Yeah this is the fucked up part, right? We’ve made it SO IMPOSSIBLE to talk to each other like human beings about human stuff. There has been so much discrimination it’s difficult to broach the subject at all. But we have to try! I make this point, in part, in reaction to what I thought were very reasonable questions from my existing investors — in their case, it was out of concern for me: “How will you make sure to get time off?”
I think you can frame it the same way talking to a new entrepreneur: how will you assure yourself the time off you will need for maternity leave? This is not only honest concern for someone who will need the time off more than she knows, but also you get insight into a founder’s preparedness. Frankly, I don’t think enough entrepreneurs are asked about their plans for self-care, and this is a good way to learn more.
Pregnant founders are in a similar conundrum: the environment is so unfriendly to time off at all, that most founders want to seem like “it’s no big deal” or “this is my personal life don’t worry about it I’ll take care of it.” I know that I was also awkward in some meetings until I figured out that addressing it directly made me more comfortable, so I set the tone. I would point to my belly and say: “let me tell you about my incredible team.”