8 hours after giving birth my board gave me an ultimatumApril 12th, 2012 | BY Maria Sipka
In my teens I fantasized about having my first child at the age of 21 because I thought it was cool to have a young Mum. Well I delayed that momentous moment for 15 years waiting for the right time. That ‘right time’ came at the biggest business crossroad of my life. Quite ironic really. I had endured a 23 hour labor and 8 hours after my daughter Lyla was born I sat in on a 3 hour board meeting from my hospital bed and was told I had 1 week to raise US$1 million or my business would not survive the necessary move we needed to make to Silicon Valley.
Furthermore, it was expected that as soon as my daughters passport was issued and it was safe for her to fly, I would pack up all of my possessions and relocate to San Francisco. It took exactly 1 week to confirm the investment and another 6 weeks to secure my daughters passport. Unfortunately my husband had work commitments and wasn’t able to join us for 6 months so we had no choice but to hire a live-in au-pair – something that simply was not affordable in Australia.
Juggling a new country, an entirely new business environment in the biggest technology boom ever and a new baby was an incredible experience to say the least. The extra set of loving hands worked wonders and I can proudly reflect on those first six months to be relatively stress free, many wonderful memories and emotions of getting to know our daughter and the tremendous support of new neighbors and business colleagues was a god send. We transitioned from a live in au-pair to a 8-5pm nanny at double the cost. However – being a female entrepreneur and the incredible opportunities that pursuing your dreams can bring to an individual, I would love to see free or reduced child care for other families who have a desire to be in the workforce. I honestly don’t know how families survive with the cost of living and the extreme cost of childcare and it’s truly sad for a Mum or Dad to have no choice but to stay at home.