Episode 07

Parenting, pregnancy & quality data

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There are countless things that keep parents up at night - from what a pregnant person can eat, to whether it’s better to co-sleep or sleep train, to screen time guidelines and everything in between.

What makes it harder is there are tons of opinions or parenting methods that make us question whether we’re doing it “right.”

This often causes fear and stress, especially for first-time parents who haven’t experienced parenthood yet and are relying on sources that may not be suitable for their personal circumstances.

Our guest today realized during her own pregnancy that so much of the conventional wisdom isn’t actually backed by data - so she decided to apply an data-driven academic approach to pregnancy and early parenting topics.

In today’s episode, we welcome the brilliant Emily Oster to talk about her experience and work in the parenting space.

Emily is an economics professor at Brown University, has written multiple books on pregnancy and parenting and publishes the well known ParentData newsletter to address every parenting topic you can think of. She was also named to TIME’s most influential people list in 2022.

We cover her experience in academia, being one of the most trusted voices on parenting and pregnancy and how being in the public eye has impacted her work.

We also ran through a few rapid fire questions that you all submitted when we first announced she’d be on the podcast.


Disclaimer: This podcast transcript is autogenerated and may contain minor errors or discrepancies. 

Allison: Hi Emily! Thank you so much for joining us on The False Tradeoff.

Emily: I'm excited to be here!

Allison: I am actually fangirling right now because I started reading your books, following you on Instagram way back, gosh. I mean, that would have been eight years ago when I was first pregnant and now I'm still in that sort of early parenthood journey. And so I'm really excited to have you here.

I have so many questions, but I'm gonna try and get through everything. And I wanna really focus on your why because I'm on parent data. I read a lot about your specific advice about those topics. But I am more interested in like all of the things around you and why you chose certain things and built your business in a certain way.

I wanna start with your public persona because when I was doing background research on you, you know, you could have taken this very traditional path of focus on certain research topics. You've got a PhD from Harvard, a professor Brown.

What happened to get you down this path. And like, all of a sudden you are this parenting expert. And I know your original story of you were pregnant. You realized that there's a lot that's out there that isn't based on data, but that has expanded fairly dramatically and you are now a very public person. What has surprised you the most about that? And how did you get to this point?

Emily: I don't know, what could it be? Haha. Yeah, so I think you're sort of right that there's a story that I talk about a lot, which is like I got pregnant, I wrote the first book, and that's right, that's kind of the beginning.

But the last probably, like maybe four years really since the pandemic have been quite different. I think part of what happened is at the beginning of the pandemic I started Parent Data as a newsletter, not anticipating the pandemic, I wanna be clear. It was January, 2020.

Allison: Yeah.

Emily: It very rapidly turned into something that was much more about COVID. And I think I sort of, at that point, there were a lot of people who had been in my audience because of the books, who were sort of like trapped at home with their babies or trapped at home pregnant. And I think I was kind of there in a moment that was helpful. And I think that changed very much how I saw my ability to reach people and what we might be able to do with this platform. It also grew the platform quite a lot and you know, I'm now in a place that's very, very different.

Um, what has surprised me? I mean, I told my husband last night, we were getting ready for bed and I was like, you know, like I'm a person who runs a company that offers health insurance and he was just like, that blows my mind. It was like, that was for me, like that's a way to summarize. Like I have no idea how I, like, I can tell you all the steps, but just sort of wake up in the morning and be like…

Allison: Haha, yes.

Emily: I thought I was just gonna be a professor my whole life and write these papers, which I love doing and it's still a part of what I do with my time, but to sort of wake up in the morning and realize I run a company with people with health insurance is just crazy.

Allison: Right. And talking about that COVID moment, because for me, actually, I was pregnant and I was following you in that moment in early COVID so closely to the point that you had this framework around decision-making that I'm sure you continue to reference all the time, but I feel like that's when I first heard about that framework of everything is risk reward. We actually ended up as a result of that. I would send, and I should go back and check what the link was, but there was a post you wrote.

