Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I'm so frustrated right now. Sometime last spring I had looked briefly into my school's policy on maternity benefits for graduate students. Novel concept, eh? I found various information indicating that I could either take the semester off, no harm no foul, OR get 6 weeks paid leave from my RA/TA position, but would have to take the usual full load and work the rest of the semester. I thought those were some pretty great options, and looked no further.

Well, now that I will have need for one of these policies, I've started looking further. And man, am I frustrated. I called HR to verify the paid leave option because my advisor/boss thought that sounded rather extraordinary. So did the HR guy. Who felt it necessary to remind me that I'm not really an employee, but merely a student even though I'm on the payroll. And don't really get winter or summer breaks. Or spring break. Yeah, I know. I get it. And actually, when I first told him I had questions about graduate student maternity benefits he had me repeat myself because he was sure he'd heard it wrong. And then promptly told me there were none. Because I'm ONLY a student. I told him, per the graduate college, there were, in fact, maternity benefits, and directed him to the link. Shock and Awe. Wouldn't you know it, you DO get benefits, but only if you are this that and the other (I am) to qualify. So basically, he read to me what I'd already found online. Thanks...that was very helpful.

I LOVE it when I know more than the people who are paid to know something. LOVE it.

So, apparently these so-called benefits, that may or may not exist, are paid by the department, so I'm meeting with our director tomorrow to discuss these possibilities.

This is all coming on the heels of meeting with my advisor today and telling her the news. She was excited for us, which is great. And appreciated. She went on to recommend that I take the semester off, because very seldom will I have that opportunity again. True. But I make as much as Mr. Random right now, and it's piddlings. AND, my health insurance is through my school. and to GET said insurance I have to be enrolled and a TA/RA. Sigh.

I'd just planned on doing the 6 week paid option. You know? And then she put this idea in my head where I could take 5 months to just be a mom and really revel in it and bond with Baby and then, next January start back into it. Sounds great!

But how would we afford it? She suggested living frugally on just Mr. Random's income. Hah. Hah. I just looked at the numbers. It's not do-able. It's just not. Maybe if we sold a car...which, theoretically we could do, but...when you live 30 miles one way from work, and there's no public transportation...cars are kind of necessary.

Obviously these things should have been thought about before we put ourselves in our position. I thought that I had thought about it, actually...so, oops? I don't know what to tell you. A good solution would be Mr. Random getting a new better paying job. Okay, great! What about the health insurance? I like my insurance through the school...what if Mr. Random's insurance doesn't cover the hospital or doctor's I'm seeing? I DO NOT want to switch in my 9th month! (I guess another thing to look into) AND, if I want to switch back to the health insurance in the spring after coming back to school? Well, you can't, it's all year or nothing. So that's nice.

Basically, it sounds really nice to take Fall off. It does. I just don't think it's feasible. But if my department won't pay for my leave...then I don't know where that puts me.

I'm just so frustrated with the whole thing and have no idea how we'll afford to live in 7 months. Which is an awesome situation to have a baby in.


  1. I'm sorry, that is a lot to worry about when you should be enjoying a new pregnancy!

    Can you borrow money from a family member to float through those months staying home with the munchkin? It can be a *really* hard adjustment having a baby (speaking from experience) and it would nice to focus just on that and not on school.

    No matter what you decide, remember this degree of financial stress is temporary. You are not homeless with no prospects. You have limited income while you are in school, you are building a great life for this kiddo. S/he won't remember being strapped for cash when s/he was an infant.

  2. If they have the 6 weeks paid leave in writing, then they should be required to do it. Go to the administration about it. It could be considered false advertising or something like that if they don't follow through. Don't just let it go because they don't sound cooperative. MAKE them cooperate. I wish you the best of luck.

    If I had my way, all of us women would get a few months of paid maternity leave. It's not like we get paid for raising our children for the next 18 years. It's the least we can do as a country.


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.