The article in the Post surrounding my novel Meternity has stirred up some controversy based on the book’s title and storyline. Meternity is a term I made up to tell a fictional story about a working woman who fakes a pregnancy in order to figure out whether the work/life choices she’s making are working for her or not. It was not meant to disparage maternity in any way.
The novel was meant to be a lighthearted read. Yet, in the course of taking time off to write it, I got a chance to reflect on what’s important to me and what I’d like to achieve down the road.
While originally the word meternity was just a fun play-on-words for the title of my novel, the idea has since taken on a much deeper meaning for me and, I hope, for all those in the workforce. Now I do think of meternity as a sabbatical—a time off to take stock, pause and figure if what we are doing in our lives is working for us.
Please understand, I’m not saying maternity leave is a sabbatical. Or saying the two are anywhere near the same thing.
For some, the traditional path such as getting married and having kids still works. But for others, it has been disrupted and alternatives abound. There is no set script anymore… no one-size-fits-all plan that works for everyone. What I am putting forth is the idea of a “meternity”—quite simply to birth a life that works for you.
I have great respect for moms and know from many of my friends about the sleepless nights and adjustments that are made with a newborn. I am all for parents having flexible schedules—we all win when we support each other in the workforce.
I hope we can have a bigger discussion around the real work-life balance issues in this country and the need to develop deeper empathy and support for each other in all our choices. With so many women and men alike feeling overwhelmed and burnt out, it’s worth having the conversation.