And we embedded it into all of our content because we coach people through the parental leave experience. So while they're pregnant or expecting a child and as they return, and we realized we just should send them to you because your framework around this decision-making process, particularly in COVID, I found to be really helpful. I'm curious to hear your perspective on, you know, COVID happens, you then really lean into this. And for so many people who were expecting in that moment, it was incredibly helpful in a world where there wasn't much data to understand how to make those decisions. But it does seem like you've also, I hate to use the word pivot, but expanded even more so more recently in the past like one to two years. Is that fair to say?

Emily: I think it's fair to say, I mean, I think a different way to put it is I had, I went back to doing what I was doing before, but on a bigger stage. And so, you know, I like crib sheet expecting better. These are the books I wrote before, in some sense, like the content and parent data is an expanded, more detailed version of some of what's in the pieces that are in those books or the timeframes that are in those books. When we sort of got through the COVID.

Allison: Yeah.

Emily: The time when COVID content was leading, there was a question of, what are people still asking about? And I think for me, there's a very real sense in which what was so potentially valuable, what people resonated so much with in COVID is these moments of everyone was just panicking. Everyone was like, what do I do? This is new, it was everyone at the same time about exactly the same questions. It was, it's always easy to write because it was like, I knew what you were worried about because I was also doing that, right? I was also in that moment.

When I think about the parenting parallel, we're all in some ways having the same panicky moments with our newborns in our pregnancies and the question was can we sort of pivot the parent data stuff into sort of out of COVID into those moments where we can be there when people are having their own moment of panic even if it's not the same time as everyone else's and I think that's been you know we've sort of seen some success with that.

Allison: Yeah. How do you pick the topics that you feature in your newsletter, that you include in ParentData? Where are the boundaries? And how do you, as I was thinking about this question, I was like, I want to know if she's using data to pick the topics that she wants to continue to focus on or build out even more.

Emily: Yeah, so I think there's kind of two things I think about doing when I write something for the newsletter. So one is to sort of meet a question that people have in a moment. So some of the stuff is sort of echoing the timing of how I was trying to cover stuff during COVID. If you heard about gas, everyone's trying to make gas stoves and asthma, let's be in there and try to show you what those studies really say. And so there's a kind of responsiveness to how people are asking questions.

And then there's a big piece of it, which is the content that goes out in the newsletter then fills the parent data website and lives there forever. And so we try to think about the questions I get all the time. What are the things people always wanna ask about? And like, you know, my audience is primarily, I would say, kind of starting in pregnancy and going through kind of early, the early years. And a lot of people's questions are about health, development, some of them around family decision making. So I'm trying to hit all of those elements.

Allison: Yeah. What are you personally most interested in?

Emily: Teenagers.

Then there is another book coming in April. It's about complicated pregnancies. So it's sort of going back and trying to serve a need that I hear a lot from the people who ask who kind of come to me, which is, you know, I had this complication of my first pregnancy. Will it happen again? How do I navigate it? So that's kind of going backwards in time.

Allison: Okay, good. Is that going to be the next book after the next book?

Emily: I think there is a lot of really important content around teens. It's quite different than the, it's quite different in terms of the quality of data and the generalizability of the data relative to, you know, asking a question like does sleep training work? Um, so I'm not sure.

Allison: Yeah. Right.

Emily: It's as easy to get into. And so some of the ways we've been trying to treat that content is with more podcasts, where we talk to people about these issues, where you can have a little more back and forth.

Allison: Okay, yeah, I was hoping you would say teens because I feel like you're going through your own parenting journey and then studying it along the way.

Emily: Yeah, and it's I mean, and there's people who I've found incredible, who's, you know, work I found incredibly valuable on this. But there's almost a sense in which I feel like the book would just be like, spend more time. It's just like, you have to sit there for an hour. So with your kids saying nothing until finally in the last three minutes, they'll be like, let me tell you about what's what I'm thinking about. And they're like, Okay, okay.

