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Babies of graduate students in biology

Fri Oct 18 15:23:58 EST 1996

Now that Jo-Anne has shared her story, I want to add mine in, as the 
view "from the other side"-those of us who had our children BEFORE we 
got into science.  I too had my children immediately after high school 
and started college when the youngest of 3 was 8 months old.  I'm in my 
final year of gradschool (I hope), and that youngest child will start 
high school next year.  As Jo-Anne suggested, one of the advantages is 
that it has kept me balanced-the night before my orals I sat through my 
daughter's 6th grade production of MacBeth, which put the next day's 
shenanigans in perspective.  But I don't think only women appreciate the 
balance-men who are involved in raising their children have also told me 
how cuddling an infant or sitting up with a sick child can put 
departmental politics in perspective.  

That said, balance is not a reason to have children, IMHO.  I had a SO, 
the children's father, during the time I was in college.  Though he 
helped with the children quite a bit (he called himself Mr. Mom) the 
emotional price I paid for not being "like other wives" was just too 
much. The word balance has within it the implication of being pulled in 
many directions, and I have always been torn. There's no way one I've 
found that I can be room mother, girl scout leader, etc and have an 
academic career, so your partner has to be willing to help out and to 
accept that you can't be Mrs. Cleaver if its going to work out.  While 
I,too, agree with JoAnne that my lack of "typical" college and grad 
school experiences has made me a better person and a more organized 
scientist, I certainly wouldn't reccommend this road to everyone.  And I 
too, cannot imagine starting another family as I enter my post-doc, 
though since I'm remarried, the topic has come up.  Knowing what a long 
haul parenthood is, and seeing my oldest off to college next fall, I too 
am looking forward to my professional career. 

But by all means-if you want children and understand the sacrifice 
involved (it's a word no one likes, but it's true-you do have to give up 
SOME things-whether for children or for academics) go ahead and have 
them.  I think the more family oriented people who are in science, the 
nicer the profession will become. I certainy think that my own children 
have benefitted as well from growing up with a mother who had a life of 
her own, and being surrounded by interesting people.

 A bit longer than I intended, but it's the end of a long week and I'm 
avoiding looking at my sequence results.

Julia Frugoli
Dartmouth College

visiting grad student at
Texas A&M University
Department of Biological Sciences
College Station, TX 77843
FAX 409-847-8805
"Evil is best defined as militant ignorance."
																										Dr. M. Scott Peck

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