#momops & feelings

#momops & feelings

Tech is finally becoming more open to talks about mental health but there's something we aren't talking about enough — the mental health of new mothers. As more women get into tech, we need to discuss how to make this transition easier on them & steps they can take to help themselves.


Aly Fulton

April 21, 2018


  1. #momops & feelings aly fulton. @sinthetix. heartifacts 2018.

  2. this is my story...

  3. 2014 and my first tech job switched fields from (almost)

    speech-language pathologist. started contract position in ruby!
  4. pregnancy! the start of my journey

  5. uh oh chronic pain & morning sickness. three months pregnant

    when contract ended.
  6. None
  7. looking for remote (aka the near impossible for a jr.

  8. the appeal of remote generally more flexible than 9-5 office!

  9. the appeal of remote can have a nanny for easier

    breastfeeding/no pumping.
  10. the appeal of remote nanny + no commute = more

    time with baby!
  11. the appeal of remote commuting is unpaid labor & time

    away from who matters most.
  12. let juniors be remote!

  13. looking on up hired as remote, taking a support position.

  14. looking on up asked for 12 weeks unpaid, got 18

    weeks paid instead! (why is this revolutionary?)
  15. on maternity leave united states standard is 6-12 weeks, unpaid.

  16. None
  17. on maternity leave daycares don’t accept children until 6 weeks

  18. on maternity leave poor leave policies punish those with difficult

    births even further.
  19. companies need to do better.

  20. antenatal anxiety & me worried/panicked all the time about the

    pregnancy. disrupted sleep schedule. roller coaster of emotions and lots of tears.
  21. germaphobia (the only time i’ve ever had long nails)

  22. time for help antenatal depression/anxiety is not uncommon. there are

    perinatal specialists (therapists, psychiatrists).
  23. birth! #babyops

  24. the transition overwhelmed by emotions. took care of the baby,

    forgot about self.
  25. paternity leave (or lack thereof) partner leave needs to be

  26. paternity leave (or lack thereof) ...and at more than just

    a week.
  27. paternity leave (or lack thereof) ...and men need to actually

    take it.
  28. parental leave

  29. it continues... postpartum ocd & anxiety. extreme obsession/fear of sids,

    illness, ...everything. worked with psychiatrist to raise medications.
  30. 15-20% experience postpartum depression or anxiety. (according to postpartum support

    international: postpartum.net)
  31. my (not) bff colic it seemed like my kid never

    slept & always cried. she had extreme separation anxiety & only wanted me. she had mysterious medical conditions. she refused to take a bottle.
  32. i often felt trapped.

  33. find a local “mom group”

  34. it really takes a village was too anxious to seek

    community, yet felt so isolated. when i found it, realized it was what i had been missing. lots of shared experiences and you realize you are not alone.
  35. None
  36. other postpartum conditions postpartum depression (ppd). postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder

    (pptsd). postpartum psychosis (ppp).
  37. finding medical support & recovery talk to your doctor! maternal

    behavioral health services (therapy/psychiatry). intensive outpatient therapy for perinatal disorders. inpatient services.
  38. postpartum support international helpline (non-emergencies): 1-800-944-4773

  39. you are strong for getting help

  40. childcare rant make sure you adequately prepare for childcare. full-time

    nannies are a cost many can’t afford. part-time nannies are hard to come by. daycare waitlists are often very long (and still $$$).
  41. back to work tried to work with my kid (don’t

    do that). tried to work opposite shifts as husband (nope). struggled with all the changes in life & at work. going part-time helped for me.
  42. my pinnacle of disaster company allowed infants & partners to

    come to an offsite. my kid still had extreme separation anxiety. she was disruptive to me & my colleagues, while other babies were chill. i felt i was failing as both an employee and a parent.
  43. things i needed: flexibility. support. understanding. reorientation. help. empathy. reassurance.

  44. many new parents figure it out (but i sure didn’t)

  45. secure your oxygen mask before assisting others

  46. care about self-care you matter, too.

  47. be kind to yourself you’re doing a great job!

  48. actionable advice:

  49. moms/birthing parents: secure childcare asap. don’t be afraid to ask

    for help. take care of both your mental and physical health.
  50. moms/birthing parents: you are just as important! know that this

    $#!7 is hard! find your village. <3
  51. partners: advocate for paid parental leave at your job &

    take it. support your partner in any way they need. know the signs of postpartum mood disorders.
  52. employers/managers: help make a supportive environment for new parents. know

    that new parents aren’t cookie cutters and those needs will vary. implement generous paid parental leave.
  53. employers/managers: support lactation (“pumping”) needs. minimize travel or add additional

    support for traveling parents. utilize a re-onboarding process.
  54. employees/colleagues: offer support or just listen. don’t push your parenting

    beliefs on others. advocate for paid parental leave.
  55. conference organizers: select a talk on parenthood & tech from

    time to time!
  56. conference organizers: provide lactation rooms. offer quality childcare.

  57. conference organizers: offer low-key events or a family track.

  58. there’s so much more

  59. parenting & tech shout outs: https://www.momscancode.com/ http://www.parentdrivendevelopment.com/

  60. general resources: http://www.postpartum.net/

  61. <3 thanks.