I was travelling again. On JFK airport in New York I witnessed a discussion between two women. Both around 40 years old. One of them told her story. She told that she loves her work and is successful at it and that she gets a lot of satisfaction from her work and consequently her career advanced well. A child was never really an option for her and she and her partner prepared for a life as a pair.
Shortly after her 40th birthday she found herself with an unwanted pregnancy. This caught her on her left foot and she was not sure what to do. After some time she came to the conclusion that this is an incredible luck and emotionally started to arrange for a life with child and career. She did not intend to reduce her working hours and one of her first conscious acts was to register her future offspring in the nearby crèche.
She then went to see her boss and informed him that she is expecting a child. The boss looked at her and asked whether she would like to continue her career and would have an abortion or whether she would leave the firm. She was shocked and negatively touched, she wanted both. The boss made clear that this would hardly be possible.
After that the situation changed drastically. She only got mindless tasks, was assessed worse than ever in the qualification round and the promised promotion did not come. She had the baby, left the company, joined the competitor and there did not mention her daughter during the job interview. Nobody knows that she has a child. And she continues to be very successful, gets promoted and has both, career and family. Now simply with a bitter aftertaste.
Is it possible to have both? Yes, it is. But circumstances to achieve it can be very adverse.