In Emma Keller's new book, she examines seven women who led fulfilling lives with high-powered careers. Then they decided to step back to have a family.
Then they were faced with a question that thousands of women have struggled with: As far as careers go, is there career after birth?
Each chose to try to get back into the working world they left behind despite the many extra challenges that a family brings. They all succeeded and Keller's book tells how.
Read an excerpt from the book below, and also read other excerpts featured on "Good Morning America" by clicking here.
You can have it all, but not all at once. - Arlene Cadozo
I was thirty-two when my first book was published in 1993. This is my second book. I haven't been working on it for fifteen years, but it does contain much of my experience from that time. To put it another way, if it weren't for those fifteen years, this book wouldn't exist.
My first book?a biography of Winnie Mandela?took me three years to write. During that time I did nothing but work on the book. No vacations, no romances, not much social life. My work was my world, and when it was published I felt a sense of loss as well as achievement. I used to tell people that handing in a book was my version of having a baby. I now had something concrete to show for all that gestation, but I was suffering from a little postpartum depression. I forced the metaphor still further by describing my book party as the equivalent of a wedding celebration. I remember getting dressed for it in a little black dress, black tights, and black heels and joking that it was cool to wear black instead of white. Instead of being married with children, I was celebrating being a successful single career woman. And that was fine. When you're thirty-two years old, that is absolutely fine.
I had always taken my work seriously, but until the book I had managed to have a vigorous social life as well. My first job in journalism was in the eighties at Roll Call newspaper in Washington, D.C., staffed mainly by twenty-somethings who didn't take themselves very seriously. The mandate of our weekly paper was to cover the Congress for the Congress. The mandate of our newsroom was to joke about the Congress for our own pleasure. My beat was to cover women members and wives of members. It was my idea. I wanted to explore the role of the wife in the changing world of late-twentiethcentury Washington.
That same idea lay behind the appeal of covering Winnie Mandela's trial in South Africa in 1990. I had long left Roll Call, first to a brief stint in the press office of Al Gore's 1988 presidential campaign and then to ABC News's Washington bureau. By the time I got to South Africa at the end of 1989, I had decided to become a freelance journalist. I only wanted to write about what I was interested in. And Winnie Mandela's life incorporated everything I liked to cover? women, politics, and crime. Writing a book about her at the end of her trial was a logical next step.