I’ve been in San Francisco about three days out of the last month. In addition to cramming as many PandoMonthly events into the last month I’m allowed to travel before giving birth in April, I’ve been racing all over Silicon Valley, New York, and LA, meeting with investors, potential partners, potential hires, and potential sponsors.
Fueled by sheer adrenaline and a ticking clock — since caffeine and alcohol are also forbidden — I feel like I’ve extolled the virtues of PandoDaily to more people than when I initially raised $2.5 million and started hiring a year ago. I dare you to sit next to me on a plane right now.
This pace is a bit of a problem, because I’m 32 weeks pregnant and supposed to be going to the doctor every two weeks. That’s hard when you’re never in the same city as your doctor. I managed to wedge in an appointment on Tuesday in between meetings and a redeye back to New York — thanks to some massive rejiggering on the part of my doctor’s office.
As I copiously apologized for blowing off appointments, I tried to justify it by explaining everything I’d been doing. “I just need to get all my CEO stuff wrapped up before this happens,” I said gesturing to my massive belly.
“You’re nesting,” my doctor said nonchalantly, as if I was describing the uncontrollable urge to scrub floorboards that many women fall into just before they give birth.
“What are you talking about? My house is a total mess. I haven’t bought as much as a onesie for this baby,” I said.
“No, you’re business nesting.“
Apparently, this is a thing. And by the look on her face, she sees it all the time. Hell, for all I know she ran around organizing files and calling patients to make sure they were okay in her final weeks before giving birth.
And hearing this actually made me feel a bit more… well, normal.
With my first baby, I did manage to buy all the things we’d need before he was born, but I hardly obsessed the way you hear expectant mothers do. I didn’t scrub baseboards, I didn’t fold and re-fold baby clothes. I did obsess about every detail of TechCrunch’s China conference and the business we were hoping to launch there. While most mothers in my yoga class were like “Get this baby out of me!” I was like “Please stay in! I still need to confirm a few speakers.”
But this time, the business-nesting has gone into overdrive — not surprisingly as my last company exploded while I was in labor and delivery, and the stakes for me missing a few days are higher with my own company. I have a panic to make absolutely sure everything will continue without anyone noticing I’m gone, the same way I hear about other mothers panicking about a stray germ being in the house when they bring their baby home or the walls of the nursery not being the exact right shade of pink.
There’s something comforting in knowing that this evolutionary urge didn’t skip me completely, as well as knowing that it can morph into something that helps compensate for the things I’m truly most concerned about.
Like a lot of women, I put off having kids for a long time out of a fear that I would lose some competitive edge. Worse, that my voracious love of work would be replaced by some Stepford-like desire to cook, clean, and stay home all day with a baby. The hormones that surge through your system as a pregnant woman are powerful, but that doesn’t mean they turn all of us into the exact same pregnant woman, as much as decades of TV and movies would have you believe.
For any women in tech out there worried about the same thing, apparently your hormones can also make you an ALWAYS BE CLOSING machine that even David Mamet would marvel at. As our director of operations said last night upon signing contracts on another sponsorship, “That business nesting thing is serving us well.”