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September 6, 2023 39 mins

This week, She Pivots is doing something a little different. We originally planned to air a conversation with an incredible writer and actor - but she is currently on the picket line advocating for fair wages for her and her fellow actors. In honor of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike, we are sharing some resources to support all of the actors and writers striking for better contracts. You can head to the “Our Causes” page on our website to find out how you can support our friends on the picket line. 

In the meantime, we’re re-releasing one of our favorite episodes from Season 1. Tune in to hear about Reshma Saujani’s incredible journey that recounts her time running for Congress, starting Girls Who Code, and the deeply personal moment that led her to reevaluate it all - eventually inspiring her to create her current non-profit "Moms First."

Be sure to subscribe, leave us a rating and share with your friends if you liked this episode!

She Pivots was created in partnership with Marie Claire to highlight women, their stories, and how their pivot became their success. To learn more about Reshma and the WGA / SAG-AFTRA strike, follow us on Instagram @ShePivotsThePodcast or visit

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:10):
Welcome to Sheep Pivots, the podcast where we talk with
women who dared to pivot out of one career and
into something new and explore how their personal lives impacted
these decisions. I'm your host, Emily Tish Sussman. We originally
planned to air my conversation with a good friend of

mine who's a writer and an actor, but she's currently
on the picket line advocating for fair wages for her
and her fellow actors. So in honor of the WGA
and SAG afterstrike, we're sharing some resources to support all
the actors and writers striking for better contracts. You can
head over to our Causes page on the Sheep Pivots
website to find out how you can support our friends.

In the meantime, we're re releasing one of our favorite
episodes from season one that more than deserves another listen,
So tune into hear about Reshmas and Johnny's incredible journey
that recounts her time running for Congress, starting Girls Who Code,
and the deeply personal moment that led her to reevaluate
at all, leading her to eventually launch Moms First.

Speaker 2 (01:14):
Hope You enjoy.

Speaker 1 (01:21):
You may have heard of Reshmas and Johnny from her
incredibly successful organization Girls Who Code, or her books Brave,
Not Perfect and Pay Up.

Speaker 2 (01:29):
Or maybe you heard her talk about.

Speaker 1 (01:31):
Her Marshall Plan for Moms, or perhaps you even caught
her commencement speech for Yale this year. I've known Reshma
for over a decade, and her drive and passion for
change never seems to waiver. She's a fierce advocate for
women and girls and has never been one to shy
away from the issue. She's an inspiration for me and
for so many others, and her ambition has led to

her incredible success. So how did Reshma go from what
looked like the top of her career to dismantling the
idea of success for women and realizing that the ideas
of corporate feminism that she was peddling in her many
speeches was exactly what harmed women and mothers like her.
Layered on top of her struggles with fertility, Rashma's journey

to success is not what you might expect.

Speaker 3 (02:19):
Rashma Sa Johnny, I am a mom, the CEO of
Marshal MP for Moms, and the founder of Girls Who Code.

Speaker 1 (02:26):
You have had an incredibly successful career by any definition.

Speaker 2 (02:30):
Were you always so ambitious?

Speaker 3 (02:31):
Oh my god, Yes, I was always so ambitious, you know,
as my parents' careers refugees. So I was like an
Indian girl whose parents were like, you can be a doctor,
a lawyer, or an engineer. So, you know, education was
really stressed in our family. I also think we're a
very young age. I just wanted to get out of
my working class neighborhood, get out of you know, Schambre, Illinois,

and really always had my sights on like making a
difference in the world.

Speaker 2 (02:58):
So yes, what did you think getting out looked like? Like?
What did success look like?

Speaker 3 (03:02):
Well, I would say I think success looked like we
going to Yale Law School.

Speaker 4 (03:06):
Returning to Yale for our keynote address, first, Meshie Johnny
comes to share her journey and the wisdom collected along
the way with the class of twenty twenty two. So
without further ado, please join me in welcoming back to Yale.

Speaker 2 (03:17):
This Ross Meshio Johnny, Ver.

Speaker 3 (03:23):
It is an honor to be here. I want to
thank you, know, like basically finding the most elite institution
to accept you and validate you and getting there as
fast as you could. I was going through my middle
school yearbook and the reason why I was I was
in a very serious fight when I was in eighth grade.

I got beat up because I was a brown girl,
and my sister and I were bullied in school. And
she was telling me when I had seen her about
a few months ago, that the girl who had bullied
her at school had actually facebooked her and she was
like a mom of three, and she had apologied. And
as my sister was telling me kind of her story,
I was thinking of my own and trying to remember

this my you know, one of my friends, you know, Fudo,
who had take walked me home after I had been
beaten up with a baseball bat in the tennis racket.

Speaker 2 (04:16):
And so I was asking my dad do you remember her?
Do you remember where she lives?

