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No, hon and I are not pregnant.
For a while I’ve been thinking about this post and what I want to say. This is by no means an absolute final decision, but it has been a process and I feel like writing it down and sharing it (and having it here, for the future).
I grew up in a very roman catholic household. My mom is a very devoted person, and I admire her for that. Her faith is deep and her commitment is sincere. She’s the best mom one could wish for, always sweet and cheery when we talk, especially cheery when we talk about my nephew, her first grandson.
Years ago, while I was still in grad school, my mom and I were having a conversation about kids, and I can’t remember what exactly brought up the discussion, but she ended up sharing how unhappy she’s been in her marriage to my dad and how, had she known how her life turned out to be, she would have worked all her life, retire early and travel all over the world. I asked her if she regretted having kids, to which she said she loved my sister and I more than her own life, yet, if she could do things differently, she would stay single and just travel.
I didn’t feel sad when my mom admitted this, instead, I took it as food for thought and started thinking about whether I wanted to have kids myself. I love to travel (even when I have to resort to using flying deathtraps to move from one place to the next), I love focusing on me and on my honey, spending time with my family, and taking off when I want, and not have a care in the world (except that I need to leave a clean litterbox and full food and water dispensers for kitty).
For a long time honey has been mentioning how much people in general annoy him … or really, interacting with them. He doesn’t like making calls (I always ordered take out for us and he was more than happy to pick food up, an arrangement I totally love), talking to strangers, people encroaching in his space (one time he had this woman in a bus touch his hair just ’cause … WTF?). I on the other hand like to interact with people, I’m very sociable, but sometimes I can be shy (yeah, I know, hard to believe, eh?) I prefer to be a hermit and stay indoors with him (when he’s visiting or when we lived together).
One thing where we’re both of the similar school of thought is that we find some kids annoying (him more than me, but yes, I do find some kids annoying, the boisterous ones, screaming children at stores, kids who are older yet refuse to cover when coughing or sneezing (adults too)). This from a person who liked to babysit 4 kids at once!
We’ve talked about kids, Mr. Honey and I, and we’re sort of leaning towards adopting, should we ever have some need for having offspring. It’s an idea we’re totally happy with. I’ve always been crazy scared of giving birth, both naturally and by c-section. I’m afraid of epidurals and the same with episiotomies. I’m scared of what a kid will to do my body and hormones (as it is they’re always in some crazy state). I have severe PMS, which makes me worry about not being able to take my medicine for a long time, and even more scared of PPD. I’m afraid of a kid encroaching in our space, and what genetic defects he/she may have because of my age. So many fears and worries.
I grew up with everyone and their cousin telling me that I should be a mom, that besides a decent job and a healthy marriage, I should have a kid, or better yet, two or three. But at the same time I saw their marriages crumbling, their lack of care for the kids, and in some cases, resentment. And early on I figured that just because someone was biologically equipped to be a parent, that didn’t necessarily translate into being a good parent. On one side my church was telling me that I should be like Mother Mary, on the other, I didn’t feel a nagging sensation to not be like her.
Though my mind is not completely made up, I’m leaning towards postponing motherhood/parenthood until later, especially given our interest in adopting and being on the same page. At the same time I struggle explaining and defending my position to (possibly) avoid biological children to family and friends (though hon’s mom seems to be on board, as long we we do it sooner rather than later so she gets to enjoy a granddaughter (we’re all on board with this) now and not 20 years from now.
What’s even weirder is that I’m totally on board with surrogacy. How weird is it that I’d be OK carrying someone else’s child and not my own?
So, for now, no kids for us, thank you. But if we do it, it will most likely involve adopting. After all, with so many children suffering abuse and neglect we feel like giving that child a happy home, on our own terms, and age. What are your thoughts?
Thanks to biochembelle I learned about this. Go check it out. I’ll be waiting for you. GO!!! Now take a moment and write a letter to your younger self and, if you can, submit it for this year, if not, keep it safe until next year. Ready to read my letter? Good.
Since I am in the middle of a very intense job search I won’t give too many specifics of my current life, but I’ll do my best to give you a general sense of who I am, who I was at 13 and where I’ve come.
