[Parentsgroup-list] Dear parents, I need your help and support

Jennifer Roloff Welch roloffje at gmail.com
Mon Oct 29 16:10:52 EDT 2007

Hi Liza,
I sent this to Liza earlier, but then decided to cc the whole group as you
all had done.

First, you are going to be okay! For now, take it one day at a time. I know
there is a leave of absence policy, which I'm sure someone either on this
list or in your department can explain. I'm not sure how it works, but it's
also possible that you may not need to take it if the baby is due in May.
I'm sure someone else can cover for you with reading their papers, exams,
etc. Please trust that you are going to be okay, and so is your baby. Is
there someone in the department you can ask (an administrator you trust, for
example), and then plan out a tentative schedule? Just take a deep breath.
It will all work out. Nothing is more important than your health and sanity,
so trust that that is your first priority, and with the help of some
advisors (like other parents and maybe someone in your department), you will
have it figured out soon enough.
I'm thinking of you!
Our little girl is 21 months, and I am due in January (also a bit
unexpected!). It's going work out fine!
Talk to you soon,

On 10/29/07, Deborah Freedman Woods <dwoods at cfa.harvard.edu> wrote:
> Hi Liza,
> First, congratulations on your pregnancy.  The timing may
> not be perfect, but I expect you can arrange your schedule
> to accommodate it just fine.  Given how many
> responsibilities you're expected to handle this spring and
> fall, you may want to consider a leave of absence or
> reducing your enrollment to part time.  Harvard
> allows for this to care for family.  Check out:
> http://www.gsas.harvard.edu/publications/hb-academic_information.php
> (Search for "Part-Time Students" in Chapter V)
> My advice would be to try to keep up a regular schedule this
> spring, if you're feeling able, and start your leave of
> absence after the baby arrives.  The students in the class
> you teach this spring will manage fine - another grad
> student who's taught the class before or is teaching
> another section of the same course could fill in for you for
> a couple of weeks in May if the baby arrives before the
> final exam.  At least in my dept., students have been happy
> to help each other out.
> You could finish as much of this spring as you're able, then
> take off until next January or June to have some time with
> your kids.  You might enroll for 1/4 or 1/2 time and fulfill
> just one requirement in the fall of 2008, such as teaching
> or taking classes to keep active in the department.  Then
> in the spring 2008 you can do the lab rotations or start on
> the next set of requirements.  But I wouldn't try to teach,
> rotate in labs, take classes, and find an adviser all while
> caring for a new baby.  It's not worth the stress.  There's
> no reason you should have to do it all at once.
> The timing of this pregnancy may delay the start of your
> research projects and the completion of your PhD, but
> that's no big deal in the long run.  I know it seems
> overwhelming right now, but you can make it work with a
> flexible schedule.  You should talk potential advisors on
> the expected work/life balance when you get around to lab
> rotations.  It's important to find someone you'll be happy
> working with because different advisors have very different
> expectations.  Personally, I think it will be easier to have
> children at this stage in your career because of the
> flexibility of being a student.
> Good luck with your decision.  I'm happy to talk more by
> e-mail or in person.
> Best,
> Deb Woods, mom of Miriam (age 2), expecting #2 ~Feb. 1,
> and 6th year PhD student in Astronomy
> >
> > > Dear Harvard parents,
> > >
> > > I m' sorry for bothering all of you, but I desperately need an advice
> and
> > > help.
> > >
> > > I'm first year grad student in GSAS (chemistry) and I came here with
> my
> > > husband
> > > and son who is 10 month old now. After I started studying here I found
> that
> > > I'm
> > > expecting again and the due date is around the beginning of May. This
> > > pregnancy
> > > is absolutely unexpected.
> > >
> > > Now I'm extremely stressed: I don't know how to plan my next couple
> semesters.
> > > I
> > > have to teach in spring and fall 2008 (which I'm most nervious about,
> because
> > > if
> > > I disappear in the end of semester, what will happen to my students,
> they have
> > > to pass exams etc), I also have to take classes (which I'm not too
> concerned
> > > about though, I think I could deal with it). I also have to rotate in
> the labs
> > > and find an advisor for my graduate research, so I don't think I could
> take
> > > next semester off.
> > >
> > > I know that there is something like a leave of absence, I'm not sure
> for how
> > > long you can leave. My husband will be able to take a leave from his
> job for
> > > May and June.
> > >
> > > In my department apparently there are no students with children, maybe
> here
> > > people had similar situations (especially students)? How did you deal
> with it?
> > > Any advice or your experience would be so much appreciated!! I just
> keep
> > > thinking about all these problems over and over and keep feeling
> guilty and
> > > stressed.
> > >
> > > Thank you all so much in advance! Hope I'm not bothering you too much
> > > Liza
> > >
> > >
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> > >
> >
> >
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-- =

Jennifer Roloff Welch
Advanced Doctoral Candidate
Harvard Graduate School of Education
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