Red-orange cardi – Zara in Germany years ago
Scarf – gift
Dress – thrifted
Belt – thrifted
Wooden bangle – thrifted
Tights – TJMaxx
Boots – Dillards
Pendant – Anthropologie (on thrifted chain)
Since last week’s discussion on belting and corseting also delved into matters of pregnancy and academia, I thought it might be time to revisit this topic and give you an update on my experiences thus far. Now that I am decidedly more visibly pregnant, my ‘situation’ has come to play a more significant role in my interactions with students and other academics.
Unfortunately, I have encountered some less than encouraging comments from the administrative component of my home institution (where I am still a student finishing my degree), while I have not encountered anything of the sort at my visiting institution, where I am a lecturer. The two places are pretty different in terms of campus culture and institutional profile so I should not be surprised to have met with different reactions between the two schools. This has just confirmed to me (by way of a very subjective study with a very tiny sample pool) that there is no ONE reaction to expect when mixing family and children with career and academia. It all depends so much on your department, campus culture, institutional policies, and personal situation. This makes me wary of making any statements such as ‘having kids in academia is easy’ or ‘academics are totally unsupportive of their colleague’s family lives’. Neither statement is true nor false – it’s all relative and contingent upon a number of factors. So I guess a more constructive question to raise is what to do when your home institution isn’t the most supportive place it could be? Or, perhaps you have a supportive department, but not much in terms of a support system of nearby family members or friends – how do you manage to balance your childcare duties with your career obligations then?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to make parenting and a career work more smoothly. Anyone have any good tips?
A reader also asked whether our department’s reaction(s) to pregnancy influences our style and how much we’re willing to showcase our pregnant bellies. I’ll let E. speak for herself, but for me, getting dressed since being pregnant has been much of an exercise in continuing my pre-pregnancy style, which is what makes me feel most comfortable and happy when getting dressed. This means that I do showcase my belly as I was never one to hide in large or loose clothing to begin with. And wearing dresses from my pre-pregnancy days, as the one seen here, also means that the belly is pretty noticeable as the dress does not have built-in extra fabric. Again, it’s difficult to say how I would be thinking this through were I physically at the insitution that has made me feel a bit more self-conscious about my pregnancy, but being at a very supportive place, it’s been second-nature to dress as I want and to enjoy showing how my belly is changing week to week. I wrote this before about wearing a wedding band at interviews and how I don’t want to hide my committment to family and my personal life. So I guess my answer is that I don’t think I would stay or apply for a job at an insitution that made me feel like I had to hide my pregnant body for the fear of being taken less seriously (a majorly gendered issue since men don’t ever have to consider this when combining fatherhood with career) or hide the fact that family and children are going to be a part of my life. And so while I’m not changing my style now (within a supportive environment), I’d hope to be able to make that same claim in any environment seeing as how this is as much of an issue of gender equality and fair treatment (not having to hide one’s pregnancy) as it is a style choice.
And before I end this, it also bears mentioning that reactions can vary even between departments at one and the same institution. Which certainly seems to be the case between my department and the one that E. and A. are currently in (both at the same institution). This to just further enforce the idea that blanket statements can’t be made.
I’d also love to address the topic of students and their reactions to the pregnant body in the classroom since they are the ones faced with my growing belly on a daily basis. But I’ll leave that discussion for another day. For now, please add your voice to this and chime in with any thoughts on what worked for you in navigating parenting and academia! Thank you! ~ S.