Saturday, November 22, 2014

Freeze Your Eggs, Free Your Career. Bullshit or Brilliant?

Let's just dive right in, shall we?
This fury within me all began when I was about 6 months pregnant, walking thru the lobby at work.
I glance over and see this...
It could've been the hormones, but I just about lost it.
Is this really what we've come to as a society?!
I threw the magazine in the trash and stuffed the anger to the back of my mind, and went on to have my sweet baby girl a few short months later. 

Until last week.

I'm sitting at home playing with my girl when I hear a reporter come on TV, covering a story about Apple & Facebook.  According to Business Insider, come January they will begin paying their female employees up to $20,000 to help cover the cost of freezing their eggs.
Call me radical, but if you genuinely feel that advancing your career is that much more important than becoming a mother, maybe you're not meant to be one.
I have always been extremely career driven.  I work hard, I ask questions, I want to learn, I want to promote, I want to take on more responsibility, I want to make a difference. 
Why do we doubt that we can do both, and do them well?
Is it because some women have tried & failed?
Is it because society is trying to tell us otherwise?
I'm one of the biggest Sheryl Sandburg fans out there, who's ironically one of the top executives for Facebook.  I've read her book, highlighted the hell out of it and live by several of her mantras.  

She believes in empowering women to lean into their career, while building your family at the same time. She believes in "changing the conversation from what women can't do to what we can do." 
One story she speaks of in her book is one that really resonated with me a year ago.  They were recruiting Priti Choksi to join Facebook's business development team.  Upon receiving the job offer, she wanted to meet to discuss further questions she had about the position.  Sheryl, being the forthright woman she is, straight up asked Priti as she was leaving if she wanted to discuss the possibility of her not taking the job because she may want to have a child soon.  Priti immediately sat back down and they had the conversation.  "I (Sheryl) explained that although it was counterintuitive, right before having a child can actually be a great time to take a new job.  If she found her new role challenging and rewarding, she'd be more excited to return to it after giving birth." She ended up accepting Facebook's offer.  "By the time she started at Facebook, she was already expecting.  Eight months later, she had her baby, took four months off and came back to a job she loved. She later told me (Sheryl) that if I had not raised the topic, she would have turned us down."

As a society, we have to improve on empowering women, women who truly want to be mothers,
that it's ok to love being a mom and also love your career at the same time.
As far as I'm concerned, what Apple & Facebook are doing is screwing up
all the progress we've made.
Marketing your company to women by offering to freeze their freakin' eggs  is
It's telling women that we can't do it all. 
And we can.
If I can wipe my daughters booger off her face, rub it on my black pencil skirt & run out the door to a successful day at the office.
You can too.


SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

Great post lady.

Unknown said...

Ok - short: Great post.
Long response:
Let me start by saying that perhaps these companies should consider investing in these women's decisions - offer the $20,000 towards the expenses of having/raising the child. Nannies are expensive but if you want the woman to be able to devote fully to work - hiring a reliable, competent nanny would certainly help. Along with taking care of those medical bills, those certainly cause some stress on new moms!
Now, as a woman who has a 6-year old daughter, 5-year old stepdaughter and 2 month old son, life is busy. I have chosen to do it how and when I want. I'm no less successful for starting it now than if I "froze my eggs." And why is this stigma only on women, my husband works just as hard as I do and has the same roles - professional, parent and spouse.
Neither of us got to take 12 weeks off from work. So our son started daycare earlier than several people we spoke with thought he should have (many stay at home mothers were astonished and couldn't believe I was leaving my baby who was "just too little"). Then the professionals thought it was great that I was taking a full 6 weeks off. Well realistically, I worked nearly every day I was off for maternity leave. My son is healthy and happy. My girls are healthy and happy. My career is not suffering and my husband and I are finding that we make a better team than even we anticipated. We don't "do it all"...we just do our lives. Perhaps society can stop judging parents career decisions, whether stay-at-home parents or parents with jobs.