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Reframing pregnancy one vote at a time

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A couple of months ago I wrote a post inspired by connections with 3 women at different stages of the pregnancy journey and transition to motherhood. What they have in common is that they are smart and talented; the companies who employ them invested heavily in their careers through training or attracting them into the business; they were on a rising trajectory with a wealth of experience and these companies have a mandate from their Boards and CEO’s to champion gender diversity and support the pipeline of female talent.

Despite the company rhetoric

SelfishMother.com
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all 3 were the recipients of clumsy and offensive comments and/or behaviour and their loyalty and desire to return to their respective companies moved from more than likely to probably not, in a relatively short space of time. Another recent share around tentatively raising the subject of a more flexible return was that it was met with a face that resembled a bulldog chewing a bee.
At a recent corporate event statistics were shared that 74% of women plan to return to the same employer following their maternity leave. 24% actually do.*
In my group
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above, one has now moved to a new company, one wants to start negotiations to leave and move elsewhere and one is still on maternity leave questioning her next move.

When a woman announces her pregnancy to her line manager and team the response will be something she always remembers. When she gives birth and is met with email requests to ”urgently respond” rather than flowers and good wishes, it stings. When contemplating a return some mums cannot wait to be back in the work saddle, others feel torn beyond belief.

Despite legislation and guidance

SelfishMother.com
4
freely available on great websites such as EHRC for organisations and individuals, and calls to Maternity Action’s Advice Line at an all time high; so many managers – women and men – still get it wrong.

Last month I decided the work I was doing as a maternity coach and therapist wasn’t reaching far enough and launched an initiative as part of Virgin Media Business’ #Voom to change 100,000 Lives and reframe the way maternity leave is perceived.

Bumps and the Boardroom started as a series of online conversations 2 years ago to discuss how to

SelfishMother.com
5
manage maternity differently. I’d suffered an unexpected loss and gone through a period of bereavement counselling, deep self-reflection and then various coaching and trainings to add to my skills as an ex-corporate turned complementary therapist. I came out the other side realising my career to date had given me thousands of hours listening to women sharing their stories and some real nuggets of insight. The experience opened me up to thinking differently and I couldn’t shake the feeling that reducing maternity discrimination and valuing mothers was
SelfishMother.com
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intrinsically linked.

In the last 2 years I have come to realise the correlation between having a baby and being successful in business. By challenging and reframing the belief that pregnancy provides business with a bundle of problems to solve and maternity leave is a drain on company resources, I’m proving women, men and business can thrive when the experience of pregnancy and new motherhood is viewed and managed differently.

Now I am campaigning for a new normal where pregnancy is valued for the transformational experience it is; for the

SelfishMother.com
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collective benefit of women, men and business. I have launched plans to build community and education platform for women and business to realise the pregnancy journey as a positive catalyst for mutual growth and am looking for like-minded women and men to join me.

Our plan is to create a workplace that values and respects women and mothers and realises the benefits a balance of masculine and feminine energy brings.

#Voom is open to the public vote until May 23. It takes a moment to click the link and register your free vote of support. I would

SelfishMother.com
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love us to be able to move through to the next round Pitchathon and get a step closer to sharing my plans with Sir Richard Branson but more importantly, I would love go through my own pregnancy knowing I will be valued for the skills I learn along the way and all pregnant women, now and in the future, experience the same. My coaching practice is booming with corporates suddenly ”getting it” and wanting to do things differently so I know there is hope. Each vote we receive helps me believe in my plans a little bit more and be more confident in calling
SelfishMother.com
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out the bad practice I see.

Collectively I know we can do this!

*Robert Walters: Empowering Women

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Lisa Barnwell

By

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- 12 May 16

A couple of months ago I wrote a post inspired by connections with 3 women at different stages of the pregnancy journey and transition to motherhood. What they have in common is that they are smart and talented; the companies who employ them invested heavily in their careers through training or attracting them into the business; they were on a rising trajectory with a wealth of experience and these companies have a mandate from their Boards and CEO’s to champion gender diversity and support the pipeline of female talent.

Despite the company rhetoric all 3 were the recipients of clumsy and offensive comments and/or behaviour and their loyalty and desire to return to their respective companies moved from more than likely to probably not, in a relatively short space of time. Another recent share around tentatively raising the subject of a more flexible return was that it was met with a face that resembled a bulldog chewing a bee.

At a recent corporate event statistics were shared that 74% of women plan to return to the same employer following their maternity leave. 24% actually do.*

In my group above, one has now moved to a new company, one wants to start negotiations to leave and move elsewhere and one is still on maternity leave questioning her next move.

When a woman announces her pregnancy to her line manager and team the response will be something she always remembers. When she gives birth and is met with email requests to “urgently respond” rather than flowers and good wishes, it stings. When contemplating a return some mums cannot wait to be back in the work saddle, others feel torn beyond belief.

Despite legislation and guidance freely available on great websites such as EHRC for organisations and individuals, and calls to Maternity Action’s Advice Line at an all time high; so many managers – women and men – still get it wrong.

Last month I decided the work I was doing as a maternity coach and therapist wasn’t reaching far enough and launched an initiative as part of Virgin Media Business’ #Voom to change 100,000 Lives and reframe the way maternity leave is perceived.

Bumps and the Boardroom started as a series of online conversations 2 years ago to discuss how to manage maternity differently. I’d suffered an unexpected loss and gone through a period of bereavement counselling, deep self-reflection and then various coaching and trainings to add to my skills as an ex-corporate turned complementary therapist. I came out the other side realising my career to date had given me thousands of hours listening to women sharing their stories and some real nuggets of insight. The experience opened me up to thinking differently and I couldn’t shake the feeling that reducing maternity discrimination and valuing mothers was intrinsically linked.

In the last 2 years I have come to realise the correlation between having a baby and being successful in business. By challenging and reframing the belief that pregnancy provides business with a bundle of problems to solve and maternity leave is a drain on company resources, I’m proving women, men and business can thrive when the experience of pregnancy and new motherhood is viewed and managed differently.

Now I am campaigning for a new normal where pregnancy is valued for the transformational experience it is; for the collective benefit of women, men and business. I have launched plans to build community and education platform for women and business to realise the pregnancy journey as a positive catalyst for mutual growth and am looking for like-minded women and men to join me.

Our plan is to create a workplace that values and respects women and mothers and realises the benefits a balance of masculine and feminine energy brings.

#Voom is open to the public vote until May 23. It takes a moment to click the link and register your free vote of support. I would love us to be able to move through to the next round Pitchathon and get a step closer to sharing my plans with Sir Richard Branson but more importantly, I would love go through my own pregnancy knowing I will be valued for the skills I learn along the way and all pregnant women, now and in the future, experience the same. My coaching practice is booming with corporates suddenly “getting it” and wanting to do things differently so I know there is hope. Each vote we receive helps me believe in my plans a little bit more and be more confident in calling out the bad practice I see.

Collectively I know we can do this!

*Robert Walters: Empowering Women

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Lisa Barnwell

Future mother (aka TTC) maternity coach & therapist. Founder: Bumps and the Boardroom Writing a book. @bumpsnbabyguru @BumpsHQ

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