When Dr. Mrs. GZ* finally got pregnant, one of the more scary days of my life was telling my PI. I was a postdoc at the time. I had been around a couple of years, and was pretty sure that my boss was going to be cool. But there was a bit of uncertainty. Had I just "ruined" my career? Would my funding go away? And would my j-o-b follow right behind???
I think everything worked out OK. Yes, there were a few months that shit was slow. But I got caught up on my sleep and grouped my poop**. I thought I was pretty efficient before the kiddo. But I have turned it up a notch. I found a way to get everything done AND have a baby in my life. I wrote a K99, it got funded, then I published some papers, went out on the job market, and started my own lab. And hell, I just submitted my very own R01.
Five years later*** I am not sure I have the work/life "balance" thing figured out. Mini-G is awesome, and I can't imagine my life without her. You know what I can imagine? How terrifying it must be to go out looking for a postdoc/other job when you are pregnant. There is a fantastic, and important post over at Chemical BiLOLogy about this. You should go read. Now. I'll wait.
I was lucky. My postdoc advisor was freaking fantastic. When I told him my wife was pregnant he gave me a big hug. Then high-5. It was the most positive reaction I ever got from him****. I know this is not always the norm. I had it good, and if I ever have pregnant postdocs/students I want to behave the same way. I can do these things that make it OK to be a woman that has children in academia. But there has to be more. Right? Because if we want to keep women in the academic world, it HAS to be OK to have kids while you are in the "early" part of your career, especially when you are a postdoc.
Please go back over to Chemical BiLOLogy and add your ideas about how, as a community, we can make it OK to be a #scimom. What projects/programs need to exist to make this a more reasonable career path?
*Wow. I need to get a better pseud for my wife.
**Thank you, Namnezia for this hilarious version of "get your shit together"
****I was told, at that moment, that raising a child is "The most important thing you will ever do".