Allison: Right, yeah. If you were to find out tomorrow that you're pregnant, what would you do differently than you did in previous pregnancies based on everything you've learned?

Emily: Oh my goodness. First of all, I probably wouldn't be married anymore because I think that my husband would be gone.

Allison: Haha, same.

Emily: I feel like if you would ask me that between the first two pregnancies, it was like there were so many things I did differently in terms of just not thinking, like just stressing less. I feel like I did an OK job with the second one. So I'm not sure I would have…I think I was pretty lucky. I'm not sure I would do anything super differently.

Allison: Okay. Great. It's funny because I was just watching an interview that you did where you talked about how there are actually multiple correct paths. Like we kind of go into this thinking, oh, there's one right way to do it. And I think even your answer to that shows that like, you made good decisions based on what you knew then, and you'd already studied this. And, you know, who knows if one thing was right or wrong, but you did the best with the knowledge that you have.

Emily: Yeah, and I think that the recognition that there's many right paths and that most of the kinds of choices that people spend all this time obsessing about, in fact, like, don't matter very much in any direction.

Allison: Yeah. Are there any topics in your work that you found that feel perplexing? Like you look at all the studies and you kind of come to us, the audience, and you guide us on what the studies say. I'm curious if you've ever been totally stumped.

Emily: Okay, so it's an interesting question because I think I'm frequently there are many topics on which I'm stumped in the sense that if you told me, can you tell me exactly how large this effect is? I would be like, you know, we're really not precise enough. And so, but in most of those cases, the answer is like, but it's not very big. Like, I can't tell you whether it's exactly zero or it's like 0.00001 IQ points, but what I can tell you is like, it's not big enough to think about.

The one place where I would say I find the data hard and I'm not sure that it's not important is around screens. It's kind of one, you know, and I have a sort of particular perspective on screens for little kids, which I think kind of works, which is, you know, basically some amount is fine and you want to think about what they're substituting for.

As we get into older kids and we start, and I don't even mean like teenagers, I mean even into sort of tweens and young teens and people start thinking about phones and kids start getting phones when they're little. I think we don't know much, but it feels like it could be really bad or really good or somehow I'm not convinced it's small, nor am I sure what the direction is really.

Allison: Yeah. What is your personal take? What will you do with your children with screens?

Emily: So I have an eight-year-old and a 12-year-old. My 12-year-old got a phone maybe six months ago, like around when she turned 12, but she's not allowed to really use it very much. She's not allowed to have any social media app, any apps of that, no Snapchat, no this, that, and the other thing you can text or call me and that's it. That makes the phone pretty boring, actually.

Allison: Yeah.

Emily: But even that, you kind of wonder, oh, well, everyone else is texting. Am I depriving my kid of some sort of social interaction that I should be prioritizing?

Allison: Yeah, but you're okay with TV time, right? When the kids are-

Emily: But yeah, but I feel, I actually feel quite different about passive screens than about active screens. And I think maybe that's for us. Like my kids watch TV most days. I think we try to think about what it's substitutes for. So you know, my younger kid watches more TV than my older kid because she's got a lot of homework and like, you don't watch TV instead of your homework. And you don't watch TV before bed. And that's it. But you know, they watch some TV and I think that that's not a choice everybody makes either. I mean, I let my kid watch YouTube.

Allison: Yeah, same. Especially during COVID, that was nice to be like, all right, I can let him watch a little bit more.

I want to ask you about parental leave, because that's obviously the space that we live and breathe every single day. I started parentally after I had my first child. I went on parental leave. I came back from my leave and couldn't believe how difficult it was to get back into work.

And I remember the thing that stuck with me is, we keep asking where are all the senior women? Why do we have a problem with women in leadership? And that's a very complicated question that has many, many reasons as to why. But I started to look into research around parental leave and the implication that it can have in careers. And I couldn't find a lot.

