Redefining Maternity Leave – Why Most Moms Need 6 Months, Not 12 Weeks

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Episode 21: Lauren Smith Brody

As a new mom, Lauren Smith Brody started having candid conversations with her co-workers at Glamour Magazine about how hard it was to parent an infant and succeed at work. Her book, The Fifth Trimester, was born out of these conversations and her ensuing research.

How soon after your baby was born did you feel ready to go back to work? Really ready, not “they gave me 12 weeks off, so I guess I’m ready.”  In Lauren’s research, she discovered that most women didn’t start to feel like themselves again for at least 24 weeks. 

These days, she helps companies and organizations attract and retain working mothers. We had a fascinating conversation that spanned from how we’re coping with the current Covid environment, to ideas for talking with employers about what you need in order to be successful at work. 

One key piece of advice Lauren offered was simple: Vote. Our country will only advance if women have more representation across the board. 

“Vote for more people to work in politics at every single level who support the needs that you have,” she said.

We also need women at all levels to be involved in the conversations at work. If the decision-makers are all executives, it’s impossible to know how the decisions impact entry-level or hourly employees. Whether you’re in your fifth trimester or 62nd trimester, she has a wealth of information about getting back to work in an environment that works for you.

More About Lauren

Lauren Smith Brody is the author of the bestselling book The Fifth Trimester and the founder of The Fifth Trimester consulting, which advances parents’ equity in the workforce. As a leading voice on gender, business, parenting (and now, pandemic parenting), Brody, a mom of two boys and former executive editor of Glamour magazine, is featured frequently as a writer and expert in media including The New York Times, Good Morning America, Slate, Parents, CNN, and network news. 

Using her ongoing research, she gives webinars, speaking engagements, and 1:1 coaching to nonprofit and corporate clients including Amazon, Liberty Mutual, BakerHostetler, Blackstone, PwC, Paycom, Rackspace, Sony, Fried Frank, Girl Scouts of America, and dozens more organizations seeking progress for working parents.

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Musical NotesOur delightfully happy intro and outro theme music, “We Will Get Through This” is performed by Young Presidents, and used under license from Shutterstock.