Speaker 3 (04:20):
And so my dad had pulled out because you know,
I was coming home all of the yearbooks. So I
and it was like I kind of just relived that experience.
So maybe it was part of being in a community
that I didn't feel accepted, you know, maybe it was
part of again just this I just always I just
remember laying down on the grass looking at the clouds,

just waiting for quote life to begin and for me
to you know, I just never felt like I belonged
where I grew up. I will say that when my
sister told me that she got that apology, I was like,
you know, I had blocked so much of it out
that I was like, gosh, I did kind of relive
it all, you know. So that's a little bit of

that's where kind of ambition comes from. I think if
you are you know, especially I think a woman of color,
or you know, even if there's something about you that's different,
and you're in a community or a school or a
group where you just don't feel like you belong, you're
always kind of dreaming of getting out. And I think
in many ways that's where my ambition began.

Speaker 1 (05:23):
I think for a lot of people it drives them
maybe inward, like not to be quite as successful as
you had been. You know, you said you thought about
success being going to Yell law school. Did you think
about success beyond that, Like, did you envision what a
life would look like?

Speaker 2 (05:37):

Speaker 3 (05:37):
Oh gosh see, I think so. You know, some of
the greatest athletes in the world always had this moment
where it should have happened for them.

Speaker 2 (05:46):
They should have made that shot.

Speaker 3 (05:48):
They should have gotten on that team, They should have
been the first NBA draft pick, and they didn't. And
some of the greatest athletes always carry that chip on
the shoulder. So I excel from having the chip by
my shoulder, you know what I mean.

Speaker 2 (06:02):
So I always felt like, you.

Speaker 3 (06:03):
Know, for college, I had to go to the University
of Illinois because my parents couldn't afford University of Michigan,
which is where I really wanted to go. You know,
I never got into I finally got into Yell at
law school after three times after trying, never won my
congressional race or my public advocate race. So I have
a lot of things right, and I wasn't gonna let
motherhood be one of those things right where it was

like I wanted to be a mom and I didn't
have an easy pathway there. And so I am definitely
the girl who has her back up against the wall.
The thing that I feel like I've earned or I
deserve or I have worked really hard for doesn't happen
for me. You know.

Speaker 2 (06:40):
I think a lot of people don't.

Speaker 3 (06:41):
Realize that, you know, as they're like reading my resume,
But it's very true for me and I think for
me that creates it's okay, I'm going to show you
all right cool, like don't let me in like a
drive one hundred percent, one hundred percent.

Speaker 1 (06:54):
So you graduated Yale Law School and suddenly found yourself
on Wall Street.

Speaker 2 (06:59):
Yeah, New York City.

Speaker 3 (07:00):
I had three hundred thousand dollars in student loan debt
bush quote quote, I'm putting quotes. One.

Speaker 2 (07:05):
We all thought and yeah, we're all going to the DOJ.

Speaker 3 (07:07):
That didn't happen. So I guess it was Davis Polk,
you know. And I'm now a corporate lawyer, you know,
working in New York City. I was, I was naive.
I knew I love my first martch when I was thirteen.
I knew that I wanted to be a public servant.
I always thought I would run for office, and I
thought that maybe I would go back to Chicago and

do that. But I found myself in and I loved
New York City. So I found myself in the city
that I loved with a hell of a lot of debt,
a really big paycheck, and I never really did the math,
you know what I mean of, like, well, actually, you know,
it looks like you can make some dent, but you're
just me paying off your interest. And so I naively

just thought that I would like live New York fun
life and make a little bit of money and pay
off my debt and then maybe in a couple of
years and I'll just I'll go then run for office
and be a part public servant.

Speaker 2 (08:00):
And it just didn't play out that way.

Speaker 1 (08:11):
After her life in the fast lane, she finally decided
it was time to run for office.

Speaker 5 (08:16):
I'm happy to welcome Reshma Sojohnny to the program today.
Her name may sound familiar to you. In twenty ten,
she ran for Congress in New York City.

Speaker 3 (08:26):
In twenty twelve, I became an upstart in a New
York City congressional race. I swore I was going to win.
I had the endorsement from the New York Daily News,
the Wall Street Journals snapped pictures of me on election day,
and CNBC called it one of the hottest races in
the country. I mean, luck with a lot of us, right,
we were actively involved in politics, like Emily's List, the DNC,

we were organizing already. So you know, I'm thirty three
years old. You know, Congress Maloney is talking about retiring.
She was going to run against Jill brand Christen Joelbsenter
for the Senate. There might be this open house seat.
I'm in a job I hated. I've reached my final
for me, I don't, but I often make decisions by
hitting rock bottom. So I'm really in this job that

