Monday, August 15, 2011

Why "the pregnant post-doc"?

I figured an entry explaining the title of my newest blogging endeavor was in order. One of these nights, I'll get around to changing the logo to cross off the "pregnant" part, because I'm not actually pregnant at the moment :).

So if I'm not pregnant at the moment...why bother with the title? And I'm clearly not going to be pregnant forever, right?

It's a convoluted reason...but here goes. It's a title that I identified with. The two seemed to go hand-in-hand. I haven't held any other position while being pregnant, and I've been pregnant a fair amount of time that I have been a post-doc. only 18 months (ish!). I just figure that the two together make for a bit of a unique situation, and there are challenges for undertaking both of those at the same time.

What are some of the things? Working hours being one. Grad students and post-docs notoriously work weird hours. Science doesn't stop just because it's the weekend or evening. The next being the environment. It's a lab! There are tons of hazardous chemicals, biological agents and so on. It isn't a strict "desk" job, so while the physical demands are by no means super strenuous, they are still there. Job stability. Oh boy. Post-doc positions don't last forever. Nuff said about that.

With my first child, I was technically pregnant during an "in-between" stage of my career. I'd been a post-doc for over a year prior, and had suddenly come into a loss of funding from my P.I. I still did some work in the lab, still attended lab meetings and all of that. I continued through the pregnancy doing all of that and working in teaching positions at the university and community college.

With my second (most recent), I was a full fledged post-doc and I became pregnant only about 7 months into starting the position.

Having said all of this, will I be a post-doc still when it comes time for another pregnancy? Probably! And at that point, I can cross off the the cross-off on the pregnant part :)

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