Editor’s Note: This open letter is in response to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who recently announced via Tumblr she is expecting twins, and will continue to work throughout her pregnancy and take short maternity leave. “ Since my pregnancy has been healthy and uncomplicated and since this is a unique time in Yahoo’s transformation, I plan to approach the pregnancy and delivery as I did with my son three years ago, taking limited time away and working throughout.” You can read the announcement in its entirety here.
Dear Ms Mayer,
Oh Marissa, what the fuck are you thinking?
Clearly you weren’t.
I don’t know you, but I’ve known many a parents in a similar situation throughout my career.
I also know the stakeholders are keeping you and your uterus hostage. But did you for one minute think of the myriads of fellow women who would give their right arm to spend more time with their children during the all important first year, before you put out such a public statement. Catering to the male dominated CEO system instead of breaking through the ceiling with a new and better kind of CEO, is just what women and children don’t need right now. We need a CEO who promotes the value of human capital from the roots of our homes and the welfare of this nation’s children. Instead your announcement took the good ol’ boy approach; don’t mind me while I take a 15 minute break to give birth out in the field.
Is falling in line with bad science a way to show your ultimate manhood?
It is certainly not showing your womanhood.
Recent research in child development emphasizes the need for relationship building during the 0-3 years. I know you have gazillions of dollars to pay others to do the bonding. After years providing just that kind of care in the Silicon Valley I can tell you first hand, your dollars can buy you some mighty fine quality child care, but however great the care my colleagues and I provided, we were never the parents.
Want to know what you are telling the world about childbirth and the first year of bonding? You are saying that because you have had no medical complications the rest of the process really doesn’t matter. Your lovely letter announcing your pregnancy, just flipped the bird at motherhood, fatherhood and family leave. You propagate the myth of the superwoman and continue to push these backward ideas to our daughters. In order to get to the top, be at the top and stay at the top a woman must put her own health and the welfare of her family second in line to the powers that be.
I get it, I do. Born and raised in the heart of Silicon Valley; I am driven, and my family has had to join many a wild ride alongside my career. At the same time I hold true to it being a ‘race to nowhere really fast’, and the best thing we could emphasize is to take in the view at life’s vista points. Along with all the ‘leaning in’ we do there are times when leaning out is the best for our families, communities and nation, whether we are the Mom or the Dad.
For being a woman who has a platform, you’ve fucked up! In the future, try a better way to spin your pregnancy than a public announcement which puts family leave back 50 years!