I hate. I haven't made all that progress on my debt.
I'm literally just, you know, a little piece of me
is just dying a little bit every day. And somebody
probably was like, oh, there's this congressional seat and you
should run, not really thinking that I would actually do it.
And I was like, oh, yeah, yeah, And you know,

I kind of work myself up into doing that, and
I just kind of very quit, and I'm like, I'm in,
and you know, I have a lot of people around me.
I'm fair very blessed about this, who like support my
crazy ideas and who are like, yes, run like and
I'm you know, And so I decided I was going
to run. And now she decides she's not retiring and

she's not running for senate. But now I've already made
this decision. And you know, Emily back then in two
thous and ten, no one challenged Democratic primaries in the
entire country. There was not one Democratic challenger. Now there's
this woman Rushmasa. Johnny's thirty three years old, and she's
doing what And I think because I didn't know any better,

and I wasn't part of the system. And as you know,
we had this little whole crew of people that were
kind of you know again like progressive politics, wanted to
change the world. We just thought we could meet every
voter and shake every hand. In many ways, it's what
Okazio did, you know ten years later, But my recent
turnout the way that hers did.

Speaker 1 (10:33):
When Reshma decided to run for office, it was twenty ten,
right on the heels of the two thousand and eight
election of President Barack Obama and the passage of the
Affordable Care Act, the country as a whole felt uneasy
with change.

Speaker 3 (10:48):
I mean, I remember Geraldine Ferraro called my finance director
and was like, she can't run. I mean, I had
all these women who I admired, who were just like
not happy about it. I mean, I remember I went
up to Glorious Tetum and she's like, why are you
doing that?

Speaker 2 (11:03):
And that's where I read a book after that.

Speaker 3 (11:04):
You know, women don't wait line, because it was I
was constantly told it's not your turn, weight in line,
it's not your turn.

Speaker 2 (11:11):
And here I was again this brown girl, you know.

Speaker 3 (11:13):
It's daughter of refugees, who supposed to represent everything that
we were talking about doing in this country, and I
was constantly silenced. But then we had this group of
like young up and comers who were like, go, go go.
I mean, John Legend did a concert for me, you know,
Jack Dorsey hosted an event for me, And at that time,
both of them were just kind of building in their career,

and I think we all saw the same thing in
one another. So it was it was just again so
much courage of so many yourself included right, of so
many people who were going against the system in this
really powerful way.

Speaker 2 (11:52):
So we've alluded to it. You did not win the
national not even closed crushed housed.

Speaker 5 (11:57):
In twenty ten, she ran for cons in New York
City but didn't win. In twenty thirteen, she ran in
the Democratic primary for Public Advocate but lost in the
crowded field that included Letitia James and Daniel Squadron.

Speaker 3 (12:12):
Really bad.

Speaker 2 (12:14):
I was broke, I was humiliated. I felt ashamed.

Speaker 3 (12:18):
People felt sorry for me, and I'm one of those
people I hate when people feel sorry for me. But
on election day, the polls were right and I only
got nineteen percent of the vote, and the same papers
that said I was a rising political star now said
I wasted one point three million dollars on six thousand,

three hundred and twenty one votes.

Speaker 2 (12:42):
Don't do the math. It was humiliating.

Speaker 3 (12:47):
It was not even closed, it was and it was
really sad because I really thought I was going to win.

Speaker 2 (12:53):
You know, really, I really did, because this is what happens.

Speaker 3 (12:56):
It's like you're on in the subway stop and people
like I've thought it for you, and finally it feels
like everyone, Wow, everyone's voting for me, like this is happening.
And I just thought I could meet every hand and
shake every voter, and I just didn't realize.

Speaker 2 (13:08):
And We've got a lot of attention, a lot of press.

Speaker 3 (13:10):
I'd raised more than enough money, but you just can't
beat the machine, especially in New York City. It's really hard.
But I also made a lot of mistakes. I was
so not comfortable being a candidate. It was just the
way I dressed, like the what I said, and I
just wasn't. It wasn't the same. I wasn't the same
person I am today, And so that was a very

it was a really amazing experience because I learned so much.

Speaker 1 (13:35):
I feel like, listening to you talk about it now,
people will be surprised to find out the next thing
you did was run for off is again.

Speaker 3 (13:41):
Yes, because that's what happens, right when you're like because
I you know, afterwards, I'm crushed, but I'm not crush crushed,
like I'm like, okay, like I did that wrong. I
did that wrong. I wouldn't have hired that person. I
would have done this. I can do it again. Now
I know how to win and run again. I lose
again that they did in I run.

Speaker 2 (14:01):
Again, I list again.

Speaker 3 (14:01):
And let me tell you the first time I ran,
I didn't cry on election day, and I would argue
that in many ways, I got over it pretty quickly
because I was ready for the next race. I had
like like an ambitious type a woman. I was like, okay,
I know what I did wrong, and now I know
what to write.

