June 3, 2009

I’m an untenured professor at a large university. Rocks. I study rocks; I’m a geologist. I travel all over the world to look at…rocks. I’m going up for tenure in October. Do I have enough papers, grants, teaching points, etc…? I don’t know. I’m not stressing over this. Should I be?


You all know I took my littlest one to India but there is an emptyness that still surrounds me. Norah is not here. Today someone asked how many kids I had. I said only 3, I don’t feel the need to explain to someone I’ll never talk to again about Norah. She noted the gap in ages between my son and the littlest one. I just said yes, there is a gap. But I wanted to scream the heart had been broken during those years and my emotions scattered to the wind….but I just sat there.


I work in a building with physicists. Yesterday a married couple gave the look at the little one. You know the look. The one where you stare at something because you really want it with a dreamy look in your eyes. In academia, normally the look is giving because professors are so stressed out and overworked that they do not have time for children. They obviously wanted to have a child as they smiled and stared at her. I didn’t say anything just watched. They could be trying to conceive or could have lost a child. But I know that look. I used to look at babies when pregnant with the little one and long for what I couldn’t have…Norah. And prayed that I would be able to hold the one I was carrying alive in my arms.

I often get asked in academia, what is the best time to have babies. The answer is “no time is the best”. With all the requirements that we have there is always something to do….no perfect time. So my advice is to go for when you feel ready because you are never going to find the best time.


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