A couple of months ago, I called Business Chicks’ Founder Emma Isaacs to tell her some news.
“Em,” I said. “I’m pregnant.”
I didn’t even let poor Emma respond before I kept talking.
“But don’t worry!” I said. “I won’t drop the ball at all!”
Here I was telling Emma (the woman with four children under the age of seven!) not to worry and that I would not be missing any work; that it’d be business as usual.
Looking back now on that conversation, I realise that what I was saying had nothing to do with Emma’s expectations of me, but only my own expectations of myself.
Sound familiar? Whether it’s pregnancy or any other situation that makes us feel vulnerable, we’ve all been there. Our default position is often to suck it up and to just get on with the job, because that’s what we think we should do. But today the question I’m asking is: who are we really helping when we do that?
Every day in my job, I’m constantly blown away by the incredible strength and resilience of women. Whether it’s overcoming personal obstacles, career setbacks or sexism in the workplace, what women do every single day consistently leaves me in a state of awe.
“I realise that what I was saying had nothing to do with Emma’s expectations of me, but only my own expectations of myself.”
Over the past couple of weeks, so many of you have shared with me the dread you felt trying to keep your morning sickness as discreet as possible, or told me stories of all the times you had to do everything possible not to give into the tiredness and fall asleep in the 3pm meeting.
It’s made me realise what an incredible fear culture there is around pregnancy and anything that shows our human side. If I’m being completely honest, the morning sickness has been awful! And the tiredness has been unlike anything I have ever experienced.
I would never want to be seen as complaining, as I know the road for many women is extremely difficult and sometimes not even possible. And after multiple miscarriages, I’m counting my blessings each and every day.
But I think it’s also important that, as women, we stop trying to suck stuff up and start to be open; that we trust in the contributions we make in the workplace and know that time out of the business is not indicative of our overall value.
Being human and being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness. The strongest people I know are the most vulnerable and real.
As for Emma’s reaction to my news? (Once I let her talk, that is …). She said: “Liv, we’ve got your back.”
And I want you to know that, as a community, we’ve got yours too.
CONNECT WITH LIV HERE.