Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I've been happily married for two years now to my wonderful husband, fellow biology post-doc Husband. Husband is an excellent scientist, working for a card carrying member of the Old Boys Club. Husband is planning to apply for faculty positions next fall. There was a time when I, too, dreamed of getting an academic faculty position as well... but in grad school I realized that most of the time the Old Boys Club doesn't take too kindly to female faculty (or even male faculty!) with "families". So I have long since given up on the idea of running my own lab. I'd rather be a good mom and a decent staff scientist than a stressed out mom who can't possibly work enough hours to please her (predominantly male) peers.

So here I am. I started my post-doc in June of 2006 in a well-respected lab. When interviewing for post-docs, I was specifically looking for a place that I thought would be family friendly, because Husband and I were planning to start one. When I interviewed with the lab I ultimately chose, there was a technician in the lab who was (very) pregnant. The whole lab seemed to work reasonable hours, and talked about both science and other interests. Good sign, right? And of course the lab does excellent research, there were projects just waiting for hands, and the lab was small but convivial.

After reading that it can take a year or more to get pregnant, Husband and I threw out my birth control pills the day of my grad school defense, and then promptly went on our belated but wonderful honeymoon. When we returned, I got to work in my new lab. I was pregnant within 2 months. We were extremely surprised that everything had happened so quickly, but ecstatic nonetheless.

When I told my boss, Dr. DNA, the happy news, her reaction was less than pleased. There were comments like "Was it an accident?" and "Better you than me." Not quite the reception I'd hoped for, but I got through it and could be happy. Husband's boss, OBC, was even less warm and fuzzy. OBC made comments to indicate he thought Husband was ruining his career, etc. When he realized the "damage" was already done, OBC settled for the closing jab "Well, you gotta a lot of work to get done before that baby is born."

But childless bosses aside, Husband and I were happy. There were more than a few trials and tribulations during the pregnancy, but no health issues (other than the typical pregnancy woes). Our darling baby girl, Bean, was born in April, and I spent the first 90 days of her sweet little life on maternity leave, returning to work just 4 weeks ago. I was so sad about going back to work, I would have seriously considered taking an extra month of unpaid leave (not that we can afford it), except that my boss, Dr. DNA, is so excited to keep my project moving that I think she would have started giving it away to our new graduate student if I had delayed my return...

So I'm back to work. Baby Girl is doing okay, adjusting just fine. Her mother, on the other hand is struggling to keep her shit together.

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