Sunday, January 17, 2010

A new year, a new outlook?

Happy New Year everyone! May it bring you wonderful things... luck, joy, contentment, success, etc.

It turns out I was far more worried than I needed to be about telling my advisor. I received a congratulations and even a plethora of advice (on childcare, etc.)! Needless to say I hope my productivity lives up to expectations so that this positive trend of interactions continues.

Speaking of productivity, I'm wondering what will happen to my undergraduate students who I mentor in the lab when my little person is born. I was thinking of still meeting with them weekly while I'm on maternity leave, but I'm not sure if this is realistic. If I leave the baby with my husband for a couple hours between nursings, can I go into campus? Will having an episiotomy prevent me from being mobile for a couple weeks? So many questions and frankly I have no idea what's realistic to expect. Any experienced advice from other women out there is welcome. I really don't want to leave my undergrads feeling as if I've abandoned them.

I also wonder how the arrival of a new little person (/ huge part) of my life will affect my outlook on jobs, science, etc. I know so many talented, career-oriented women who stopped in their career tracks and chose to focus on their family. Is a switch going to get flipped in me too? Of course I realize I'm not suddenly going to be a maternal robot without capacity to make a rational decision, but I also assume having a child will have a very very large impact on my life outlook.

Is there really an ideal job for a female scientist who wants time with her family? Is either academia or industry better suited for this? I have mixed opinions at this time, and may post on them later.