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having children and future as scientist?

Laura J Miller ljmiller at iquest.net
Mon Feb 3 22:40:47 EST 1997

I have plenty of time to worry about this, but it never
hurts to start planning.....  The prospects for a job
in academia are so bleak these days, but that is what
I really want to do when I get done with school.  My
question is-how receptive and how flexible are faculty
positions to the demands of motherhood?  

I was starting my 8th month of pregnancy when I went
to the Neuroscience meeting in San Diego two years
ago.  All sorts of people were coming up to me and
commenting on how there were more women that were
pregnant at the meeting than ever before.  Also, there
were a lot of scientists pushing strollers along through 
the bazzilion aisles of posters, so at
the time I felt hopeful that maybe by the time I got
done with school, the field might truly be family-

The timing of my first baby worked out and I am almost
done with classes (though it of course has taken me a
little longer than planned initially).  I would like
a second and am thinking of getting pregnant after
taking my quals later this year.  However, the second
would be pretty young (I can only hope) when I start
into a post-doc.  

So, my questions are:  how receptive/flexible are post-docs and
faculty positions to motherhood?  I worked in industry
before going back to school and I learned that the most important
thing is being organized and planning out the research.  Because
of this approach, I don't see trying to balance motherhood and
science as a conflict, necessarily.  However, others might.

I'd really appreciate thoughts on this topic!


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