Speaker 2 (14:17):
And then on my second.

Speaker 3 (14:18):
Race, I was like, oh gosh, they just don't want me.
They just don't want to vote for me. Because I
had run a perfect campaign. I had no regrets. I
was me just like I am now. I you know,
had understood, you know, I knew who to hire, who
not to hire. I knew who was lying to me,

who wasn't lying to me, and they just didn't vote
for me. And that was just crushing because it was literally,
since I was thirteen, all I've wanted to do is
serve in public office. And it was this realization then
at thirty six or you know whatever, that oh this is,
this might not have happen in my lifetime. How did

that feel? It felt really rough.

Speaker 2 (15:14):
Also, I had a lot of you know, I had
a miscarriage right in the beginning of it. So there
was just a lot.

Speaker 3 (15:18):
There's a lot that happened in a lot of heart
that I had put into it. And so I think
it was just I think, yeah, I was devastating. It
was really devastating. It's still very devastating in some ways.
The second one was much harder, much harder. Maybe I
got more votes. I got more votes, you know, I
was again, had no regrets. It didn't one would argue
in many ways it helped my career afterwards.

Speaker 2 (15:40):
I didn't have a lot of enemies.

Speaker 3 (15:41):
I had people who kind of supported me afterwards, but
it was a little bit like, oh, this might not
happen for me in this lifetime.

Speaker 1 (15:48):
So you mentioned that you had been pregnant and then
lost that pregnancy on that race, was running for office
lining up with you thinking about beginning of family, Yeah, because.

Speaker 3 (15:57):
I mean I writ about this, I thought it was
going to be like the you know, Rose the Rivet
are pregnant on the campaign trail, and the vision of
it was just so perfect, and so it just yeah,
it was never again. I had also lined everything up
that I thought the baby, if I had a baby,
you know, in this moment, it would just be, you
know again part of the story, not not getting in

the way of it.

Speaker 1 (16:22):
She'd always seen herself as a mom, but she was
also socialized to believe that being a mom needed to
be done in secret.

Speaker 3 (16:29):
I always wanted to be a mom. I like lived
with stuffed animals all surrounded around me. I was obsessed
with my cabbage patch kid doll. I loved babies, always, always, always,
always desperately wanted to.

Speaker 2 (16:43):
Be a mom.

Speaker 3 (16:43):
I got pregnant while I'm like, you know again, about
to launch my campaign and I'm and get married.

Speaker 2 (16:48):
Oh my god, and I'm like this is great.

Speaker 3 (16:51):
I'm not like, oh shit, you know, this is not good,
this is not good timing. I was not I was
not worried about it. I was actually excited about it.

Speaker 1 (16:59):
You know, being a candidate is physically very grueling, very grueling.
Was it something that you took into consideration once you
found out you were pregnant?

Speaker 3 (17:06):
No, I was just like naive and you know, listen,
you know, and then I, you know, miscarried within twelve
or thirteen weeks, So the dream was very small, you
know what I mean.

Speaker 2 (17:15):
It didn't it didn't last long enough.

Speaker 3 (17:16):
But I think that I yeah, no, I think I
think I thought we could all handle it.

Speaker 2 (17:21):
But also it's because like listen.

Speaker 3 (17:23):
I think, I think I've learned so much about the
way people's bodies have to be built in order to
carry pregnancies and carrie, you know, whatever they're doing physically,
Like my curguit, Amber is just physically like meant, her
body is just so she can be you know, an
ear nurse and be on her feet as she was

when she carried Si all night long and with the baby.
And she's good, right, I never could do that, even
when I was pretty much on bed rest by the
time I headshot.

Speaker 1 (17:54):
You know, did it change your vision of yourself as
the candidate? Did you think that you could still run?
I mean, you clearly kept running, But did you mean
after I miscarried? Yeah, did it change your vision of
yourself in the role?

Speaker 3 (18:08):
You know?

Speaker 2 (18:08):
I think it did.

Speaker 3 (18:09):
I think in many ways it started what became a
bad habit of being able to compartmentalize pregnancy loss with
what was happening in my life, and so it became
the beginning of many miscarriages that happened alongside many professional moments.

Speaker 1 (18:30):
The irony of the situation could not be more stark.
Reshma did her TED talk titled Teach Girl's Bravery not Perfection.
It's a powerful speech, but in contrast to her personal story,
it's heartbreaking. The image of the girl boss Reshma had
carefully constructed in her head slowly began to fracture.

Speaker 3 (18:50):
No one talked about it, so I didn't really have
anyone to talk to about it. No one said to me, hey,
you probably shouldn't go make that speech after you just
walked out of the die's office, and I didn't have
a heartbeat, because I think there's so much.

Speaker 2 (19:03):
Shame and silence around.

