Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pregnancy in the Academy. "Why, Yes I Am Expecting. Now How About Joining Me and Baby In a Beer?"

Pregnancy, I am now discovering, is the time in a woman’s life when her insides bulge outward on display for the whole world to see. Unfortunately, this means my students feel at liberty to make even more personal and hurtful comments than they did previously. Some examples:

  • About a month ago, one of my students noticed my just-starting-to-show belly and whispered to his group “You know, that means she got laid about X months ago.”

  • A week ago, in the computer lab, I realized my expanding belly was right at the students’ eye levels as they sat and I walked around the room to assist them. As I approached one student, he kicked back in his rolling chair and said too loudly, “Whoa, you’re pregnant!” Knowing him to be a bit of a misogynist, I ignored him and pointed out something on his computer screen. He ignored me right back and demanded, “When were you going to tell us that you were pregnant? Don’t you think we have a right to know?” I was stunned. He added, “Nothing against you, but if I would have known, I would have dropped the class.”

  • Yesterday, one of my oh-so-perceptive students noticed that I am gaining weight (I’m pregnant, remember?) and she commented, "you're blowing up in the arms and the legs, but not much in your belly yet." She then warned me that I had better watch how much weight I gain because, "the baby won’t come out 30 pounds, you know?"

I should have taken maternity leave.