Let's start with this image above, because I love it.
I pictured this swinging bridge in my mind the whole time I was researching and writing The Fifth Trimester because it's the perfect metaphor for the return to work after baby: scary as hell, unsteady, and yet, you just know that the minute your feet plant down on the other side, you are going to be so damn proud.
You kept going.
You didn't get stuck.
And it was worth it.
Over the past couple of years, I've relived the agony and the triumph of my own imperfect returns to work after the births of my two sons. I'll just put it out there: I was clueless and stumbled through, and yet, as I interviewed hundreds of other new moms, I understood for the first time the validity of that struggle. Yes, absolutely, if you want to go back to work and lean right in, and climb that ladder and change family policies in your workplace, I can tell you how. But for the other huge percentage of new moms, like myself, who could hardly recognize their bodies, let alone their sense of ambition, know this: Just being transparent about the challenges of new working parenthood counts as progress. That is your gift to your workplace. You will get your job done and you will do it as a mother and prove: Mothers can do this.
Here are several interviews and pieces I've written to shout that message loud and clear to anyone (maybe you?) who needs to hear it.
There's lots more where these came from on my Press page...
Here's where I embarrass myself
I've also had the (nerve-inducing) honor of doing a bunch of TV segments and podcasts. Those have been a whole other kind of swinging bridge for me after spending two years sitting inside of a library in yoga pants. Before launching this book in April, 2017, I looked into the mirror in much the same way I had post-baby before heading back to work and realized: Transition is always hard, and always worthwhile...and sometimes you just need to buy a goddamn new dress. I share these segments below not to show you the value of finally giving in and dying your gray hairs for the first time, but because I'm yours in solidarity, friends. If I'm going to tell you to be brave and transparent and honest, I need to practice what I preach. So here's my fancy media tour (and my utterly transparent backstory about each little victory along the way).
(backstory: This was filmed at my apartment the same day as my book party, on only a few hours' notice...and while my entire family and I had the stomach flu. I hadn't eaten in 48 hours. Hooray blush!)
(backstory: I went to Dallas, Texas on book tour, and it was the first time I'd ever left my children for work for more than one day.)
(backstory: The host of this show, Liz, is someone I'd had a friend crush on for years but never been brave enough to approach previously.)
(backstory: This one's the doozy. When the producer of this radio show—which I'd been trying to book for months—called me to go live on the air, I was in the middle of writing a piece about how you always need backup as a mom. Well, paging Alanis, because you know what happened next: IRONY. I immediately got a phone call from my son's preschool saying no one had come to pick him up (turns out our sitter was on a stalled subway under the East River!). The amazing hosts and producers pivoted and put me later in the program. I raced to pick up my boy, turned on the TV for him, and landed right back in my desk chair JUST as they called back and said "you're on the air.")