In just 3 short months, I will be attending graduate school full-time with an 11 month-old boy. If I think about it long enough, I can physically feel the waves of impending doom. Time management, finances, and failing at both school and home are a few hot topics for my anxiety levels. My most recent stress? Social Anxiety.
I was bursting at the seams with pregnancy at my cohorts ‘meet and greet’ back in August. I was 9 months pregnant with a 9lb 5oz baby and everywhere I went I got looks that read, “Please don’t have your water break on my carpet.” When I signed up for the meet and greet, I was in the glorious (and deceiving) second trimester, and considered myself invincible. But on the day of the meet and greet, I admit I regretted my decision to attend – and not just because a homeless man yelled, “Damn Miss, you’re huge!” on my way there.
I’m an introvert and a room full of people asking personal questions about my baby bump was quite stressful. I wanted to slip away into the corner, but my huge belly would not allow for it. Additionally, I wonder if I’ll always be the “pregnant woman.” My colleagues met me as a mother first, and graduate student second. Will I always be known as the “mom” of the group, viewed as less serious about my career as my family life flourishes?
My university has not shown any signs of motherhood discrimination thus far, but it is still a potential stressor etched into the back of my mind. Many people still think that the order in life should be 1. School 2. Career 3. Marriage 4. Buying a House 5. Baby. I fear judgment from more traditional colleagues and professors. My partner and I did things a little backwards and I hope no one judges me too harshly for it.
Motherhood aside, I hope people like me. My mat leave has been low-key with most days lounging at home alone in sweat pants and an oversized T-shirt. I’ll need to shake the cobwebs off my social skills and remind myself that discussing poop is no longer an appropriate topic of conversation.
I know it’s painfully cheesy, but at least at the end of the day, my baby boy loves me unconditionally.