I first connected with Kate through Dreamers//Doers, a group that aims to connect ambitious and entrepreneurial women so they can help each other. I immediately loved Kate, as she embodies fem-power in the all the best possible ways. She is Director of Operations for iFundWomen, a crowdfunding platform for women-led startups and small businesses. She is also the mother of two, and a paradigm of determination and discipline. She even had her two babies without any pain medication! I mean, I'm impressed. Hear Kate talk about how she went through labor sans drugs, her transition to working at home, and how she and her husband still make time for each other.
What’s your getting pregnant story?
I have two kids, a 3-year-old and an 8-month-old. I got pregnant really easily both times; we were lucky. For my daughter, we planned her pregnancy. We knew that we were moving for my husband’s residency. I would get six weeks of maternity leave and then my husband had time off before moving, so the timing worked out really well in that he could be home with her for awhile after I went back to work. I would advise people not to plan too much, but for us it worked well.
With my second pregnancy, we had a miscarriage the first time. Of course a miscarriage is always sad, but it was even sadder then I expected despite being early on. We were able to get pregnant again the next month with my son.
What was your pregnancy style like?
With my daughter, I was working in DC at a corporate job, and so I had to wear corporate clothes. I wore streamlined maternity clothes all the time. When you’re working and pregnant, you have to spend a lot more money on maternity clothes. With my son, I was working from home so it was much easier because I could really wear anything, like yoga pants and t-shirts. I actually love dressing for being pregnant. I think it’s fun and it’s interesting to see your body change. It’s a fun challenge to “style your bump.”
What was your labor & birth experience like?
I had a pretty easy time with both births, and they were pretty quick. I say this unapologetically, I really wanted to have a natural birth both times (by natural, I mean without pain medication) and I prepared to do that by doing everything they told me to do. I had a midwife both times advising me on what to do during the pregnancy. I was really proud of myself to be able to do it both times. I think women often don’t want to pat themselves on the back for the things they accomplish, but I feel comfortable saying I’m proud of what I was able to do and it felt empowering. It has always been important for me to be strong and physically fit, and I felt like delivering naturally was the pinnacle of that goal. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying you did something and that you’re proud of it.
So was it really painful?
Yes, it was. It really was. I was lucky both times that my labor was short. I did HypnoBirthing, which is a breathing practice to help you manage the pain. It really worked for me. The rhetoric around childbearing in the US is wrong, especially the way we see it in movies. The reality is, you’re not in pain the entire time, you have a contraction, and then no pain, and then another contraction, and then no pain. It’s interesting that we shy away from pain except for when it comes to beauty, for example. I mean, a Brazilian bikini wax is painful. There’s an end to the pain with labor, because once the baby is born, the pain stops mostly.
What were those first six weeks like?
With my daughter, who was first, I was really surprised at how banged up my body felt for a while. Physically, I wasn’t able to do a lot of things that I thought I would be able to do. I thought after leaving the hospital I would look so much better, but afterward you still look pregnant for a few weeks. And your energy levels are just not there. You just feel very different physically. For my son, I felt much better afterward. I felt fine almost right away. We went to Maine when he was 2-weeks-old; we went to California for wedding when he was 3-weeks-old. So the first six weeks for him was full of activity.
You now work from home. What has that transition been like for you?
I loved working in a corporate job, and than when I started working for iFundWomen, I realized how much I preferred working for a startup. In a startup, your opinion really matters and your voice gets heard. In a corporate environment, you’re a cog in the wheel. When you’re home, you’re still online for the same number of hours in the day, but I think women are fantastic at doing many things at once. Having the opportunity to work from home, I feel like I’m able to really be there for my family, but also grow professionally and have something of my own going on aside from my children. Just saving the commute time is great because I go downstairs to my office and I get a lot done. We use Slack all the time. I think this work from home set-up just requires a lot of communication. The downside is that you’re not around other people, which isn’t great for creativity. When I do go into my office and work with my boss, we get so much done.
What’s the best advice you received?
I thought you weren’t supposed to give unsolicited advice about children, but once you have a baby everyone wants to give you advice. The best advice I got was sleep begets sleep. The more babies sleep during the day, the more they’ll sleep during the night. Also, rest when the baby rests. Women need to spend more time taking care of themselves and take the time to rest so that they have the energy to take care of the baby. Take care of yourself.
Have your kids on early bed times and get them on a strict nap schedule. This is my key to working from home and having a happy marriage. We run a tight ship around bedtime. We both have work we need to do at home, so between 7pm and 10pm, after the kids go to bed, we have lots of time to get work done. Our kids also have strict nap schedules, which means I can guarantee that we have 3 hours during the day to get things done on weekends. As parents, if you have kids go to bed on the early side, then we have time for ourselves, for each other, for getting work done, or for having a drink with your spouse. It’s just nice to know that there’s a break to caring for the children.
What’s been the best part?
There has been something so awesome about creating a child with the person you love and sharing this extreme love for your child. You share the love with each other. It really solidified us. I feel like my husband and I fell in love all over again when we had a baby because we created this child together and we share the same love for this other human being.