Thursday, January 31, 2013

The pregnancy post

Since I would like to be lost in my theory reading, but am suffering from the pregnancy symptom of ah,there's not enough room in my abdomen for whatever is going on in there, I figure I should write my long-planned but as yet unwritten post on being pregnant.

One reason I've put off writing this post is that the Internet seems to be full of horror stories of being pregnant in academia, but this is not my experience at all.  Perhaps it is my discipline, perhaps it is the departments I've been in, but I appear to be at odds with the Internet, or at least what I randomly encounter on it.

For example, it never occurred to me not to have a baby on the tenure track, as all but one of the assistant professors in my PhD program had babies on the tenure track (and some had two!).  There were also plenty of grad student babies, so having babies and being an academic has never seemed unusual to me, as there were plenty of models (and their babies) around me.

Since it took my mother a while to become pregnant the first time, and I am like her in many regards, I was not willing to wait that long to start trying.  So, when I got this job, meaning a steady (and higher) income, and the prospect of staying in one place longer than a year or two, my husband and I decided to go for it (and it turns out I do not resemble my mother in this regard after all).

When I told my chair I was pregnant, which I had to do quite early on as we were planning a summer program I would no longer be able to participate in, his response was enthusiastic: "Wonderful! We had lots of babies in the department last time I was chair, and now the university has a real maternity leave policy!"  Responses from my colleagues have been similarly enthusiastic.

At the conference I attended recently, one of the grad students brought her newborn.  The conference goers were enthusiastic, and insisted the baby be smack dab in the center of the conference photo.

So all in all, this is quite positive.  This does not mean that the Internet is wrong, after all those with bad experiences are not in my disciplines or departments, but it is heartening for me to know that this is not all there is.


  1. My experience has been this. Everyone is excited and positive about your first baby. They love that baby while it is a baby and if it is quiet. Once it becomes a toddler, things are a bit more difficult. Academia does not love a toddler the way it loves a baby. People will tolerate but are less enthusiastic about your second baby. By the time you introduce a third, they will have lost all patience for you.

  2. Congratulations!

    And -- I have lifted your ethnography / language learning bibliography from that thread at Clarissa's, putting it here:

    Not sure how to credit, but there it is and all suggestions are useful.