I am a pregnant entrepreneur, and it has been a bit more complicated than I thought.
On top of my growing belly and change of appetite, pregnancy certainly gave me lots of challenges in terms of people relationship, money, and life overall.
Uninterested people don’t matter most times. I didn’t think of much about pregnancy when I was younger. However, I feel a bit disappointed now when I meet fellow entrepreneurs who are less educated or empathetic than others.
For example, when I meet other women entrepreneurs, some tells me “Are you still working? OMG”, “I wanted to invite you for a speech about your startup, but I guess I can’t do it knowing your condition”, “You should slow down and take it easy”, etc etc.
Firstly, pregnancy is usually not a serious health problem (although it depends on the person). I have been very lucky to feel healthy and energetic throughout the process. I usually reply that I will work until the baby decides to come out, and take just a few month of maternity break. And the reactions have been like “Then, who takes care of your baby?”, “When my sister got a baby, she couldn’t do anything for like 2 years”, or “Without your parents helping you full time, forget about it”….
In my opinion, life is always challenging, and we find a way to deal with it. A lot of people are busy, but still work hard to make progress on their ideas and projects.
I have seen so many PhD students or full-time employed people working on their business ideas. And, certainly not many people question, or judge that they can’t 100% dedicate themselves to their initiatives for 24/7. Then, why being pregnant or raising a child has to be a big barrier, or turning off point?
Of course it’s hard to change the way others think, but here are some tips for those who’d like to have smoother conversations with moms and moms-to-be.
- Don’t judge: A lot of hard working pregnant women feel guilty because others would say you “should” take it easy for the baby. Working hard and being active shouldn’t be judged. Especially, those who own their business are often not eligible for Employment Insurance benefits from Canadian government. And raising a kid costs money – maybe these women are really trying to survive.
- Don’t force: If the mom does not want to deal with something like breastfeeding, don’t say that’s the best thing for the baby. It is up to them, and moms are already doing their best. Unless you are going to contribute for their problem solving, there’s no point giving them extra stress or worry.
- Don’t teach: Doctors’ guidelines for pregnancy change all the times, and a lot of recommendations are case by case. Unless moms ask for advice, don’t assume that you have something to teach because your sister went through something unique or your mom told you about the wisdom from 5000 years ago.
If you really want to help, genuinely ask them what they want. Offer them strawberries. Give up your subways seat for them. In Toronto, I rarely see people offering me a TTC seat even with my 8.5 month pregnant belly.
Last thing, if the government wants to help women entrepreneurs or business owners, coming up with a better child care support solution would certainly help. In the end, this country need more people to grow economy. So, why not investing in hard working moms and their babies? Bigger return is likely to come.
P.S. Some wise people say my perspective will change once I have my baby. I will certainly write follow-up articles to keep track of my thoughts. In the meanwhile, please share your experience and tips with Pinkfolio community.