Dear 13 and not a PhD:
This year many changes will happen. You will lose some amazing people in your life. You’ll make it. You’ll be OK. It will be hard not to have their physical support, but they will be a guiding light and a constant presence in your life and studies.
You have just watched a movie about doctors and surgeons and you’ll want to become one for a number of years, up until you do some research and listen to a very wise biology professor. Listen to her … one day you’ll be thankful. Also, even though you didn’t become a surgeon your favourite system is still the cardiovascular. You’ll become a scientist … a SCIENTIST. Like those smart people mentioned in your biology books.
So, onto the goodies. In 1999 you will be one of the first students selected to attend the same school as your grandpa did back in the firty years before you. Mom will cry (as usual) when this amazing thing happens. You will think about grandpa on your first day of school. You will remember granny too on your graduation day. You will miss them, but somehow you’ll be extremely happy for their support. You will have tons of people remind you that said school is not easy, and that even though your GPA is good it will be no match for the school. They’ll say not to get discouraged if you fail precalc or calc or chemistry, it’s normal for them and others. Don’t be cocky … these courses will make you sweat and fight tooth and nail, but you WILL make it. And you will pass most of your classes on the first try. You will graduate in 4 years and will go on to a very pretty university in the southern US where you’ll spend some of the most challenging and trying times. You will come out an expert in one of the disciplines of structural biology. It is beautiful. You’ll see.
Some of your friends will move on, move away and carve a niche for themselves and their passion. So will you. Don’t judge them too hard. Don’t be too shy when you try to contact them. They will remember you fondly.
Pay attention to your chemistry, calculus and physics courses. They are extremely important for your career. You’ll wish you could go back and pay attention to everything your profs taught you. But it’s OK, you’ll develop the capacity to teach yourself well. You will serve as an inspiration to a friend you once had jealousy feelings towards. These emotions are normal, but you’ll overcome them and when you learn you were an inspiration you will cry a little. She will be a rock and an inspiration to you. A bit of a competitive spirit is good … but don’t let it get to your head.
Even though it may not seem that way, your humanities and social sciences courses will be amazing. Sure, the names of the classes sound boring, but remember the meaning and root of the word university, you are there to become a well-rounded student, to challenge views and form an opinion. And you know what? Remember that passion for Greek mythology you had in high school, when you’d absorb yourself in those books to lands far, far away? That’s how your humanities class will start! It will be amazing. You still haven’t visited Greece …. but I’m sure you will someday.
Attend every public lecture on all topics related to your passions. Learn to take out time for yourself, and it will help you get rid of some of the stress associated with excelling at everything. It is OK to fail, it is OK to fall down. You just need to stand up tall and give it your best. Independent films are good, auditing classes is great. Explore your resources and take advantage of them.
You will develop a passion for editing and helping people craft beautiful stories, papers and even resumes. It is a talent of yours to share. Update your resume often, and you will be amazed at everything you’ve accomplished when you’re applying for that fellowship. You will not get it, but the experience will be great. You will look back at everyone who’s been a source of inspiration and encouragement. You have done wonderful things, but it’s also been a team effort. Acknowledge that and be thankful. Always be thankful.
You will fail your qualifying exam in grad school. It is perfectly fine. You will take it again and the committee won’t need to deliberate long to decide that you shall pass. They will hug you. It will be amazing. You will write about it, and inspire people to take a second chance and excel.
One day you’ll do a report in college which will have deal with a parasite you find fascinating. Less than a year later, during a summer internship, you’ll learn about a technique that is instrumental for studying that parasite. A year after that you will join a group, which you had no idea even existed, that studies said parasite with said technique. You will learn how to control exquisite techniques and equipment to study it. You will be amazed and ever grateful for joining that group. Did you know that your work will be on covers of scientific magazines? YES! It will be amazing, and humbling. Soak it up like a sponge, like every piece of knowledge that passes your way.
You’ll face a lot of challenges, you will be judged hard by peers and unknowns alike. But you will make it. It’s OK to cry.You will help, in a small way, to give science a more human face. And people will be thankful for that.
Finally, you will travel and enjoy life. But don’t take yourself so seriously all the time. Life is a balance of work and play. Don’t judge yourself too harsh and don’t always take no for the final answer.You will still love Super Mario Bros 16 years after, enjoy ;-).
