(Of course, there are other options. You could maintain the deception and remain stressed. You could come clean, which will, yes, make you look nuts — although I do understand why you did this, and I blame the virus’s timing more than your planning for your predicament. You could tell him you adopted a baby between calls; that lie would necessitate many more.)

In all likelihood, he will be too embarrassed to reveal he was ignorant of your life-changing event. People hate admitting they don’t know something — especially something they should know. If you give the impression this is all old news, he can convince himself he wasn’t paying attention the first time you mentioned your child, or forgot — and got away with it.

If he insists he had no idea, you can either find that hilarious (Is he serious — no idea?!) or upsetting (Is he serious — no idea?!). You decide how to play it.

But he’ll probably go along with it. What’s the alternative? That you kept a pregnancy, birth, and, now, a newborn totally secret for months?

That would be crazy.

The following is a question from Before. We have included it here to remind readers what it was like to work in an office.

I sit outside our manager’s door. I hear all kinds of stuff that I keep strictly to myself. When the door is closed, I can hear voices but not make out what’s said. Even if I could, listening to private conversations is beneath me. So why did my immediate supervisor plug in a white noise machine outside our manager’s office before she went in and shut the door in order to conference with him? What am I supposed to make of that?

— Jane

Sounds like your supervisor suspected that you “hear all kinds of stuff” from your position outside your manager’s office door, and does not feel that assuming the steadfast morality of everyone in the immediate vicinity is an effective privacy protocol.

Not everything someone does is done at you specifically. Your neighbors lock their cars even though you have never broken into their cars (…that they are aware of…). Elevators display signs warning that their maximum capacity is 2,500 pounds, even though you would never dream of loading up an elevator with 2,600 pounds of melons and sending them to a higher floor.

It was an amateur move to switch on a white noise machine before entering a private office for an apparently sensitive conversation. Your note is a testament to the fact that such actions foment paranoia and curiosity. Better just to leave the white noise machine on all the time. (While reporting a story from Cinnabon headquarters, I learned it’s common for open-plan offices to have faint noise pumped in all day long, to prevent conversations from carrying across cavernous work spaces.)

I advise you to make nothing out of this. However, now that you know some highly interesting things are being said in that office, I hope you’ll put your powerful seat to use by listening extra hard.

Caity Weaver is a writer for The New York Times Styles section and The Times Magazine. Tell her about your secret work babies at [email protected]

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