What happens when you get pregnant as you are trying to launch a podcast about bias in the workplace against mothers? Why is the dominant cultural story about miscarriage and fertility trauma that if you end up with a kid, it’s all okay? And who should you be looking for in a company when you’re considering a new job?

Today we get to hear from Katherine Goldstein, award winning journalist and host of the inimitable, brilliant new podcast: The Double Shift.

Goldstein created The Double Shift to tell diverse, three dimensional, powerful stories of mothers as complete humans. At every turn she was forced to explain that, no, this is not a podcast about parenting. No, this podcast will not hit the single note of just how hard it is to be a working mother. This podcast will, finally, allow us all to see working mothers as people with their own stories, ambitions, and struggles beyond their children.

Before podcasting, Goldstein spent several years researching bias and discrimination against mothers in the workplace. It seemed to her the deepest irony that she became pregnant while in immersed in the hectic world of pitching media companies and just how vulnerable that pregnancy made her professional ambitions feel.

Her pregnancy ultimately ended in a miscarriage, and Goldstein goes deep here, talking about all of the ways we as a culture fail to understand and help parents process their grief and trauma around pregnancy loss.

Today we also hear from Goldstein about: the blatant bias and discrimination against women in the workplace, why people in power love to push the myth of personal responsibility and “leaning in” to workers rather than deal with just how broken our working culture is, and why she feels uniquely positioned to tell diverse, meaningful stories of motherhood in order to highlight and shift just how marginalized mothers are in America.


IN THIS EPISODE WE TALK ABOUT
  • How Katherine navigated the experience of early pregnancy while shopping her podcast pilot to major media networks.
  • Her experience with miscarriage and her desire to change how we speak about miscarriage and fertility struggles as a culture, moving away from the myth that if you end up with a child, everything worked out. She believes this edits out women whose experiences don’t end with a child from the whole conversation and forces women who’ve experienced real and meaningful trauma to act as though nothing happened.
  • Goldstein’s decision to share her audio recordings of her pregnancy and miscarriage with The Double Shift audience as an episode in order to show just one of the three-dimensional, complex experiences that so many mothers have.
  • The $2,500 bill Goldstein got from her insurance company to pay for the D&C procedure she needed to have after her miscarriage and her realization of just how harmful our entire healthcare system is to the working poor.
  • Her biggest takeaways after spending a year reporting as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard on the open secret of anti-mother discrimination in American workplaces.
  • How mothers, but not fathers, are punished for having children in their prime childbearing years and are never able to recover from the massive hit their earnings take as new mothers.
  • Why pregnant women are not considered a protected group under anti-discrimination laws and how from the beginning mothers are held back from achieving the highest levels of their profession.
  • Why people in power want women to buy into Lean In because it translates any professional failures of working mothers as personal failures rather than forcing companies and employers to fix a broken workplace.
  • Why she loathes the commodification of the term “self-care” and how it’s now equated with a spa day or spending money on oneself.
  • What “existential self-care” is and why it requires hard work, anger, and uncomfortable conversations rather than getting your nails done.
  • How Goldstein allows her anger, frustration, and rage at how marginalized mothers are in America to fuel her in-depth, poignant, powerful storytelling on The Double Shift and in her journalistic writing.
  • The way that listeners and fans of Startup Pregnant can support her in her mission on The Double Shift and put their money where their feminist mouths are.

The Startup Pregnant Podcast Episode #115


SOME QUOTES FROM THE EPISODE
  • “Ultimately, the reason I wanted to share my story was really about that I believe in three dimensional portraits of motherhood and I felt like I had an opportunity to share those kinds of experiences. Everyone’s experience of motherhood doesn’t fall into tidy categories where every pregnancy is a miraculous joy of a blessing or a total disaster. I felt like somewhere in the middle about my pregnancy.”
  • “I think that there is a general cultural consensus that miscarriage is a very sad and very personal thing that really should be kept sort of within a family or a couple and shouldn’t be discussed because there’s something sort of shameful or distasteful about it.”
  • “[Miscarriage] is not something that we have any sort of ceremony for or ways to sort of mark in our culture, there aren’t rituals or sort of cultural ways we support women and families going through this to find closure.”
  • “When we talk about miscarriage, we want to still present it in a way that’s palatable for people. I think that one of the ways that we gloss over the difficulties of experience for women and mothers is to sort of say like – ‘I went through XYZ trauma but in the end, I had a baby so it’s all worth it.’ Honestly, that’s not true. What you go through matters.”
  • “If you have a baby between the ages of 25 to 35, which it turns out, are your prime childbearing years, your earnings never recover. And that’s not true for dads.”
  • “I think motherhood—because of the way we don’t support it in workplaces, through family leave and flexible work but also through active discrimination—actually really holds women back in reaching to the highest levels of their profession.”
  • “That has really led me to understand that in America, all the mothers feel like failures but really, it’s America that’s failing us.”
  • “I believe I have the unique ability to do some powerful storytelling to change the conversation around working motherhood in America and that absolutely energizes me every day. But a lot of that is absolutely rooted in anger and disgust and frustration at how marginalized mothers are in this country.”
  • “People couldn’t understand that there could be a whole show about mothers that wasn’t about kids because basically we see mothers only as vectors for children not as individuals with their own identities.”
  • “There’s been so little interest in what mothers actually care about beyond their children and so I am here to change that.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT KATHERINE GOLDSTEIN   

Katherine Goldstein, the creator and host of The Double Shift podcast, runs Double Shift Productions as an independent journalism company. An award-winning journalist and 2017 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, Katherine is an expert on working mothers. Her track record for conversation-setting work includes the viral New York Times op-ed, “The Open Secret of Anti-Mom Bias in the Workplace,” “I was a Sheryl Sandberg superfan, Then Her “Lean In” Advice Failed Me” and “Where are the Mothers?” Katherine lives in Durham, N.C. and is the mother to a three-year-old son. Read her latest article in The Guardian, “American Moms: Let’s Stop Feeling Guilty and Start Getting Mad.


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