Speaker 3 (19:06):
It's so amazing today that we even talk about getting
days off to grieve once you have a miscarriage. That
was not at all part of even the conversation or
of what people did. So in many ways, one I
think I thought that that was just the price of motherhood,
of wanting to be a mom, of wanting of being
a boss, a girl boss, that like, shit happens and

it sucks, but you got to keep on moving, and
how unhealthy and it ironically, it wasn't until after I
had my kid that I looked back at that period
of my life and I was like, oh, I was depressed.
It's why I didn't go out, It's why I was
up and down in terms of my weight, It's why

I was sad, you know, It's why I was just
performing in many ways. And it wasn't until the same
things were happening with before my second then I started
crying all the time.

Speaker 2 (19:58):
And then I was like, okay, but I didn't.

Speaker 3 (20:00):
You know, it took me a while to for it
emotionally to break me in the way that it should
have very early on. And you know, look I don't
think I had someone. It's my fault because I never
really I never really told anybody that I was. In
my closest friends, I wasn't like I'm going through all this,
it would just make it didn't.

Speaker 1 (20:19):
Work out, and okay, what do we having for dinner?
But you kept driving professionally, I mean even through this time.
After you lost that public advocate race, you went on
to build this incredible nonprofit, Girls Who Code.

Speaker 3 (20:31):
Yeah yeah, I mean I lose the race, and I'm like, okay,
then I'm going to show you. You're not going to
lect me to be public advocate to teach you know,
hundreds of thousands of millions of New York City pulic
school kids to code. Then I'm going to make Girls
who Could. At that time, we were really small, you know,
we taught like a handful of girls. I'm going to
make Girls who Code the largest nonprofit.

Speaker 2 (20:50):
In the world, teaches millions of girls. And I put
my head down and I didn't.

Speaker 1 (21:06):
Girls who Code went on to serve over five hundred
thousand girls, women and non binary students, creating one of
the largest pipelines for future females and engineering. What many
don't know is that before she hit the ground running
with Girls Who Code, she had the opportunity to move
into a senior position in the New York City Mayor's office.

This was finally her opportunity to fulfill her lifetime goal
of working in public service that she had dreamed of.
But she said no, and she pivoted into something new,
leaving behind her work in politics.

Speaker 2 (21:40):

Speaker 3 (21:41):
No, I didn't want to do that. I wanted to build,
you know, I really was. I really wanted to build
the organization. And I put my head down, you know,
for years and just learned how to be a CEO,
worked and having a baby, you know, and just just
grinded every single day.

Speaker 6 (21:58):
Twenty twelve started it, thirty thousand plus graduates in the program.

Speaker 2 (22:03):
Is it true that you didn't know how to code
when you started it? Now I'm like the weirdest person
to start Girls Who Code.

Speaker 7 (22:09):
Girls Who Code has proven time and time again that
we're about more than just teaching girls and non binary
students how to code. We are growing a movement of
over four hundred and fifty thousand students served now and counting.
Founder of CEO of Girls Who Code, Thank you, thank you,
thank you for.

Speaker 1 (22:28):
But through it all, Reshmus still continued to struggle with
her fertility.

Speaker 3 (22:32):
So yeah, I would I would go, I'd have a
miscarriage and then that I'd be on stage with introducing Obama, Smile, Small, Spell.
You know, I would have another risk caarriage and then
I would be there. I was in Utah with six
of our girls Smile, Spell, Spell, and so I don't
think that the closest my even my team, you know,
never really knew kind of the again, my private hell

that was happening behind the scenes. So it was very,
very very I remember one time I was doing I
hadn't miscarried yet, but I knew I was going to,
and I was taping something in Washington, one of the
big morning shows, and I was in the green room
with I think again I don't want to out her,
but a very prominent young lawyer of a very prominent

case that it ignited the Black Lives Matter movement, And
somehow we started talking and she too had just had
a miscarriage, and we were saying, like, how sick it
was in many ways that we were both sitting there,
me not having miscarried yet, but about you in any
second getting our hair and makeup done because in many

ways we were both social activist, and I think it's
doubly worse. You're a woman who you think you have
to just show up when trauma happens to you, and
then you're fighting for justice, so you think that you
also the fight never ends, so you just have to
you know, for me, it was for the girls. For
her it was young black boys were being killed, and
so you know that like wow, and what did that

really say about who we were? Because in some ways
you would turn around and be like, what's wrong with me?
You know, like this is not normal? But again again
now going by with the work that I'm doing now,
I tribute all of that to girl bloss culture. It's
like we have been told over and over and over
again by the senior, by women in our life that

are that this is the price you have to pay,
that this is what the cost is, and that I
did it, you do it.

Speaker 2 (24:29):
And that no one ever said no, that's not right.

