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Letter sent on May 28, 2017

Why Startup Pregnant? Why now?

Letter to our early followers: May 28, 2017

Our brand-new Startup Pregnant publication on Medium now has 2,300 followers, and our Instagram took off the first few weeks to grow to 250 followers.

But beyond the numbers: these stats are mirroring what I’ve seen in my own experience. This project has wings. This project is hitting a chord with a lot of people, and the messages and notes that I’ve been getting echo this. If you’re getting this letter, thank you for being one of the earliest backers of this project.

Why “Startup Pregnant,” why now?

In launching Startup Pregnant, a publication and media hub for and about women in leadership across both work and family, I’ve been asked a number of questions about what we’re doing and why. We’ve got an ambitious agenda to reach women in leadership, entrepreneurship, and management and begin telling a broader, richer set of stories.

Startup Pregnant is a series looking at what it means to be a woman in leadership, in family, and in work.

Our publication doesn’t shy away from asking difficult questions, examining with thoughtfulness and curiosity what it means to experience both the transformation of growing into a leader in your professional life as well as the journey to becoming a parent or a mother — and all the struggles and complications that happen along the path to both.

But beyond the strict dictum of motherhood and entrepreneurship: we’re looking at the deepest life forces that create the next wave of new things, and how that deep, feminine, creative energy exists within all of us.

We’re missing a conversation about what it means to embrace the spirit of the feminine — in both women and men — as an asset in the workplace.

Why shouldn’t pregnancy be a source of tremendous inspiration for how we work, and what work looks like?

What does it look like to shift the conversation around business, women, work, and leadership so that inviting women into the fold is a profound benefit to business, profitability, culture, and all genders?

Change won’t just come when companies, men, and child-free women also decide that taking care of women and children are critical problems for all of us to solve.

Change will come when we realize how profoundly wonderful and instructive these processes are for all of us, and by shirking away from them, we’re all losing out.

My story: startup x pregnant

A lot of this work is inspired by my own story of working at a startup and trying to transform startup culture from the inside out. Throughout these essays, you’ll see a lot of my perspective on pregnancy, which I found immensely challenging, and my take on startup culture, where I think we’ve got work to do on sexism and equality, among other things.

But this isn’t just about my story. I am writing an entire book about my story, if you want to read it.

We are a publication in pursuit of a body of stories, not just one point of view.

We examine how multiple experiences and truths exist simultaneously, and support women in these tremendous times by sharing the stories of women (and parents or advocates) that are also undertaking or supporting these massive endeavors. With that said, we will be doing our job well if we have nuance, diversity, complexity, and, at times, the lack of a clear resolution. The truth can be deeply uncomfortable, and life can be unforgiving and brutal. It can also be astounding and wonderful.

We want to be here for all of it.

Where we’re going: our goals and agenda

In setting out to build Startup Pregnant, we outlined goals for the upcoming quarters, year, and beyond. Here’s where we are so far:

Our goals in Q2 of 2017 are to:

  • Publish a twice-weekly blog (you can read it on our website or on Medium)
  • Secure backers for our Podcast and record the first six episodes.
  • Launch our Instagram channel and grow to 1,000 first followers.
  • Interview the first 30 women for the book and the blog.

Our goals for the rest of 2017 are to:

  • Complete a book manuscript and sell a book proposal
  • Grow a team of writers, editors, and social media contributors
  • Launch the first two seasons of the podcast in the “Podcast 100” tour.
  • Test which channels (blog, medium, twitter, email) work best for growing in-depth storytelling, conversation, and community

Our long-term goals are to:

  • Build a community of thoughtful, inspiring, kind, intelligent women in leadership carving out new strategies for working and parenting.
  • Connect people around the ideas of women, pregnancy, work, leadership, and transformation of work culture.
  • Create a project that supports women in tech, entrepreneurship, business, speaking, and creating

This is about sisterhood, community, and support.

What we need, more than ever, is a connected web of people lifting each other up. In this hyper independent, individualistic society, it’s a breath of fresh air to feel a little bit tooclose to other people, and create connected communities that inspire, help, and reach out to each other rather than divide each other.

We may not make all of the same decisions exactly the same way (breastfeeding? okay! formula? okay!), but what we can do is cheer each other along in the massive effort that it takes to raise humans.

There’s room for mistakes, for laughter, for worry, for humor, for deep connection, and for resilience. In the words of Amy Poehler, if someone writes or chooses something that you would do differently, we say, “Good for you! Not for me!” and acknowledge that we all make a variety of choices because we are, quite simply, doing the best we can.

This is for all the women and parents making it work, and looking for new ways to thrive beyond simply surviving.

And there are so many similar threads of this work happening around the web that mirror this conversation: see Tiffany Dufu’s book Drop The Ball, Kate Northrup’s Origin, Sarah Lacy’s new book, A Uterus Is A Feature Not A Bug, and so many more. The vibrancy of these conversations tells me that it’s time. We’re here, and it’s time.

Where can you find us?

We’re online at www.startuppregnant.com, and we cross-publish our blog to Medium at www.medium.com/startup-pregnant. We also have a brand-new Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter channels featuring quotes and excerpts from some of our favorite women entrepreneurs and interviews, and we’re working on launching a Podcast by midsummer of 2017.

How to support our work:

If you’d like to support our work, we’re actively seeking podcast sponsorships (you can become a backer for as little as $2/month), and you can subscribe to our email series or sign up to learn more about the book when it launches.

Motherhood is an abrupt entry into a new way of living, being, thinking, and (ideally) thriving. But that’s not what’s always true — at least not yet.

Let’s make it true.