I am in my first year in a t-t position (although I had a two year limited term contract in the same position before convincing them to move me into a tenure-stream position). My husband (who is also t-t faculty in the same dept as me) and I are pregnant with our first child and are now at the “we can tell people” stage (13 weeks). We are not sure who to tell (or how) at work about our exciting (for us!) news. We will tell our Dean as soon as we can (we are non-departmentalized, so he’s our “immediate” report) – but are not sure how to go about telling our chair, colleagues, students, etc. We are collegial with most of our colleagues but not friends with them outside of work.
We talked about announcing it at our group meeting (not the whole faculty, but the subset that we work closest with), telling individuals and just letting word spread, not telling anyone and waiting until they figure it out… but haven’t decided which is best. Then there is the issue of telling our grad students (and the rest of the students in our area but not in our lab groups). We are both generally well-liked by the students, so we anticipate that they will all be happy for us… but it is gossip that will spread very quickly, so we have to be careful that the right people know first (e.g., the Dean) so that they don’t find out through the rumor mill.
We are both relatively private people – we keep work and private lives separate and don’t socialize with our colleagues outside of work functions (we are younger than most of them so we don’t really have much in common other than work-related things). We may be underestimating their reactions, but we are also cautious about how this will impact both of us (particularly me) – my chair is quite sexist and I’ve had to fight him on a number of things (although our Dean is a strong gay man and doesn’t put up with sexist nonsense from anyone, which is great!).
Only you can make these decisions (and perhaps you have already!) I’m probably not the best person to ask– I told the people who mattered (my chair who is doing class scheduling and one of my friends who gave excuses when I had the miscarriage scare) and then took perverse pleasure in noticing when other people at work found out via the grapevine. (I had a post about that in the drafts for a while but then had the baby before finishing it.) It’s funny watching people gradually notice one’s growing belly. You can tell they know when they start asking, “And how are you doing?” rather than the standard, “How’re you?” There’s also a lot more door opening. I found it greatly amusing with both pregnancies.
Of course, one of the dept secretaries just flat out asked me pretty early on this time around, and I always answered honestly if anyone asked. And I did go to great lengths to hide it from a more sexist colleague in another department– his department didn’t know until someone’s wife saw me heavily pregnant at the grocery store when I wasn’t wearing something bulky. Hopefully I’ve broken his stereotypes about pregnancy, babies, and women’s work ability.
And when one of my male colleagues announced his wife’s pregnancy (their child is about 2 months younger than our youngest), I mentioned to him, “me too”, but didn’t announce it to all and sundry. Because I prefer to be sneaky like that.
My students cornered me one day before class and asked why I wasn’t signed up to teach anything the next semester.
So, if this advice is still useful, tell your dean as soon as you figure out what you want. (Is there maternity leave? Teaching load reductions? What do other departments do if there isn’t an institutionalized policy? I definitely recommend the teaching load reduction if you can get it because people will assume you got one even if you didn’t.) As for the rest of the department, it’s up to you.
Any more advice for Sunflower? (If applicable) How/when did you tell your colleagues other than your boss? What have your colleagues done, and how did that work out?