Speaker 1 (24:32):
Did you when you were envisioning being successful and getting
out and establishing yourself, was it part of the vision, Like.

Speaker 2 (24:38):
How did you envision?

Speaker 4 (24:40):

Speaker 3 (24:40):
No, I feel like I had built everything around motherhood,
not getting my way of my ambition of the thing
that I wanted to achieve, and I never really loved
the identity.

Speaker 2 (24:51):
Like I remember, you know you can appreciate this, like
you know, girls of Code.

Speaker 3 (24:53):
After become mom my team's like, great, you should be
like one of those cool mode bloggers.

Speaker 2 (24:57):
And I'm like, no fucking way, no, right. I wouldn't
even put on a pair of mom jeans.

Speaker 3 (25:02):
I was like, I am not, that's not my identity,
because I think that there was a lot of like
being a mom is not sexy, not cool, was not respected. Right,
It's the way many people, like many people have always
hid that piece of their identy, at least we've been
taught that as young women, right to hide that piece
of your identity. And so I think it was something

I desperately wanted, but I also kind of wanted to hide.

Speaker 1 (25:26):
So did your vision of yourself and your professional self
and your professional ambition. Do you think that your vision
of yourself and where you were growing changed once you
did have your first son?

Speaker 3 (25:34):
Yes, well, because then I realized, oh my god, like
you know, because I was just I was just angry,
and for most of that time, you know, it's like
why is this happening to me, Angry that seemed like
it was so much easier for other women, you know,
Angry that like like this wasn't supposed to be my story,
Angry that I never got to really enjoy pregnancy in

the entire journey, and.

Speaker 2 (25:57):
Just angry that I just I couldn't ever really share.

Speaker 3 (26:00):
And there were times too that I would try to
share it when a reporter was interviewing me about, like,
you know whatever, writing a profile, and they'd never write.

Speaker 2 (26:07):
About it, never write about your anger.

Speaker 3 (26:09):
They'd never write about when they say, what's your biggest
struggle that you've ever had? And I was like, well,
it's been really hard having you know, a baby, and
I've had a miscaracter too. Never write about that. They
never probed about that. Now that's shifted, but I tried,
you know, to kind of put it out there a
little bit.

Speaker 1 (26:25):
Still, despite the countless mommy blogs, influencers, and podcasts, the
conversations around getting pregnant, miscarriages, and surrogacy are seen as
uncomfortable to talk about.

Speaker 3 (26:36):
It's like you rather tell somebody you have cancer than
say that you had a miscarriage. People don't know how
to react, especially back then, when someone tells you that
and it's really it makes them feel really, really uncomfortable.
And I think it goes back to the fact that
we have this archetype that it's so easy to get
to get pregnant and to keep a baby, and so
it's almost like, way, oh, what's wrong.

Speaker 2 (26:57):
With you that you couldn't do that?

Speaker 3 (26:59):
So I think after I had Sean, I think I
was able to look back and be like, oh, whoa,
there was a lot and to start to unravel that
with my therapist, you know, with family, with friends, you know,
and say, you know, I was not dealing with my
mental health issues. You know that I was facing from
the trauma of all the pregnancy losses. And then when

I tried to do my second, I wasn't much better,
went back to the all the old bad habits until
I had this one loss, maybe my second, my second
loss would sigh before I had my baby or second
or third loss, second loss where you know, I was
in California and you know, we think the embryo takes
I'm sure everyone who knows who's gone through this HGG

level is going up before it's going down, you know,
get the call it. What was then four in the
morning because it was seven am in New York, being like,
you know, there's no there's no heartbea, it's not going up.
And then I have to hop on a flight at
eleven o'clock or ten o'clock to go to u Utah
because we were announcing the US partnership with the Governor

of Utah with a room full of seven hundred girls.
Now mind you, I have been desperate to help a
little girl, you know, and this was supposed to be it.
And you know, I remember my husband saying, you don't
have to go, and I was like, no, no, no, I
have to go. And I go, you know, and I
look back at those pictures and it's just like I

have to do the whole thing with the governor, do
the green room, do the photos and d and then
you know, I just got back and I was just
off and everybody I was just being I was just
not you know, I was angry. You know, I was
angry with my team and you know, now my new
CEO member Treek of being like, what's wrong. And then
I just convened everybody and I was just cried. I

and I said, guys, I just can't do this. Anymore.
I need a break, I need to heal, I need
to focus on what I need to do to have
my next baby.

Speaker 1 (28:58):
After years of fertility treatments, IVF and more, she decided
she wanted to try one last time.

