How Pregnancy Actually Boosted This Woman's Career
When Jayne Juvan was 32 years old, she became a partner at the national law firm Roetzel & Andress, making her one of their youngest partners ever. She is the first in her family to navigate the crowded, competitive and traditionally male-dominated legal profession, and she rose quickly – within two years she joined a very small group of women with over $500,000 of business a year. And now at 35, she’s pregnant – with twins. Life changing? For sure, but in an unexpected way, and now she’s talking about it. This is Jayne’s Mentoring Moment, in her words:
In my early 30s, I had life completely figured out. Or so I thought. I made partner at a large law firm, represented sophisticated clients, traveled to exciting destinations and married a supportive husband.
But my life was forever changed when I met Dolly Lenz, a prominent luxury real estate agent in New York City who is known for being direct and candid. When she asked about my family, I explained the “impossibility” of having children in my situation, given my demanding career (even though, admittedly, it was a painful void). Dolly disagreed with my thinking, and she wouldn’t budge. After all, she has reached the highest levels of corporate America and has two children and a strong marriage. She has already proven me wrong by example.
Dolly explained that pregnancy enhances your career, because it’s a great way for people to relate to you on a additional, deeper personal level. And, she insinuated, if some people didn’t understand, are these the types of people you want to build your career with anyway?
Afterward, I went through a period of intense soul searching. I questioned whether, as the founder of my firm’s women’s initiative, I could truly be a role model for other young women if I decided to forgo a family purely for professional reasons. And, would I live a life of regret?
More than a year later, my husband and I were overjoyed when we learned I was expecting, but we quickly became saddened when I miscarried on my way home from a business trip. I tried to suppress the grief and suffered mostly in silence, as women often do after they miscarry.
I became pregnant again, but this time, I had doubts and regrets. At 35, I was “high risk” (my doctor’s orders said, “elderly multigravida”), and I scolded myself for my choices. I even attended my first ultrasound alone because I doubted the outcome.
At my ultrasound, I received shocking news – not only was my pregnancy viable, but I was expecting twins! I was ecstatic, but still a little nervous because a twin pregnancy is more difficult and seems incompatible with a demanding professional career. “Morning sickness” often is “all day and night sickness,” fatigue is overwhelming and bed rest is a possibility.
Nevertheless, Dolly was exactly right. During my pregnancy, I had some of the strongest months of my entire career. I could relate to my clients on a much deeper level because they were excited to share their own stories about their pregnancies, children and families. These were conversations I was frozen out of before, likely because they didn’t think I’d understand. As relationships grew, referrals grew and business started flowing to me in seemingly endless amounts. At one point, I realized that this may actually be the best time of my life.
That doesn’t mean my pregnancy has been easy or that I have been perfect through it all. It hasn’t, and I haven’t. But for those who have made comments questioning my commitment or who haven’t been understanding, I’ve had to ask myself an important question. Are these the types of people I want to surround myself with anyway? Surely not!
Source: Women @ Forbes Jul 7, 2016 @ 01:42 PM