How do you make great decisions in the face of emotions, complexity, and change? Bonnie Foley-Wong is an expert in investing, in decision-making, and in understanding what she calls “the head and the heart.” She left a dream job to start her own venture fund, Pique Ventures, and later got pregnant at age 40 with her first child. I ask her about tapping into intuition in the workplace and how she overcame the idea that entrepreneurship was something ‘other people did.’
40% of American households believe that it is bad for society if mothers work. Because sexism is a global phenomenon, you might believe this statistic to be universal as well—but it just isn’t. In fact, this kind of maternal bias against women in the workplace is a strictly American phenomenon. Diverse cultures from deeply feminist Iceland to ‘one-child policy’ China simply do not have stay-at-home moms. This interview with Pando Daily founder Sarah Lacy looks at how this staggering statistic manifests itself in the our culture, from the wage gap to maternity leave policy to overt sexism on the job. I ask her about the need to dismantle the patriarchy and her experience of maternal bias in the workplace.
Stories are the first part of culture change. In order to create a new future, part of the process is unearthing all of the stories of what’s happened, and what’s happening. So much of the stories of motherhood and parenting are hidden or silenced, not public. To change the narrative of motherhood, we need to start by first telling the stories of what motherhood looks like, from a place of truth, honesty, and compassion.
Most of us have a sixth gear we don’t know about. We’re all capable of far more than we can imagine. At Startup Pregnant, we believe in the power of human potential, both individual and collective. Parenting often teaches us that we have a previously-unknown-to-us “fifth gear,” and then when faced with a challenge, maybe even a sixth gear we can tap into.
Here at Startup Pregnant, we believe in the call for a greater emotional dexterity. We believe that it’s important for each of us to experience our emotions. Not just experience them, but feel them, name them, and work with the entire range of emotions that we’re given. To us, this means that you’re allowed to be your whole self. All of you is welcome here.
You don’t have to do things the way they’ve always been done. And startups are one of the best places to imagine new futures. It’s okay to break things, to rebuild things, and to do things differently than the way that they’ve always been done. Startups and Pregnancy have a lot in common because they are both creators of new things—ideas, businesses, structures, life—and to do so, they harness a huge range of power.
The current version of work—the idea that we work in offices, that we work from 9 to 5, that we’re continuously productive throughout the day, at equal measures—there is overwhelming evidence that this isn’t true. Research shows that we aren’t effective in an 8-hour workday. Work is especially broken for women. And when we layer in parenting, and we try to make all of it fit together, within the paradigm that currently exists, well, what we see is that across the board, it doesn’t fully work.
A wise doula told me that in preparing for birth, she encourages women to consider the range of birth experiences and possibilities. In this way, designating “preferences” instead of a “plan,” we would be able to plan for something that was, effectively, un-plan-able. Babies are the ultimate plan-changers! Inviting a human into your life is inviting chaos in. They have their own ideas and what happens is often different than what we planned or expected.
Life is not all hard labor, and it’s not an all-out hustle sprint. In pregnancy, there are distinct phases and changes, with deep periods of fatigue, moments of sickness, periods of high energy and excitement, and everything in between.