I was five months along before I told the law firm of my pregnancy. I had never been a "traditional" employee. Coming out of lawschool my then husband was a professional basketball player. So I only worked when we were in town. By 1989, he was about done and I was working more regularly.
My main supervising partner, a career insurance defense attorney, was a bit of a gruff fellow. We were in a deck railing collapse personal injury trial where I put on the entire case. He was there just to watch (and kick me under the table from time to time). Back then the court staff would let us work in the courtroom through the lunch hour. The partner used the time to tell me what to do and to make sure I continued preparing. I was midway through my fourth month and always hungry. That first day I was too scared to leave the courtroom since I was supposed to be working. Protein bars hadn't been invented yet. I wondered what would happen if I fainted. After that I brought a sandwich with me.
A few weeks after that trial ended (successfully for my client), I went to tell the main two partners of my pregnancy. In my mind I thought they might have started to have suspicions. There was only so much a jacket and baggy skirt could hide. And one of them was female for Pete's sake. But apparently they just assumed I had been gaining a little weight. As I told them my plight, I could see their thoughts behind their eyes. (I can still feel the tension even now). They were thinking - what are we going to do. We need a body that can work the way we need it to.
Over the next several months, this is what happened. I introduced one of my friends to them whom they hired. To make room for the new staff, they moved/banished me from my office on the main floor, to an office on the top floor next to the library (there were no other attorney offices upstairs). They did not throw me a shower. They did not offer me maternity leave. They did not talk at all about life after the baby.
I was a bit confounded because the female partner had children.(Even though she had them before she went to lawschool, still, I thought there would be some understanding). I never complained to them. I never asked them for more than they offered (which wasn't anything). Instead, I worked until the week before the baby was born 21 years ago to this day.
Not quite three months later I went to work for a plaintiff lawyer named Tom Chambers who would later became one of our state's Supreme Court justices. But that's another story.