There's been recent research that has come out around the introduction of FMLA and how that actually hurt our progress to close the gender wage gap. But I'm shocked personally that for something that so many people, especially women taking longer parental leaves, so many people are going through this experience. It actually has a big dollar and cents implication. And yet there, as far as I've found, has not been a lot of research on the topic.

And I'm kind of putting you on the spot here because I didn't flag that I was going to ask you about this. I guess this is a two-part question. One, am I just missing the research that exists? And then two, from your perspective in academia, how is it that certain topics are selected to be studied? Why isn't there more research on this issue?

Emily: So, okay, so you're not wrong. I mean, I think if you sort of separate out, there's two things we have a fair amount of research on. So one is we actually have, I think, a fair amount of research on the impacts of parental leave on kids, and that's on babies. So if you sort of ask, what is the impact of going from zero to six weeks, or three months of parental leave on kids, the answer is it's good. That's good for babies' health, and that's pretty well established.

Allison: Mm-hmm.

Emily: That's quite a different question, but it is, that's if you said like, what are people researching with parental leave, it's that. Then there's a bunch of literature on like, what happens to women's wages after they have kids, and like, how do men's and women's wages diverge after they have kids? And the answer is they diverge after they have kids. And those effects are pretty big, and you see them after the first kid, you see them after the second kid too. But what there isn't in this space is a question of like, how does the structure of parental leave impact like sort of equality in the wage. And one answer to why there isn't that is that's hard. Like that's a hard question to answer.

I think the other piece is I'm not sure, my personal, and this is now I'm like speculating sort of from my, you know, talking to whatever, not from pieces of data exactly, but from many pieces of data and conversations, is that what, that's I don't think that what matters is for like your long-term wage and ability to stay in the workforce is whether you got four months or four and a half months or six months of leave. It is what happens after.

And I think particularly in the kind of conversations around how do we keep women through in like kind of high wage jobs who were like, we're trying to get them up the ladder. Like what's missing from that conversation is the recognition that like when your baby turns four months, it doesn't go off to like an English style boarding school. You know, it's like still in your house and it's gonna be in your house for a long time. And there's a need for some kinds of flexibility, which I think would scaffold better the kind of staying in the workforce and being able to continue to sort of try to achieve. That's something that we don't have any evaluation of that because we don't have any of that basically. And yeah.

Allison: Yeah. It's also interesting when you think about the fatherhood bonus. So like the baby is also still in the house of the father and yet he's making more money, right? Which is...

Emily: Right. Yeah, but at the same time, mom is working less, right? I mean, you think about what do we see in the Claudia Golden kind of greedy, if you read Claudia Golden's book, Greedy Work, and you see what are the dynamics that we're seeing in a setting in which work is greedy, it's that once one person steps back, it's for the other person to step forward, basically. And so dad's working. Everyone was working 50 hours a week before, now mom's working zero, working 20 hours a week, and dad's up to 60. So now we're sort of seeing that wage gap grow from both him going up and her going down because they're substituting for each other.

Allison: Yeah, no, totally. I think it's so interesting because we've looked a lot at, and you're right, there's a lot of research about health outcomes for the baby and also the mother, right? You just did a big survey that showed postpartum anxiety/depression is way lower, those rates, when there is longer leave. And I think there's also some research showing that when fathers take leave, that also directly impacts the mother's recovery.

Emily: Yeah, it's actually, there's some nice research in Sweden on that basically is when they let people take more individual days at the beginning, like dads, there's a very complicated leave structure, but one aspect is there are some of these days you can take like individual days, and when they had more of those in the first month, mom was actually less likely to end up in the hospital.

Allison: Right. Yeah. So for you, how much of your time is split between ParentData, teaching… What does your world look like right now?

Emily: Right now I'm on sabbatical. Generally, you know, I do some research, I do some teaching, I do some ParentData and depending on the moment in time, it's a split in different ways.

