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01/13/2017

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anon faculty

This is a great post. I would add a few things as a new parent and TT philosopher. First, luck will matter a great deal. Our baby was premature, and we lived in the hospital for a few months (she's fine now). She then had colick. If you think you can do work with a baby who screams from 7-11 p.m., think again (she outgrew it at 4 mos.). Our baby sleeps fairly well at night, but some don't. Even a baby who sleeps well at night wakes up quite a bit, especially if breastfed. A baby who doesn't sleep well will kill your sleep. Maybe this is all obvious. I suppose I knew it in the abstract, but living it is a different story.

Second, I'm TT and comfortable where I am in the process. Having a newborn will definitely make your life more stressful. But it will also reorient your priorities, which will make grad school less stressful.

Third, if you were like me, and not very focused, you will have a hard time completing your program on time if you equitably share in childrearing. My sense is that most grad students these days are more focused than I was however, and hit the ground running so to speak.

anon fem grad student

fwiw: I'd be very, very curious to know whether there are any female grad students for whom this post will be relevant. I've wracked my brain and can only come up with examples of male colleagues who have been able to have children while in graduate school. That's not to say that this post isn't great; in fact, I'm all for more public discussions of balancing parenting with our professional demands. But it seems nevertheless worth pointing out that a "having kids in grad school" post will almost exclusively target men.

pregnant grad student

As a currently pregnant grad student in philosophy, I, like anon fem grad student, would be curious if there were any mothers who were pregnant/had infant children during their time in graduate school who might be able to offer a companion post to this one. The post explicitly notes that it might not be very helpful for mothers.

And while it seems like the poster is highly aware of some of his particular gendered and socio-economic privileges (especially having a spouse with both a well-paying career and an employer who is supportive of her family-care obligations - let alone having a partner to co-parent with in the first place), there is a concern that the poster notes that "being a woman and having a child can bring more of a stigma" that seems really crucial to unpack. I worry that a post about "Having Kids in Grad School" that is only from a non-pregnant-person perspective makes it sound like having kids in grad school is a more welcoming place for parenthood than it might be for all kinds of possible parents.

My own experience (thus far) is that my immediate mentors are incredibly supportive of me, therefore they are supportive of my work, my professional goals, as well as my family goals. However, I have elected to not disclose my pregnancy to my department at large (yet) out of concerns over the aforementioned stigma. Clearly, a non-pregnant parent or future parent can make a choice to disclose this information, but eventually a pregnant future parent does not have this option.

If no one has stories from other perspectives to share, I will try to contribute mine once I have some further lived experience to speak to.

Marcus Arvan

Anon fem grad student and pregnant grad student: Thanks for your comments, which raise excellent points. I would like to open up a companion thread later today or tomorrow morning to discuss these issues and/or invite female grad students and mothers who are willing to either (A) share their experiences (openly or anonymously) in the comments section, or (B) contribute a guest post to the series. How does that sound?

pregnant grad student

This sounds excellent. It will be interesting to hear from respondents (or to note if there are no persons with such experience available or willing to respond - two entirely separate issues that might be hard to tease out). Thanks in advance to the blog and to any potential commenters who will contribute experiences.

anon fem grad student

Thanks, Marcus (and for the series too!), and thanks pregnant grad student for your willingness to share your experience! I admire you a great deal.

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