seen the opposite happen, too – worry and trepidation rarely sends a reassuring message. Remember, you can’t control how others react or respond to your news, but you CAN influence them with your mindset, tone, and preparation. This holds true even in intimidating workplaces or companies with less than ideal policies and practices for working families.


Step One:

Before you make your announcement, pause for self-reflection. Visualize the outcome you want and the way you want the conversation to go. Think of ways you can positively frame your news to get the response you need. Carve out time and space to ask yourself the following questions, and write down your answers, to uncover any unconscious worries that might sabotage your announcement’s success.

Reflection Questions to Help You Prepare:

  1. What worries you the most about announcing your pregnancy, adoption, or fostering news? What excites you?
  2. How do you anticipate your manager will react? Are your expectations grounded in reality, or are they based on unfounded fear? Consider the data objectively. Invite a friend (or RETAIN Parental Leave Coach) to help you if you think you might need someone with the perspective distance provides.
  3. What response are you expecting from your team? Are these expectations realistic or fear-induced?
  4. Now, imagine your ideal response. What would it look like? Note down all the details, including any specific feelings or contributing factors. Be as specific as possible.
  5. What additional steps can you take to elicit this ideal response? Is there a specific mood you want to set for the conversation? Would a particular time or location be beneficial? Is there specific language you can use to steer the conversation to a positive response? Are there certain materials that you need to prepare ahead of time?
  6. Is there a way someone announced in the past that you admired? Or maybe you saw an announcement crash and burn and learned what you don’t want to do?
  7. Now, put it all together. When and how will you share your news to your manager and team to set everyone up for a positive outcome? What key points should you keep in mind while planning your announcement? Are there any next steps you’d like to share or propose afterward?


Step Two:

As you work through your self-reflection and assessment, identify and acknowledge any presumptions you’re holding onto. Recognizing the narratives in your head before you announce will help you look at them objectively and disconnect from them as needed, and instead doing so will help you approach the situation with curiosity and openness. By acknowledging your expectations (conscious or unconscious), you can start creating a plan while also distinguishing  between concerns that are realistic and ones that are stories you’ve merely written in your head.



If you’ve already made your announcement, it can be helpful to reflect on how it went and what you learned from that experience. What’s not helpful is beating yourself up if it didn’t go the way you had hoped. Take those lessons forward with you and move on. There are a number of ways to reposition your situation and reclaim the tone and narrative around your leave.

Manager Tip:

When your direct report shares their big news with you, your instinct might be to instantly consider how it might affect you, workflow, and the team. Instead, think of your direct report and what they are feeling and experiencing in this moment and offer your genuine and heartfelt congratulations for this exciting milestone in their life. Focusing on congratulations will stop you from sharing their news with other stakeholders too early and without making a plan collaboratively with your expecting parent. It’s crucial to follow their lead and respect their wishes. Best practice is to work together to find an approach that you both agree on when it comes to spreading the word.

Reflection Prompts:   

  • How would they prefer to inform the team?
  • Who should relay this news – you or them?
  • When is the ideal timing to disclose their news to the broader team? Consider how best to elicit the response your direct report is looking for while also supporting team cohesion, communication, productivity, and morale.

It might be tempting to plunge straight into strategizing. However, it’s essential to remember, this is a monumental life event for your direct report. Their news might also include sensitive health-related details, such as a pregnancy. It’s their prerogative to share their news themselves, or in a way they feel comfortable with, when they feel ready.

By embracing a thoughtful and respectful collaborative approach, you not only support your team member in their transition, but you also foster a culture of trust and empathy within your team and organization.

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About the Center for Parental Leave Leadership

Navigating the journey of parenthood while balancing a career has its share of beautiful moments and inevitable challenges. At the Center for Parental Leave Leadership, we’ve walked this path alongside countless families, and we understand the nuances, joys, and anxieties it brings. Rooted in 35 years of dedicated research, our RETAIN Parental Leave Coaching™ method is more than just a framework—it’s a labor of love. 


We’re here to support, guide, and empower employers, managers, and parents to turn the transition of parental leave into a shared journey of growth, empathy, and connection. Because everyone deserves to experience this profound life transition with support, clarity, and grace. Click here to learn more about what we do and set up a free informational call. Let’s dive deeper and chat about how we can help you.

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