The Pregnant Professor
Pregnancy and pending parenthood adds a whole other level fo crazy to first semester faculty-dom. I wasn't fully aware how growing a baby in your belly can translate into joining a world full of emotions, fiercely divided sects ("BABYWEAR OR ELSE!"), and unexpected adventures. On the one hand, I think it's wonderful that the human community wants to participate in protecting a growing life. On the other, this translates to people imposing their own perspectives, preferences, and political views on your body and also the developing tiny little human who has no idea what is going on. Get out of my uterus, y'all.
Lecturing through Morning Sickness.
Is there a professional, chill way to cope with morning sickness while lecturing? If so, I haven't found it yet. I know I am lucky to be at a women's college that supports the unique experiences of womanhood. My students tend to be accepting of hiccups due to unforeseen and unavoidable challenges. At the same time, I struggle with this internal battle of what it is to be professional -- a perfectionist ideal of maintaining productivity, while also somehow being the A+ pregnant mom. 'I fit in a one-mile jog after submitting a paper for publication and transforming my students lives with a ground-breaking class session.'
I can only imagine that this is just an appetizer for the internal conflict buffet coming my way as a working mother...egads.
Inappropriate Line of Questioning.
Four people have asked me some variation of "Did you want this child?"
When is this ever an acceptable question to ask a colleague with whom you only have a professional relationship? Are you ready to mop me up if I collapse in a puddle of tears screaming "NOOOO!" or are you ready for the side eye from hell I'm going to give you when I respond that I very much so wanted and tried and planned for this little guy?
Beyond that, I have had to try my darndest to find a nice way to tell folks "No, you cannot call me baby mama now that I'm pregnant." I won't even go into my rant about the socio-cultural implications underlying that one.
The Bright Side.
The benefit of all of this? I'm learning more about my deep priorities than ever before. Above and beyond the things I'd LIKE to be able to do and think I SHOULD do, I am seeking out the things I truly value most. Without a surplus of energy to go around -- I have to be choosy. What's left over are the things that matter: time for my family, research writing, and teaching. Everything else takes a back seat.