Allison: Is it a fair question to ask you what you hope to get parent data to be in the next few years? Like what is the end goal for that?

Emily: I think it's a very fair question to ask. So I would like to be the thing that you go to in the night that answers your question so you can go back to sleep. And I think that, I mean, that's fundamentally what we're trying to do is, you know, get to a place where when people who are in the spaces that we're covering, so that's, you know, pregnancy, early parenthood, that when people are worried, need help with a decision, just want to understand something…like hand, foot and mouth disease. I just wanna know, like how long is it contagious for? Why are they letting these kids come back to school? Why do they have these rules? Why does my kid get hand, foot and mouth disease all the time?

I want this to be a place where you can go, you can have good quality information that is based on data and that you then understand better and you can move forward with whatever is the right decision. And we wanna build that and we wanna make it as accessible as possible.

Allison: Does that introduce friction with the medical community? And how do you think about…is there a line between what you do and what doctors do? How do you think about that?

Emily: I mean, I think that there's, I guess, some of what we're providing has pieces of medical information. I mean, I am not a doctor and ParentData is not your doctor. And I actually think there's this very significant synergy between the work that we're doing and the work of say pediatricians or obstetricians.

And I think that's part of why a lot of pediatricians and obstetricians will say, I send people to your website so I don't have to. Because they can get a lot more deep in the stuff you're doing than I can tell them in the office. Your average pediatrician definitely knows all of the details about hand, foot, and mouth disease, but they don't have time to explain 3,500 words of details to every person whose kid has this.

So I think that's, I see that as the goal of the books, as the goal of the website, as a goal of all the stuff I'm doing is to make these conversations better. And maybe the information itself is enough. And maybe it's information that you read and you take to the doctor.

I'll give you another concrete example. So somebody on my team at some point called me at like 10 o'clock at night and she was like, my kid had a febrile seizure. She's never had one before. I'm going, we're going to the hospital now. I can't Google because I'm gonna freak out. Tell me what I need to know to talk to the doctor.

And that's where I want parent data to be. Basically enough information, like…I'm not gonna fix your kid's febrile seizure. There's a bunch of decision trees you need to kind of go down there, but to feel like I am equipped to interact about this and advocate for my kid and understand what's going on, because that understanding, that's kind of the key for me to being able to make good decisions.

Allison: Yeah. What's interesting from my perspective, because I am such a fan of yours, I read everything you write. To me, it's not only what the data shows, but you do actually provide guidance on what you should do. Like, it's not just, hey, this is what it says, and like, take it or leave it, do with it what you please. It's like, hey, this is actually risky. This is how you should think about this. Here's the decision framework. What are you risking by that?

That is, I think, where the magic is, at least from my perspective. And so it's interesting to think about how do you take that? It's not just a Google, but better. It's like, there's more that you're doing there. I'm trying to put it into words, but…

Emily: No, no. And I think it's, but what I would say is I think it's different from telling you what to do because telling you what to do is telling you the decision to make. I think what we're trying to do is tell you how to make the choice or tell you how to evaluate the trade-offs. And that's always been a little bit of the parent data, even in COVID, this sort of parent data secret sauce.

Like, I'm not going to tell you, do you send your kid to daycare or not? Or do you have the grandparents or see the grandparents or not? What I can tell you is here is how you should think about that. Here is the risk. Here is the benefit.

Allison Right. Yeah.

Emily: So yeah, I think so we're trying to combine sort of here is the information you need with here is some sense of how you might choose how you might choose to make this decision.

Allison: Yeah. Do you ever feel like you DO want to tell people what to do and then you get nervous and say, oh, I don't really want to go out there…

Emily: Yeah, a hundred percent. Like, no, I mean, look, I'm a person. I love to boss people. It's my favorite. And one of the things that has happened over time is I think I have pulled myself back on that more. And it's something that I think I realized more when I was writing Crib Sheet.

