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having a baby in grad. school

Sarah Boomer sarai at u.washington.edu
Mon Oct 14 23:38:21 EST 1996

I was asked to post this so please respond to:

jparkert at magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu

There is a thread in the WIBio NG that I want to reply to, but my server
won't let me post--they haven't quite gotten around to changing my posting
status yet; one has to put in a special request to post from Ohio State. 
In any case, could you post the following for me?  If not, I would
understand, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask.  Thanks. 

Jan Parker-Thornburg


I had two babies during grad school.  The dynamics of doing so was quite
interesting.  I went to one party with my first child (when she was a
baby), which was also attended by the wife of my advisor with her (their) 
new child.  What was fascinating was how the majority of the faculty
completely ignored my child while making quite a fuss over hers. Talk
about a double standard. . . Oh, and by the way, I started grad school at
age 31, so I didn't really want to wait 5-7 years to start my family--and
they all knew that.  The sensitivity factor really wasn't there.  I was
fortunate in being an exceptionally healthy person who could bounce back
from childbirth quite quickly.  Due to the pressures that I felt (being a
grad student who had just started school), I went back to work within two
weeks of my first child's birth.  With my son, I only felt comfortable
taking one week.  With the first, it felt as though the department didn't
much like it, but figured that I would realize that I had made a stupid
mistake.  With the second, however, I even had someone come up to me in
the hallway and ask if he was an accident or I had really planned to have
two kids during grad school.  From a psychological standpoint, having
babies during grad school is the pits.  However, from the time standpoint,
I think that its much more advantageous that having them later when you're
under more pressure (it never lets up, does it?).  Of course, it does help
to be an exceptionally healthy person. 

Looking forward to hearing more feedback on this..

Jan Parker-Thornburg


Jan Parker-Thornburg, Manager
Transgenic Animal Facility
The Ohio State University
jparkert at magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu

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