I got an email yesterday from chem guy - a post doc with a 2 year old and another on the way. He wanted to know if I was ready to go back to work yet?
He went back to work on his PhD 3 days after his son was born.
That's beyond the realm of possibility for me and it seems to typify the inherent disparities that form hurdles for women in science/academia/the workplace.
3 days after I gave birth, I was bleeding, unable to sit on chairs without pillows below me, trying to figure out breastfeeding with engorged breasts, trying to figure out what clothes would fit my newly oddly shaped body, trying to figure out what clothes would fit my itty bitty baby, sleeping in <2 hour intervals, etc. And all of that is true today (6 days postpartum). And all of it will be true for weeks (well, hopefully not the engorgement part of it).
And that isn't even considering that I am spending hours holding my baby, lost in the beauty of her face, learning to read her wiggles and cries, trying to fathom the miracle that brought her to me.
Am I ready to go back to work? Hell no.
And I'm not sure when I will be. But I am making time for email each day, checking my voice mail, corresponding with a potential post-doc mentor, and thinking about my upcoming interview. Wish I didn't have to do those things, but they are all necessary evils of this game I'm trying to play - the one where we all pretend that just because I'm a woman and a new mom, things are no different in the job market and in science.
Because in order to succeed at this game, I've got to make that deception.
But the truth is, things are different. I've got to appear to be just as good as the boys, but I've got to do while bleeding, engorged, and enthralled with this new life sleeping in my lap.
and that sucks.