Maternity Leave Well Wishes

Here’s you dilemma.  Your co-worker is expecting and now you’re expected to write a nice note along with your baby shower gift.  You know it’s not appropriate to write on the card, “You look like you’ve gained 70 lbs so we hope you’re really having a baby!”  so what do you write instead?  Here’s a handy-dandy list of appropriate well wishes for someone about to go on maternity leave.  These could also work for a father celebrating a new arrival or congratulations to new adoptive parents.  Use these for inspiration and “make it your own” to be sure it sounds like something you would say.

  • Blessings to you and your family during this precious time. Can’t wait to meet the sweet new addition.
  • We will miss you while you’re home with your beautiful bundle of joy.  We’ll be sure to not leave a bundle of work for you when you return!
  • God bless all of you….enjoy this sacred time! Can’t wait to see pictures of the newest family member!
  • Our very best wishes for a healthy and happy baby!
  • Good luck on your maternity leave.  Can’t wait to meet your “new boss”!
  • Wishing you well on your maternity leave. We’ll miss you!
  • Our thoughts will be with you for a happy and healthy baby.  Take your time to rest and enjoy your little one.
  • We will surely miss you while you’re home with baby.  When you come back to work, we’ll be sure not to ask you to change any diapers!

In general it’s absolutely appropriate to wish the mom-to-be a healthy delivery and baby.  If you’re wishing them well there aren’t too many things you can say that are wrong.

However there are two areas you’ll want to steer clear of…You will want to avoid joking that you think her/his time off is going to be easy.  I’ve heard some co-workers say, “I’d sure like six weeks of time away from work!”  New parents are signing up for sleepless nights, endless diaper changes and a whole lot of stress – many times at reduced or no pay!  Even if you’re not cut out to be a parent hopefully you can appreciate and respect their decision to bring a life into the world.

You will also want to avoid advice or sensitive questions about how they will give birth or parent the child.  Childbirth and parenting are very personal subjects that are usually best avoided in the workplace.  The new parent will initiate with you if they are seeking advice.  Otherwise they usually just want you to tell them their baby is going to be the cutest in the world.

Hopefully these tips will help you send off the new mom to a wonderfully rewarding maternity leave.  New parents will appreciate your well wishes and encouragement during this exciting time in their lives.

P.S.  Another great gift…. tell them about this blog (but not that you found your heartfelt sentiment here!)

4 thoughts on “Maternity Leave Well Wishes

  1. Pingback: Cards for Colleagues: What to Write
  2. Hi. Thank you for this post!
    I was actually trying to search for the opposite of this post. What is the professional etiquette of me, the one who was out on maternity leave, to show my appreciation to co-workers and managers during my time on leave? However, due to my circumstances and what I am learning about the workplace culture, I am not sure how to approach this situation?
    I started the job back in Feb. The same week I started the new job, I found out I was pregnant.
    My supervisor was very understanding but I have had a strange vibe from co-workers.
    Due to pre-term labor, during a routine visit, I was unexpectantly placed on bed rest and provided, after I advocated for myself, special work accommodations, and was allotted the opportunity to telecommute mid-July.
    I had our new son early (he was a late-term preemie, healthy but small birth weight). I took the full 12 weeks maternity leave due to his weight – he is now healthy and in the 50%, by the way! Yay.
    But, I just returned to work this week. I have had a few kind “welcome backs” and “how are you’s” but its mostly been business as usual. Also, the following have me confused on what to do:
    I tried to remain open and accessible during my maternity leave and telecommuting but I received the bare amount of communication from my managers during my maternity leave and telecommuting.
    I had to reach out to my colleagues before they would reach out to me. Between the emergency of pre-term labor, bed rest, delivery and maternity leave I only received a congratulatory email from the supervisor’s that I initially emailed to notify that I had the baby… and one co-worker. There was no baby shower, no gift, not even a card.
    Previously, I worked at another organization for six years. Within my first year at that organization, same scenario of finding out me was pregnant within the first week of starting the job. However, they had a baby shower for me there; there were cards and communication during my maternity leave, and a really welcome return. The way they treated me on a personal level actually really encouraged me to return and work with them after maternity leave.
    So, I need to know:
    1) Am I being overly sensitive? Because I had such a great experience with a family oriented culture in one organization, am I being hyper-sensitive to this experience?
    2) Do you think there is more to this? So, far I know the organization I am currently with has had retirement parties, there has been folks pitch in for a gift when someone has lost a family member, and even a going away lunch for a summer college intern. Is it me?
    3) What is the professional polite thing to do in this situation? Just thank them for my accommodations? I was out for 8 weeks of special work accommodations and 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. Thank folks who took on the extra work while I was out?
    Once again, am I missing something or being overly sensitive?
    Thanks for your advice. Feel free to put me in my place if I am making this a bigger deal in my mind than it should be.
    Also, I work within HR, should I bring this up – since they are always looking for ways to retain employees? Is there a way that I can bring it up as a suggestion versus an offense?
    Probably Over Thinking This Situation,

    • Katie,
      First off… major congratulations! Hopefully you’re settling in to mommyhood and everyone is healthy and happy. I’ll agree with you that it’s a little odd that there wasn’t much of a reaction to your pregnancy and new arrival. If everyone’s treating you well otherwise I wouldn’t sweat it. I think the best way for you to make change in our organization is to be sure that you celebrate other employees and their personal and professional milestones. Make a big deal if someone is retires, has become a grandparent and ESPECIALLY if there’s a new baby. Sometimes for those of us in HR, the rest of the organization walks on eggshells a bit until they see how we react so model what you hope to see in others.
      Best to you!!

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