Friday, January 13, 2012

The Friday 4: Strangest Things People Said to Me About Being Pregnant

Even before getting pregnant, I prepared for a certain amount of bristling and even backlash on the part of the professors in my department. Academia isn't always the most family-friendly place, and I've been at a number of universities where baby-having was looked upon as a major no-no for both students and professors. My current school, however, seems to have quite a different attitude toward the situation, and my professors have mostly been genuinely happy for me. 

(And, as a turn of good luck, even though our dept. apparently hasn't had a pregnant student for quite some time, at the present moment I'm only one of three! There's definitely comfort in numbers.) 

The reactions/responses of my fellow grad students, by contrast, have sometimes been unexpected, sometimes funny, sometimes weird, and sometimes plain bizarre. At least no one's come out and said s/he thinks it's an awful idea to have a baby a year before beginning work on my dissertation. That's not to say no one's thinking it, but . . . I'll give them some credit for keeping their mouths shut :). 

4.  "You're brave," said in a tone of fake-awe. 

Why, thank you! I don't usually think of myself as a particularly courageous individual, but I appreciate your - oh, wait. You mean I'm brave b/c I'm having a baby while in a doctoral program? I see. 

This back-handed compliment really isn't surprising at all, and it's in line with the general thought that most PhD students seem to have about being PhD students: that it's the hardest, most time-consuming, most stressful thing one could possibly be doing with one's life

Yeah, this stuff is hard - I'll give you that. And it is time-consuming and stressful and etc. etc. ad naseaum. However, it's no more time-consuming than working as a lawyer (or going to law school for that matter), no more difficult than being a medical doctor, no more stressful than either of these and a host of other careers. And last I checked, lawyers and doctors (and everyone else) have children all the time. I'm not saying it's not gonna be crazy intense - I'm just saying it's not like I'm doing something truly path-breaking here. 

3.  "Um, congratulations? I never know what to say. Like, when someone gets engaged, yeah, but when they're pregnant . . . . " 

Really?! You don't know what to say when someone is expecting a child?! That's not on par with an engagement?! Really?! Really?! 

2.  "Maybe you'll grow fat like a meatball." 

Courtesy of one of our German exchange students, this line was actually just delightful and caused me (and Jo and other people in my feminist theory class) to crack up. He was mildly perplexed that I had not gained a noticeable amount of weight by the end of the first trimester, which actually isn't surprising at all, but I assured him it would come with time. 

Jo's response was equally enjoyable: with a laugh of glee, she said, "Oh, I hope so! Instead of being a bean like you are!" Thanks - so glad to know you're rooting for my meatball-ness :). 

1.  "You're having a kid?" ["Yes." Pause.] "Good - I guess . . . I'm not at that point in my life." 

Oh, well, thanks for sharing, especially since you weren't a part of the conversation. I'm really glad you decided to chime in and assert that my having a "kid" is probably a good thing despite the fact that you, your most fabulous self, are not yet ready for a child. 

1 comment:

  1. Sometime I wonder how people open their mouths and say the things they do. Though I love the meatball comment! Congrats!!