In mid June last year I connected live via Google Hangouts (if they are good enough for President Obama..) with a number of the worlds top experts in pregnancy, maternity coaching, career management, new style goal setting and emotional evolution; turning many of the common perceptions and beliefs about pregnancy, motherhood and the workplace on its head.
Experts spoke alongside mothers and mothers-to-be, sharing everything they’d learnt about The Pregnancy Advantage for Business and the experiences of working with successful, talented women who become an even greater asset after they have given birth.
In my early 20’s I enjoyed a successful and exciting career but it was at some cost to my relationships. My gran’s accepted “You can’t have it all” saddened and frustrated me. I loved feeling creative and of value to others, having a strong sense of self worth and self-confidence, but I also yearned for a family. I couldn’t understand how, if I became a mother, I would have to choose one way or another.
I had watched my own mother try to achieve a balance and knew sacrifices were made. I didn’t want to feel limited at a time I was literally exploding with energy and enthusiasm but I did make a choice. I chose my career. I chose what I perceived to be freedom and delayed motherhood.
Over the years I have become inspired to believe that embracing your pregnancy and creating a family whilst also enjoying a successful career you love, is possible – if there is collective support.
I also believe it is not just possible but fundamental to our overall happiness and the wellbeing of our society. Supporting women to embrace their complete skill set and talents to create a better balance within the workplace, home and society is surely good for us all?
Many men I know want more time with their families. They fear the loss of the connections and qualities that first attracted them to their partner which can develop when their life experiences become so separated; and enjoy the balance and different perspectives mixed genders provide.
When we blossom and grow we give off our most positive energy. We are fun to be around, we are literally magnetic and attract and create feelings of abundance and limitless possibility. This is what most parents focus on encouraging in their children yet many mothers are not continuing to develop these qualities in themselves.
There are now more examples than ever of women having families and a successful career. Sheryl Sandberg and Natalie Massenet have both used their position in the public eye to draw attention to what can be possible but there are also many other women I have met who sit quietly under the radar but who are equally inspired to express themselves and value their talents as both a mother and money maker.
Never more so has the subject of boardroom gender diversity been such a hot topic and the statistics are becoming more encouraging but why when we have so many plans and agendas in place are so many women still feeling that they have to make a choice of one life or another unless they are open to a life of imbalance and winging it?
Certainly there are the practicalities of needing some time away from the office to fully devote yourself to your newborn or developing child, which still requires more time and consideration. I am not an advocate of a mothers return to work within a moment of giving birth or working flat out until their due date – in fact, quite the contrary.
Pregnancy and the transition to motherhood is valued and recognised as an amazing time for transformation and growth.
Certainly there are advantages to “winging it” as eloquently expressed by Dominnique Karetsos, mumpreneur and radio personality at a recent Baby London Connect evening where #mumsmeanbusiness but it doesn’t work for all and can leave you feeling in a perpetual state of all round under achievement.
What I am an advocate of is creating a greater acceptance and understanding that productivity during your pregnancy, transition to motherhood and return to the workplace or business will change – but this is not seen as a flaw or weakness to over compensate for. Instead it is valued and recognised as an amazing time for transformation and growth.
A time of new insights where fresh ideas are explored and nurtured.
I believe if we open us to this thinking we will create better birth experiences, smoother transitions and better recoveries than the ones I am witnessing now. Text-book births, taking time out during pregnancy and feeling relaxed and supported seem to be the exception rather than the norm and I cannot see how this is a helpful or healthy start for our future generations.
Through over 12 years of working with motivated, committed, career conscious women who also desire to be an inspirational mother and creator of a happy, nurtured family, I have seen great skills lost from our workplace and economy. I don’t believe we can afford to sustain these losses – within ourselves, our families and friends, our companies and business partners and our global and local communities.
This is why I have created Bumps and the Boardroom and from the amazing line up of speakers ready to add their voice and join the conversation I know this is the view of many others too. I honestly can’t wait!