Dr 29 is proud of her hispanic heritage and her love for science currently living in Canada. She completed a bachelor’s of science in general biology in 2003 and a PhD in structural biology in 2009. She’s learned to love and respect supporting roles in science and non-academic careers for PhDs, and is currently exploring staff positions in her former field of study. She’s a proud daughter, new auntie, sister, girlfriend and scientist.
As promised before, I’m going to conclude the series on what to expect when you’re applying for grad school, once you get in and how things look toward the end by posting this entry. It’s about how my thesis defense *day* went, starting the tale from a day or two before. I’ll conclude with thoughts and a little on what transpired after, though I mentioned some of it before.
***Disclaimer: I won’t reveal too many intimate details, as I prefer my identity to remain hidden.
On we go:
I don’t remember if I’ve said this before, but attempting to schedule my defense was c-r-a-z-y …. some of my committee members were out of town, some were too busy to even bother to schedule. I had to put my foot down, write an email without my boss’s “permission” telling them I was more than ready to defend, and it was now or never. I also mentioned that I had to extend my job offer and keep being paid by my boss’s grant if they wanted to prolong the agony. It worked, and less than 48 hrs after sending that email (or ultimatum) I had 2 possible defense dates. But this didn’t mean that life was fine and dandy … having a defense date made the whole process real … it was happening sooner rather than later and I was a nervous wreck in the works … I had to practice the lecture, pack all my things, and staying on top of things almost proved too much to handle (I also had to pick up family at the airport, make sure they were all comfortable, even if all I wanted to do was cry). My only glimmer of hope was that after all this ordeal I’d be a PhD.
So …. the BF and I will start our trip back to our canadian abode in a few hours. We will say our goodbyes and see you laters. It’s been a good and not so good vacay. Two major things have happened in the last few days. A family member died on my side, and the BF is having to deal with a difficult professor. I can’t give too many details, but these last few days have been hectic. I only had 1 meal today since I was at the funeral home and then burial for most of the day, and I spent a few hours with the BF before our return “home.”
I have to say that though I’m excited for the new year, the last few days have drained my energies and I don’t have the slightest desire to start working. I’m comfy at home, with my parents, my family, my surroundings. It hasn’t been cold at home, so I can walk around with a lot less layers and such. But I feel like it’s too soon to go back, like my time at home just went whoosh, and disappeared. I have yet to say hello to 2 good friends from school, and I’m owing a 3rd one some dinner, but again, time has been all whacked out lately.
I think that I’m resenting some things from the lab, like all the people and having to go out of my comfort zone to accommodate my experiments. On the good side, I don’t have a thesis to finish, on the bad side, I don’t see a clear delineation of my project and I know I need to take the lead, I just don’t know how … and that irritates me. Also, the BF’s situation has me wanting to slap a certain faculty member of his, luckily he’s got some friends that know some ins and out on policies which hopefully will be enough ammo to shut the hell up with that certain ass-wipe prof.
That’s all the venting for now. Hopefully soon I’ll be blogging from my own PC. I hope to purchase or craigslist a new monitor for my home computer.
Happy 2010. Best wishes 🙂
Hey all! It’s been almost a week since I’ve been home. The BF and I had a 2 hr delay, but made it safe. I really wanted to get home, eat home food, talk with my parents and sister and see friends. I’ve done a few of those things. And before I left my Canadian home I knew I needed to brace for drama. I’m a liberal, so a few of the reasons for the drama bother me, and yes, I know we must learn to respect other people’s opinions and convictions, but it kills me to see how some of the drama could be avoided if some of the conservative ways of thinking were not there.
My mommy and daddy are VERY conservative. My daddy despises church, my mom goes to it several times a week. Now she’s organizing a retreat and has to call and follow-up on people who supposedly will co-operate with her … but sometimes I think they just lean on her. Also she’s a retiree, and though I know church makes her feel useful, she’s not earning a dime, or at least some sort of physical reward for printing hundreds or documents, follow people up by phone and such. It bothers me too because she’s involved with a very conservative flavour or branch from the church, which in my opinion is giving her an extra (unneeded) headache.
