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.