I just read Penelope Trunk's Quit work for a while to have kids. Your career will be just fine.
I hope it's true. I don't understand how it can be true for highly technical people. I hope I'm wrong.
I took off 3 months when each of my children was born. I didn't want more time off–I wanted to go back to work. (Have you ever tried to attend to your biological needs when you have a colic-y baby? Impossible. Work was so much easier.)
But I've certainly worked with (mostly) women who felt trapped. If they took time off, they felt as if they could not re-enter the workforce.
I've been talking to some women who took 20 years off. They haven't kept up with the field. They are not employable as developers today. They certainly could be if they can learn a modern computer language, and learn how to write requirements without shall statements, and how to work in a collaborative team, and how to continuously integrate their code, and more things I take for granted these days, but are new ideas to them.
But, these are new ideas to new college grads too (except for the language), and the new grads don't have the same maturity as a woman in her 40's or 50's.
The whole point of feminism was to give everyone a choice (men, too). It's refreshing to read this, even if I don't believe it yet 🙂