Earlier this year my sister became pregnant. She called me as soon as she found out and she was literally scared of my parent’s reaction. To make the long and painful story short my daddy has embraced the situation and the new baby a LOT better than my mom. My mom went to talk to a priest from church who luckily told her to NOT marry my sis just to cover up circumstances. But I’m sure in the back of her mind, she still wants to try to marry her because a “good” girl should not have a kid out of wedlock. Mommy has times when she cries because my sis just moved in with her boyfriend, and though she’s 10 minutes away my mom totally feels alone (I’ve been trying to tell each side to be a little more understanding, to mediate and to not shun each other from their lives).
This whole situation has opened old wounds in me, things that I thought I had left behind. Also, my faith is in shambles, and sometimes I feel like I don’t care much for the church and even God. I’m pissed off by how conservatives in all branches of all churches had taken bits and pieces of the bible to justify hate, shunning people out of “God’s house” and do many other things that I thought Jesus had said not to do (remember Matthew 25:36 anyone). But this is partly besides the point.
I used to have a real close relationship with my mom. She’s ALWAYS been very supportive of me, and my school decisions. Boyfriend-wise my parents we’re not to keen on my dating many guys (because that’s only done by sluts … something that can be traced to ultra-conservatives views of people in any church). They wanted me to pursue a career (a very progressive thing to do in my view), but to eventually return home and get a job, a good husband and have kids. I’ve done some of those things. I finished my degree, moved to where the man I love lives and works, and hopefully in 2-3 years I’ll be doing a real-intensive job hunt to hopefully work close to everyone, BF included.
That does not piss me. What does is something my mom said the other day. She was saying how many people could or have criticized her in terms of how she’s not accepting of my sis’ decision and her baby because of her religion and mostly her conservative beliefs. I kind of agreed, but didn’t say anything. She then said that her faith in God is what’s kept her afloat. But for a minute I wonder … if she didn’t believe in God but was a moral person (like SO many non-believers who in my opinion are better at adhering to Mat. 25), would she have had such a hard time accepting the baby, or the act that lead to the baby?
The BF and I had an interesting discussion about this. I told him that I firmly believed that if my mom’s conservative “values” and beliefs weren’t there, if she was more chilled out, she might have had a different reaction to my sis’ pregnancy. My BF disagreed, he exposed his points and then the situation changed into why am I so mad at the church and it’s leaders, and why I’m opting out of participating in some sacraments. He said some very valid things (like why a sin of the “flesh” seems to be more frowned upon by some than say … homicide, etc … this goes to the point of why some commandments seemed to be viewed by some as more important than others). And then we both remembered something a few priests have said before, how the most important commandment can be summarized in “Love your God above all and your neighbour as much as you do yourself” … which I think is genius, because if we love our God and love each other the way we are supposed to love ourselves, wouldn’t the following the commandment parts be easier, or accomplished by “default.” We decided to stay true to that “summary” of God’s commandments, because if we do then accepting others won’t be as hard of a job as it’s been, we’ll hopefully tolerate each other more easily, and above all, learn to love God even is those who deliver His message are wrong sometimes.
This is not to say that I’m not pissed at having to deal with the drama. Especially when all I want to do is just watch TV, talk to the parents drama free and enjoy my new nephew.
It scares me (and I told my mom this) that because she’s so consumed on the act that led to the baby’s coming it might just kill her because of all the worry. And I went a step further by suggesting that if she lets her health decline and get all beaten up by this, what’s going to be God’s opinion about her taking care of his temple (her body, the Holy Spirit’s temple). I don’t know if something I’ve said will do any good, if it serve to help her tame her fears and worries … but it’s not easy, and I’m not sure it will happen, but all I can do it try. And it pisses me off that these toxic thoughts and such are taking over my mom’s head, and that sometimes she might not tell people about my sister because of fear they will judge her (which they will do … now, when she need soup or a lift to the doctor or the hospital, they do not support or help in any way … not very Christian in my book …. remember Mat. 25?).
All in all it’s not been as dramatic as I thought it was going to be, but I’m not sure the storm is over just yet. For now all I can do is try to stay the course, talk to people and hope for the best. I still have almost 13 days left, so I’ll try to make the most of them.
How have your Xmas vacations been? Happy New Year!!