How To Plan For A Baby When You Have A Demanding Career (Plus, How Companies Can Help Once You Do)


If you're anything like me, you suspect you want to have kids, someday... later. You have a vague idea that you'd like to have a partner, a successful career, and would prefer to be under 40 by the time you start trying to conceive. Yup, I'm 27, and that's certainly where I'm at: a good job, no plans for kids anytime soon, and single. So how am I supposed to be planning for my reproductive future, short of freezing my eggs?

Luckily, Judith Bitterli, Chief Marketing Officer at AVG Technologies, a leading online security company, has some very practical advice for women who want kids — and the companies they work for. Bitterli herself has had an incredibly successful career as a woman in tech — and a long and happy marriage — but ended up being unable to have a baby when she waited until she was 40 to try to conceive.

Of course, it is by no means impossible to get pregnant at 40 (my mom did with me!), but your chances are dramatically lower: a healthy, fertile woman in her 20s has a 45 percent chance of getting pregnant per cycle, while a 30-year-old woman has a 20 percent chance, and a woman who's 40 has a chance of less than 5 percent per cycle.

Yikes. So what's a woman who wants kids someday (BUT NOT NOW DEAR GOD PLEASE) to do? Before her talk on the topic of balancing desires for the baby and the boardroom at South By Southwest, Bitterli talked to Bustle about her top suggestions for women in tech (or really, any high-pressure industry) looking to experience both a successful career and motherhood.

What Women Can Do To Prepare

1. Have A Plan (Or At Least Start Thinking About One)

2. Buid Your Personal Brand Now

3. Consider The Country You Want To Have A Baby In

4. Know That There Will Be Tradeoffs If You Stay At A High-Pressure Job

5. Vote With Your Pocketbook

What Companies Can Do To Support Working Mothers

1. Don't Schedule Meetings After 4 p.m.

2. Encourage Flex Time

3. Educate Male Employees And Leaders

4. Enforce Regular, Unplugged Vacations

5. Care About The People Who Work For You