There are two interrelated and inter-dependent contexts for this book’s exploration of labour law’s engagement with pregnancy and parenting: workplaces and families. These two contexts are and always have been interdependent, although government’s official rhetoric often suggests otherwise, by promoting policies as though they are a response to the (relatively) recent demographic changes that have shifted women from the private sphere of the home into the public space of the labour market (see Conaghan 2005: 27-28 and fn 37). The transformations within both of these contexts have been significant in recent years, but neither ‘spaces’ are static; both are in a state of flux, continually shaped by and impacting upon each other in ways that have consequences for all parties who operate and develop within them. The transformations as a whole raise numerous challenges for parents, primarily in terms of how they are able to manage their responsibilities as unpaid care-givers and paid workers, challenges that often arise and require choices to be made as soon as a pregnancy is confirmed. Even the announcement of the latter, before any dependent child appears, can, as this book will explore, detrimentally impact upon workplace relationships, to the point of relationship breakdown. The transformations also pose relatively new challenges for employers, especially in light of the increasing number of women participating in the workplace, in terms of how they manage the impact of pregnancy and parenthood upon their businesses and, at a wider level, in terms of the assumptions they are now able to make about the people, female and, increasingly, male, they employ. Policy makers are also challenged as they can no longer assume that care-giving can be, or will be, provided by women in the home on a full-time basis, and hence the

government is increasingly required to (re)consider how it regulates pregnancy and parenting/workplace relationships in particular and, for that matter, work/life balances in general.