In January 2008, a reader (Serious Scientist) sent me a query about dealing with inlaws who thought she should give up on her scientific career when her baby arrived. They wanted her to go to a baby shower across the country, without her husband, and she was dreading the trip and the questions and judgements that would certainly arrive during the party. I encourage you all to look back into the archives and read her original letter, and the wonderful advice everyone offered to Serious Scientist.
Serious’s letter, even buried back in the archives, has generated a couple of recent comments. Most recently, Katherine commented:
Serious Scientist, I hope you return and let us know how things went
In light of that comment, I decided to dig out Serious’s email and find out how her story turned out. Below the fold, I’ll share her happy ending.
hi ScienceWoman –
Things, I am happy to say, are going GREAT!
In the end, re: the shower at my in-laws — so it’s sort of a long story. I was pretty sick when I mailed you before, but I continued to deteriorate and I got very, very sick that flu season, greatly aggravated by no doctor wanting to take on the risk of treating my illness because I was pregnant. In the end, after a week in the hospital(!), I was much better, and after a scare, the kid seemed to be fine at that point as well (and happily seems even now to be none the worse for wear). BUT all of that made it very very easy to say, look, now that we are both well, I am SO NOT traveling across the country. We suggested that we come visit much later, after the birth, for a “toddler shower.” They thought about it, and then they very graciously suggested — get this — a Skype-based baby shower!! The whole family gathered at their end in front of a big screen, and we at ours, and had a party in both places. They sent some presents in advance, and the rest they opened for me in front of the camera and sent to us afterwards. They even called my mother (who lives in yet a 3rd time zone) so she could participate (by phone) too. So it worked out very well indeed.
Our son is now nearly 1 and walking(!). As of 2 days ago, he’s signing too (they teach sign language in day care)! Although he’s understood the signs (which are always coupled with verbal language) for a while, today he’s actually able to ask for milk himself (though I confess it’s still sometimes hard to tell “milk” from “hi”, and we’re still in the giddy phase of “I know what that sign, that word means” and so everything is “milk” — “pick me up” is “milk” but with both hands — but STILL, I’m so proud of him!). I’m a few weeks away from submitting a paper that will end up being longer than my PhD thesis was, and I have two more shorter papers not far behind it. I got a promotion at work. I’m still learning how to make the balance work out — as you all know, it’s a daily struggle, but somehow I’m doing it !
Thank you for providing part of my support system!!!