Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Peer Pressure

I want to document as much of this time of my life as possible, but the caveat is that since I'm probably nearly as random as Mr. Random and have at least 10 things swirling in my mind at a's not necessarily going to be in order.

So that's out of the way.

Back to some of my thoughts/feelings/etc. upon first learning the news that I am "in a family way". (I love euphemisms...they crack me up) I seem to recall that my first feelings were shock, and disbelief. I mean, statistically, cycle-wise, pretty much everything makes it seem so unlikely (which sucks for the people that are doing everything right with timing, etc. - I am sorry) But a few days later I started to get a mix of feelings. Sadly, I think for the first 2 weeks there, I was feeling more worried, scared, and unsure than anything positive.

You see, as a PhD student, and a female PhD student, I feel like there's a certain "culture," if you will, that is changing, but that basically suggests the wiser course it to put off baby-making for as long as possible. After getting tenure preferably. Do you know when that is likely to happen? (getting tenure, I mean) Probably my late 30's. My advisor is 45 and still hasn't quite gotten there - she's close, but not yet. She started her PhD later in life than I did, but not by I'm sorry, but I've read too many infertility blogs to think naively that I can just "put it off" indefinitely, and then when I feel oh so ready, the baby will materialize. It's just not that simple. I know it works for many, but having kids is important enough to us, the Randoms, that we'd prefer to not risk it not working out by delaying it so long. Further, we wanted to be young-ish parents. So waiting until tenure isn't really our thing.

But I feel like that puts us contrary to the opinions of other students (my peers) and the professors. I feel like the students are going to look at me like I'm crazy, or worse, assume it's a terrible accident and feel sorry for me! (I should probably give them more credit, but that's what I feel like is going to happen when they find out) It just would be nice if they could be excited for us...but it doesn't seem like they will be.

And then there's my advisor. My boss. Before I even started the PhD program I talked with her about how we wanted to have kids, and probably within the time frame of my PhD. (think about it, I could try to have kids during my schooling, when I have a flexible schedule and can do a lot of work from home...or....while I'm trying to establish myself as a professor at a new school with a much less flexible schedule and more demands...what would you do?) She was very supportive and said that was fine, but warned me it's very challenging. That's fine - I like challenges. :)

Well, that seemed very good and I was so excited to have found an advisor that was supportive (many would not be) and when I first started (last year) we talked a bit about my 4ish-year plan and when I should complete various milestones. And then she made suggestions about when would be more or less ideal for having a baby. She suggested we wait until August 2009 at the earliest to start "trying" b/c then the earliest the baby would be born would be spring 2010, and after I'd completed all of my required course-work. This sounded very logical and was on par with what we'd been thinking originally - actually we'd thought to start "trying" in December 2009, so that seemed more than fine.

Well, then in April 09 we had a chat again about milestones and family planning (is it really her business?) and she said really it would be best if we waited until December 2009, so that I'd have the summer too for doing...I don't even remember now.

Then this past November I went with her to my study area and we had many long chats, and one involved family planning yet again. This time she said that the best time to "try" would actually be when I defend my proposal (which should be in roughly 2 years) because then I'll have all the major milestones past and will have nothing to do but write my dissertation, which will be so much easier. Uh huh. The way it works is I should graduate 12 months from when I defend my proposal. Which will also be a very stressful time in my life, by the way. So basically she's saying, delay the "trying" until the point when I should be most stressed out (cuz I'm sure we'll get knocked up so easy then) and that way, I will be pregnant most of the time I write my dissertation, and she only has to deal with me with a child for roughly 3 months until I defend my dissertation and graduate. I'm sure it's logical. It's just not quite on par with OUR plan. Additionally, she mentioned, I could consider waiting until I was employed as a professor because then I'd get paid maternity leave. I then told her that our school has a policy to give RAs and TAs (that's my job title) 6 weeks paid leave, actually, thanks. She was shocked. And then stated that I'd better have a TA when I had a kid because SHE wasn't going to pay me 6 weeks for nothing. Nice.

Well, clearly, without intending to, we took Option 2 - the December 2009 option. I just hope she isn't too unreasonable about it. And I hope I can still be a student next fall.

So the point of all this, is that, the first 2 weeks, I worried over all of that. And really just felt the negative, oh crap what have we done? feelings.

This week is a new week. I'm starting to feel excited. And like I want to do this. And that now is a perfectly good time. And I'm glad. :)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for delurking on my blog! And congratulations on your blessing. We started trying when I was earning my masters and working toward licensure in counseling, and I talked about it a lot with my supervisor -- who had a PhD and three kiddos. She listened to all my "what if"s and she looked me in the eye and said, "If it happens, you will deal with it." Turns out it didn't matter (jokes on me) but I did take those words to heart. Having a newborn, infant, toddler, etc. is never easy, and you will manage just fine!

    I also recommend reading Nicky at Grad Ovaries ( She had her son while working towards her PhD, and she's now TTC #2. She often blogs about balancing motherhood with her education/career.


About this Blog

I have a journal. You know, the real kind...paper, bound in a book form...nice leather cover. And I do write in it...every few months. I like it, but somehow I find it hard to keep up regularly. I'm at a computer nearly all the time, so I find it easier to keep up on this blog. So, that's what this blog is for. To help me journal when I'm away from my journal. A place to collect my thoughts before I lose them to the chaos of my mind.

Or see my first post here. That's why I started this blog.