By now, I think I've probably told the story behind weeSpring a hundred times: I was an overwhelmed new parent who'd burst into tears in a Babies R Us, and it seemed to me that there had to be an easier way to prepare for having a new child. Why were we re-inventing the wheel each time, trying to figure out how to keep our babies safe and healthy and happy? I dove into the problem, launched a start-up, and set on my way to (try to) fix the problem and simplify decision-making for parents.
But little over six months ago, soon after my daughter was born, I started thinking again about just how hard it is to have a baby. It's expensive, it's hard physically, it's hard emotionally -- and it is really hard professionally for most women.
There's a good chance that in the past year or so, you've seen the jaw-dropping statistic that the U.S. is the only developed country that doesn't mandate paid leave for new mothers. A 2005 study found that only 41% of women received paid leave -- but the real kicker is that they got an average of 3.3 weeks, and at 31% of their standard wages or salaries.
But even for the lucky ones -- the women in steady jobs, with solid prospects and fair (or even generous!) family policies -- there are endless questions and gray areas. If I'm puking my guts out in a bathroom stall every day, does that mean I should tell my boss, even if I'm only eight weeks pregnant? If I'm newly pregnant and interviewing, when and how should I disclose that? What kind of childcare arrangement will allow me to continue working 10 hours days? Will I be able to still breastfeed my baby if I spend half my day in meetings, and travel once a week? What do I do if I think I've been removed from a big account because I'm about to have a baby?
And maybe the hardest part of all of these questions is that there's no single right answer -- but there is the wisdom of women who've successful navigated these sometimes treacherous waters.
So I am very, very excited to share that I'm working a book that collects this wisdom into a single volume, covering everything from when and how to tell professional stakeholders that you're having a baby, to how to manage a caregiver (hint: it is very different from managing an office employee!). Seal Press will be publishing Here's the Plan in 2016, and I'm hard at work on writing the manuscript.
There'll be more news here soon, but in the meantime, I would love to have you contribute your story to the book or sign up for updates.