Recently, while perusing my Facebook newsfeed, I came across an interesting post, placed by my co-worker on the ValleyPBS Parents Facebook page. The post was a response to Yahoo’s newly-hired, pregnant CEO, Marissa Mayer, stating that her maternity leave will be a few weeks long, and that she plans to work throughout it. The response essentially took the stance that Mayer will likely be surprised by how physically out of sorts (not to mention emotionally) she will be following giving birth, and how her current maternity “plan” (essentially, no plan other than business as usual it seems) is likely to change once reality sets in.
Yet another response takes a similar stance, but also points out a few other points such as the “earth shattering” feeling of motherly love that can not be explained without experience as well as the ramifications of Mayer downplaying the importance of maternity leave and maternal bonding in a country that already provides for less maternity leave than any other developed nation.
This story truly both encourages me and disappoints me at the same time. What encourages me, is that Yahoo hired Mayer, regardless of her pregnancy and impending delivery. They saw her as skilled, highly-qualified, and they sought her out and didn’t seem to blink when she disclosed that she was expecting a baby boy this October. Bravo Yahoo, bravo. Though discrimination based on pregnancy is technically a big HR no-no, it still happens and the fact that Yahoo very publicly made this hire makes me happy.
On the other hand, I’m disappointed in Mayer acting as though having a child will be merely a blip in the radar that she will not allow to affect her day-to-day by causing interference in her work. Though I appreciate and recognize being the CEO of a company is a huge role, being a parent is too! And to parent well — (I’m going to go out on a limb here and boldly state an opinion…) you’ve got to treat it as a hugely important role.
Taking it a step further — maybe I’m being oversensitive here — but to act as though you can simply go back to work (having never had a child before) dismisses the pain of recovery millions of women have endured. And to act as though bonding with a child and giving a child undivided love and attention in their early days of life isn’t as important as work, well it makes me kind of wonder, why have a child?
Having a child is life changing. It’s person changing. It’s like having a crazy bomb go off in your life and you have to learn how to put the pieces back together. And sometimes, they don’t go back quite the way you expect and you have to adjust. And flex and bend. But you do, and it’s WORTH it. SO worth it.
I have NO issue whatsoever with a woman wanting to put all of her energy into her career. NONE. But I don’t understand why a person would want to have a child and not spend time with him or her.
So readers, I ask you, what are your thoughts? Do you think Mayer may change her tune after giving birth? Or do you think she really will work straight through maternity leave and set a new standard for women, insisting we can be Super Women and skip the healing and bonding process (and still have everything turn out ok)?
[featured image via twinlifemagazine & CNNMoney]