Speaker 3 (29:06):
At this time now I'm forty three. I'm forty three.
I'm forty three, and it's my last shot, you know,
to get those embryos right. And my doctor is amazing.
And so I said to my husband, I was I
was going to be done. And then we meet this
couple and this woman says, essentially like my one regret
is that I just didn't try one more time. And

I basically, you know, come back and I, you know,
say to my husband and my doctor, I want to
try again. And they're like, you just can't because at
this point it's just physically I have autoimmune issues. It's
just you know, blood clots blah blah blah blah blah.
It's just not and I'm not in forty three, right,
And so they were basically, Okay, we'll let you try,
but you can't carry the baby.

Speaker 2 (29:48):
Had that been something you'd ever considered before?

Speaker 3 (29:51):
No, Because superpower Raschma wanted to basically show everybody that
I could do it, you know, myself more than anybody.
But then I was like, okay, I will not try
to put my body through this anymore and sacrifice my life.
And I will and of course do my IVF cycle
and at forty three I get these four beautiful, healthy embryos,

of which one is now my son. But it was
this really you know, incredible lesson of just letting go,
you know, first letting go of having to have this
trauma and holding it on my own, letting go of
the fact that maybe my body is not built to
carry a baby, and that is okay. But I think
it's also for me a story of like I never

give up, and I tell people all this time because
now it's so beautiful. And I think part of why
I share this too is like literally I probably coach
for five six families women a week who just DM
me on Instagram who are going through their fertility struggles
and because you know, I didn't have that, and so
I want people to have someone that even if it's
a stranger, you know that they DM on LinkedIn or Instagram,

that can be there. But I I always say to
people like, if you want to become a mother. You
will become one. It may not be in the way
that you think it's going to be, but you know
you can. And I think this goes to probably the end,
which is why it's so I think COVID was such
an eye opener for me, and just again the fact
that I had been building and grinding and building and
grinding and never really seeing my kids that I had

worked so hard to actually see because I had again
bought into this culture that like, that's a sacrifice that
you pay to be a working mom.

Speaker 1 (31:29):
So your new book pay Up, Yeah, really gets to
the heart of this. It's not we can't grind our
way out of it.

Speaker 3 (31:35):
Yeah, we can't grind our way out of it. And
the fact that, like, we don't have to hide from
our death. I mean, I wanted so desperately to be
a mother, and then when I was a mother, I
let culture take that away from me. I let workplaces
take that away from me. I let the government basically
say you've got no support for doing that.

Speaker 1 (31:49):
I want to pause here because I think it's important
to highlight this pivot. I think it's a moment that
many of us have been slowly realizing that we just
can't have it all, And even for someone like Reshma,
who's such a fierce advocate for women, it took years
for her to fully understand this, and despite the gut
wrenching loss of each pregnancy, she still felt it necessary

to push further and harder in her career until she broke.

Speaker 3 (32:16):
And I think the whole point is where it's being
given a false choice and that we all think it's
just like I thought it was my personal problem that
I had to basically fix and solve and I didn't
need any support or help from anybody. I was wrong here.
I think so many moms think, well, it's my problem.
If I'm not able to balance my job and my
care taking responsibilities, it's my problem. If my husband is

not doing his part, it's my problem, right if my
employer doesn't you know, No, it's not it's not you.
There's nothing wrong with you. There's something wrong with the system.
And the whole idea of trying to fix the system
and not fix the woman. I mean everything, Emily, everything
we read, and again these are from women I admire
and I was one of them, Like you know, from
Confidence Code to Lean Into, like every single women's leadership

book is about fixing you. And that's why women come
to us and say, I have imposter syndrome?

Speaker 2 (33:04):
What do I do?

Speaker 3 (33:05):
I don't have confidence? What should I do? And it's like, no, no, no,
there's nothing wrong with you. There's something wrong with the system,
with the structure. And so it's kind of wild because
we need to have a radically different We need to
have a radically different conversation than we are having, you know,
in workplaces in government, which is all about the fact

of why do we make it so damn hard for
working women and parents?

Speaker 1 (33:33):
We really haven't reconciled those two personalities that you were saying,
the two archetypes.

Speaker 2 (33:37):
Of the working woman and the mom. We don't know
how to do it.

Speaker 1 (33:41):
And one of the mentors that I know that you
have among the people that you mentioned is Secretary Hillary Clinton,
who in many ways ended up embodying or taking on
the anger that a lot of women who didn't feel
like they had choices, they projected it on to her. Yeap,

what are some of the conversations you have with her
around the changing.

Speaker 2 (34:05):
The culture that you've written about in Pay Up?

