In 2007, I informed a co-worker that I was going to have my first child. His response was, “You should probably just retire now. Your career is over.” I was 30 years old. Another discouraging statement was, “Maybe you should find another job before you start showing” (“another job” being one outside my chosen profession of law). Lastly, I was told by another firm employee that he had “only ever known one woman who was able to successfully pull off the full-time legal career and motherhood situation.” Situation? I was having a situation? I thought I was having a baby. Needless to say, I left work that day concerned that (1) my male co-workers hated babies; (2) I may lose my job; and (3) working full-time and parenting were still frowned upon with respect to women. I was not prepared for that final realization. “It’s 2007,” I thought. “Women can do it all. Haven’t they been doing it all for years?” My mother worked full-time, commuted two hours every day and raised two kids—as a single parent. The difference, perhaps, is that my mother worked for the federal government as a secretary. When she had her kids it was expected, and more acceptable, because of the line of work she was in. But apparently, in the world of professionals, according to some, anyway, it was still the 1950s, and professional females and parenting just didn’t mix. Those co-workers seemed surprised when I announced my pregnancy—like, “Hey, we just assumed you didn’t want kids because you have a career.” Well, I’m calling shenanigans.
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