So this is now, you know, a number of years ago that as I was doing the work for that and realizing that really the message of the book was going to be, you know, there's a lot of right choices and all these kinds of early childhood things. And you got to figure out kind of how it balances for you.

It made me realize that when people are asking me for advice, maybe I shouldn't just list off things that I do.So I think there's, we all have the instinct to sort of say this stuff.

You know, my eight year old the other night was like explaining to me about something where somebody was watching TV before they went to sleep. And like one of the cardinal rules in our house is you don't watch TV like within an hour of bedtime because of data. And he was like, how do I tell their parent that that's not good for them and I think they're making a parenting mistake. And I was like, oh no, sweetie, we don't tell people that they're making parenting mistakes. That's not like, no, don't tell them.

Allison: That's so funny.

I want to ask you two more questions and then we're going to get into some hot takes.

So first, this is one of our favorite questions in our coaching program. On a day-to-day basis for you, what is energy lifting and what is energy draining?

Emily: Energy lifting is writing. I always love to write, and that's why I like to do what I'm doing. Energy draining is department politics. Academic politics are their own energy draining time suck. And that's, yeah.

Allison: Yeah. Hence how great you're moving slightly, I shouldn't say moving away from, but you're diversifying what you do.

Emily: There are challenges to managing one's own team. Uh, but they pale in comparison to managing one's tenured colleagues. Let's put it that way.

Allison: Yeah. Last question before the hot takes. What is the next frontier for you? You have a book coming out in April. What comes after that? Or maybe share a little bit about the book and what you'll be doing around the book and then what comes after that.

Emily: Yeah, so as I said, the book is about complicated pregnancies. It is co-written with a doctor, a maternal fetal medicine specialist named Nate Fox, who's amazing. And it's really a team effort.

So we talk about questions around data. For any given complication, will it happen again? But then we also talk about how to scaffold conversations with your provider, because for most of these complications, that's going to be your best partner in a second pregnancy. So I'm very excited about the book.

I'm hoping that we will both use this as an opportunity to help a lot of people, about half of pregnancies end in one of these complications or involve one of these complications, but also use it as an opportunity to make clear that these experiences are things a lot of people are having that we're not talking about, and we should talk more about them because it feels pretty lonely to be alone.

So we'll be doing a bunch of stuff around the book, like one does around a book launch, and then I don't know what's next. I mean, I think continuing to try to push ParentData forward and figure out what's the additional kinds of content I would love to, and we're thinking about how do we expand content into other, potentially other writers, other people who could do the same kinds of things that I'm doing for parenting, for sort of other parts of health or of women's health. So that's the big, that's the next step.

Allison: Love it. Okay, we are going to go into hot takes. So the context here, we have a big LinkedIn following. And we said, Emily is coming on the podcast, what should we ask her? I almost regret posting that because I was inundated with emails, texts, DMs, comments, like we have so many questions. And I was like, what do we do with this? So we picked the things that we liked the most.

So we’re gonna throw a few things at you and we want just like one sentence. Like when we talk about this thing, what is the first thing that comes to mind in terms of your hot take, your recommendation, first thought about this topic? So I'm gonna get going, we'll just see how this goes. We haven't done this before, but we're gonna try it.

What is your top tip to a first time dad expecting their first child in terms of how they can serve their spouse during the pregnancy period?

Emily: During the pregnancy period? You're going to be most helpful in preparing for after the baby. So use your energy in getting things set up. So it will be as smooth as possible. And my number one recommendation is to schedule biweekly meetings with your partner for after the baby, where you can talk about how things are going.

Allison: Love that. Next one, calming kids down when breathing exercises aren't working.

Emily: Let them sit down alone. I think we spend too much time trying to, and I'm not talking about saying it's a timeout, but just giving them some space. It is not always as effective as we think to actually try to forcibly engage.

Allison: I'm gonna have my husband listen to this. He's famous for his Dada talks and we're like, he just gotta let it go a little bit.

