Do women business owners have real maternity leave? San Francisco Chronicle‘s Karen E. Klein looks deeper into the reality of expecting moms in executive positions.

Kristen McAlister has moved up hiring timelines, increased administrative support and written reams of instructions for her nine employees at Cerius Interim Executive Solutions, the staffing company she co-owns. Despite all the preparation, she worries how the Irvine business will fare when she gives birth in late December.

“I will still need to look at the finances every week, look at payroll and be on the phone for conference calls,” said McAlister, who purchased Cerius 18 months ago and said it now handles more than 800 executives. While she can work from home, the expanding business requires her to travel frequently.

“I’ve wanted this child more than anything, but I also wanted my business more than anything,” she said. “My biggest fear is that I’m going to have to choose between the two.”

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