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Another option to suggest to the chair is that you teach a condensed half semester course in person. This would probably work less well if you have multiple classes, but you said "class", so thought I should mention it. (At the last place I worked there were semi-regularly evening classes offered for half the semester, so that's also worth checking into if daytime classes have to run full semester.)

Congrats on the postdoc and the pregnancy!



You need to talk to HR first and see what options are available to you. You may well be able to take the semester off and put in another semester the following fall. If the policies are in place, then the department will just have to deal with it. Or, often, universities allow their employees (even instructional staff) to go on leave two weeks or so before the due date, for a month or so. But you need to have someone in the know accurately tell you what your options are, and that's HR.

We had our baby mid-March last year. The semester was extended due to COVID, so there was a little over a month left. I was teaching, and my partner (the birthing partner) was in school for an alt-ac career. It was a *very* hard last month for us both. I don't recommend attempting it as the birthing partner, and I'm not sure I'd do it again even as the non-birthing partner (and even though I was teaching online).

Remember that although the baby will probably be late, it could also be quite early; that 'month' of the semester is actually quite squishy. It could be two months. Or it could be two weeks. There's no way to know.

Remember also that, as the birthing partner, you will need time to physically recover from giving birth, even if everything goes smoothly and there are no complications. Caesarean sections are extremely common, however (especially in the US), and you need a few weeks to recover from one. Plus, during that first month (until after six weeks, really), the baby doesn't have a regular sleep schedule. It'll wake you up every hour or two to feed, or just feed throughout the night (like ours). That's exhausting, and it takes a lot of work to figure out the best way to deal with it to maximize your sleep.

It's also worth mentioning that you might have a very hard time with nausea, especially in the first and third trimesters. It can be so bad that you're not able to work (my partner was basically unable to do anything at all for 7 months of the pregnancy). Or you might be prescribed bed rest, in which case you definitely can't teach.

So...if you can take the semester off, I think everyone would be better off for it. But you need to talk to HR to see what options are available to you. Don't be afraid to prioritize yourself! You have to, because nobody else will.

Assistant Professor

Mazel tov on both the job and the pregnancy.

Seconding Rosa's point to see about creative scheduling for your teaching duties (or depending on your teaching load, taking more on in the fall - clearly this could work if you have a 1:1 that you could make into a 2:0 but not if you have a 3:3).

Also seconding Michel's point to discuss with HR to know their policies and protections. I was pregnant in graduate school and also looked into the policy when I did a short-term post doc do know my family leave options and both institutions officially offered something in the ballpark of 5 weeks of paid maternity leave (which is not enough, but it is something). I ended up organizing my time so I was on research leave and then research service rather than teaching service at the end of my pregnancy and early parenthood, so I don't know how they would have accommodated the 5 weeks of leave if had been scheduled to teach - but by their own policy they would have had to. So while we can all quibble as philosophers about definitions of fairness, I do think it is fair for the institution to accommodate whatever their policy outlines in terms of your rights to leave, and it probably outlines some rights. It sounds like you are willing to be really creative in working with them, and they should be equally creative in working with you.

Good luck with all of it!

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