Emily: Yeah, my kids refer to those as long boring lectures or LBLs that my husband likes to give. Oh, dad's doing an LBL.

Allison: Oh, yeah, I love that.

Next question is on discipline. We get a lot of questions just about discipline in general. Are there places they should look, things people should consider?

Emily: The most important organizing principle of any good discipline or behavior modification is consistency. And whatever you choose to do, whether it is something like timeouts or closer to a gentle parenting approach or something in the middle, you need to be consistent in doing it. There is also a lot of evidence that physical discipline is not effective.

Allison: Medication for postpartum depression or anxiety while breastfeeding.

Emily: Yes, it is true that some medications like SSRIs will pass through in small doses through breast milk. There's no evidence that they are problematic for your baby and treating your postpartum depression is really, really good for your baby.

Even completely putting you aside, although we should never put you aside, the best thing you could do for your baby is to treat your postpartum.

Allison: Baby and children percentiles in height, weight, and head circumference. Do they matter? Should we care? Why do we even talk about that when we go to the doctor?

Emily: People like to rank their kids and they like numbers and your doctor is doing this so they can tell that your kid is growing normally. It doesn't matter where they are outside of very large extremes where your doctor might be worried about lack of growth over time.

Allison: Working motherhood versus stay at home motherhood and the impact on children. That's, I don't even know if I want to have you give one sentence on that. It's like, how do you unpack that?

Emily: There's very little evidence that it matters for the outcomes for your kids, whether you stay at home or work. And so you should think about what works for your family and for you.

Allison: How you personally think about plastic with your family and children and exposure to plastics.

Emily: We use plastics.

Allison: Great. Final one, and this one is a little bit vague, motherhood penalty and fatherhood bonus. We kind of covered this one already.

Emily: Yeah, that's not fair. I mean, not that it's not fair to ask me, just like, it's, you know, this is a very, like, it's such a complicated question. And it's wrapped up so much in preferences and what people want and trying to separate out the difference between what you want and like, what is forced on you and what society, I mean, I just like, I think it's almost impossible. You go down this road for five hours, you wouldn't make any progress.

Allison: Yeah, and that's my fear with this is like, it's just too complicated that we're never actually going to have a good answer because there's so many things happening and there's also a big socioeconomic component here and childcare and all of these things that how do you even begin to unwind all of that?

Emily: Yeah. And I think the biggest, for me, the biggest thing is you sort of thinking about how can we, how can we give people the opportunities that they want, right? Rather than saying, you know, sometimes this gets framed as like, how can we get more women in the workforce? And I'm not sure that's a good frame because maybe not everybody wants to be in the workforce. How can we give people the opportunity to be in the workforce if that's the thing that they want and how can we give them the opportunity to move up if that's the thing that they're looking for?

Allison: Yeah.

Emily: For both men and women, that feels like a better frame for my scene.

Allison: Yeah, I actually love ending on that note because I will say that the thing that resonates the strongest with me, with all of your work, the thing that really makes me love your work is that so much of it is giving us permission to do the things that feel right.

And so what childcare solution you pick, optimize for yourself. I mean, that is like…to most parents, what? Well, yeah, you know, like, and so I think so much of your work is showing it doesn't really matter. Pick the thing that works for you. And even the question about SSRIs, it's like, it's not going to hurt the child. So pick the thing that's right for you.

And I think, at least in my personal experience, so much of this world of parenting and pregnancy is like putting yourself aside for these really small possible risks when I think you're just giving people permission to actually optimize for what they want, which is wonderful, empowering.

Emily: Oh, yeah. Which ultimately is how we have a happy family, which is good for our kids and us.

Allison: Exactly. Great. Well, thank you so much for your time today. We will link out to all of this. I think the more that we can continue to send people to parent data, the better. You have so many great solutions, answers, and information. And I am thrilled that we can spend a few minutes with you today learning more and hopefully build more awareness around what you're doing.

Emily: Thank you so much for having me!