Speaker 3 (34:07):
Yeah, I mean, I think in many ways it's like
they she struggled with that, and I think she the
way she led as a mother and a leader is
still the example for us. She never tried. She never
hid Chelsea. She really not, you know what I mean,
if you really think about it, she never hit Chelsea,
and she never hid being a mom. If you look
at her Twitter profile or her Instagram profile, the first
word on the top is mother, grandmother. So you know,

Sexuaryclain has always been ahead of her times, and this
is another example of that. But I think she's always
also recognized how hard it is society makes it for
women and that we do have this once in a lifetime.
She said to me, She's like, don't say you know,
please and thank you. Fight fight, fight, fight, Like, this
is the moment with a great resignation. This is the

moment with all of you know, the seller's market, in
the tight labor market for women to say enough enough,
We're not breastfeeding in closets. You know, don't freeze my eggs,
but pay for me to free my eggs, but don't
pay for my childcare. You know, don't stop pushing back
on flexibility and remote working when I've already proven that
I can be productive. You know, with caretaking responsibilities. So

I feel like she's always been at the forefront of
this fight. You know, there's some women I won't need names,
you know, who have never used their platform to elevate
this issue, and in fact, you have done quite the opposite.
Whereas you know, Sexuary clans always used her platform to
elevate this issue. Always, She's always led with her motherhood

before it was cool.

Speaker 1 (35:37):
Like so many other women, Reshma was crushed by the pandemic.
After her long struggle with infertility, she finally had the
baby through surrogacy, and then COVID hit like a ton
of bricks.

Speaker 8 (35:50):
The tame pandemic has created a significant shift in the workforce.
We've talked about it a lot, the great resignation, differing
childcare needs, work from home flexibility. Wow. A new survey
reported here first by NBC News this morning, is showing
the specific impact on women and the fact that working
women are experiencing a burnout epidemics.

Speaker 3 (36:11):
I mean, COVID crushed me like COVID crushed me. I
you know, started the pandemic with girls credits, you know,
Super Bowl ad. I was having my newborn baby, you know,
and then COVID came around and now here I am
locked in the house my partner. I'm doing all the
dishes and the laundry. I'm taking care of a newborn.
I'm homeschooling, you know, a seven year old. I'm running
the largest women and girls nonprofit in the world, and

that's almost on the brink of potentially being shut down.
And I'm I'm freaking I got nothing. It's just it's
breaking me and my entire leadership team are working moms
and we're all just drowning. And you know, I just
I saw clearly the issue that I didn't see, Like,
how could I have not have seen this, this kind

of again, this fact that we have been doing two
and a half job the whole time, and that I
had bought into this thing, that we were even had
a shot at equality if we just got a mentor
if we just color coded our calendar, if we just
raised our hands more without thinking what we wanted to say,
if we were just braver, and none of all of
that was like this what I called the big lie

of corporate feminism. And I had been selling it like
I had been selling it, dishing it out, And.

Speaker 6 (37:25):
This has really been your mission. You have for so long,
said young women and girls. You should be brave, you
should lean in, you should work harder. You wrote a
best selling book about this. Brave not perfect, of course,
your ted talk. We've all watched it. But now you're
saying pandemic major rethink this.

Speaker 3 (37:40):
Yeah, I mean, for the past decade, I told girls
to barnstorm the corner office, lean in, real hard, girl,
boss your way to the top.

Speaker 2 (37:47):
And I was wrong.

Speaker 1 (37:49):
It was so easy for many of us to fall
into this big lie, and even easier to feel guilt
when things didn't pan out as we were promised. Rushma
saw the problem and the guilt being play based on
women individually, and she now argues that the problem is systemic.
Her work now centers around this fight for culture change
with the Marshall Plan for moms. The ultimate pivot is

not just changing your career, but it's changing your mindset,
confronting the movement and choosing to live your life guilt free.

Speaker 3 (38:20):
I live life, and I don't feel I used to
feel guilty about living life.

Speaker 2 (38:24):
You know what I'm talking about it.

Speaker 3 (38:25):
I know you're shaking your eyes, yes, yes, yes, And
it's like and it's funny because I used to always
look at my husband, who is equally ambitious, equally successful,
and he never did, and a lot of men don't,
but we do as women, and so I don't want
to live like that anymore.

Speaker 1 (38:43):
I'm not living like that anymore, Reshma. Unfortunately were out
of time. I could stay here literally all day and
talk to you. This has been inspiring, informative, fun, maybe
even dare I say thank you so much for joining
us all.

Speaker 2 (38:58):
Thank you.

Speaker 1 (39:00):
Reshma is still working on advocating for mothers through her organization,
The Marshall Plan for Moms and with her book Pay Up.
The Marshall Plan for Moms advocates for women's unpaid labor
in the home and aims to transform our workplaces, government,
and our culture to enable moms to thrive. Thank you
for listening to this episode of she Pivots, where I

talk with women about how their experiences and significant personal
events led to their pivot and eventually their success. To
learn more about Reshma and her latest book, follow us
on Instagram at she Pivots the podcast. Leave a rating
and comment if you enjoyed this episode to help others
learn about it. A special thank you to our partner

Marie Clair and the team that made this episode possible.
Talk to you next week.
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