Yesterday I met with my Department Chair to reveal the existence of ye old fetus. He stared at my belly, with an expression of obvious astonishment that there could be anything in there. (Yeah, I'm not showing. But I swear it's not an elaborate ruse to get a reduced workload.) The meeting was totally fine. One of the glorious things about academia is that there are clear policies about all this shit, and, because a university is supposed to be a sensitive, family friendly place, they pretty much have to be nice to me. But there is bureaucracy. I got to draft a little letter to go up to the Dean. Here's how it reads.
In accordance with Section II.E of the faculty handbook, I am requesting workload release from teaching and service duties for the Fall semester of 2011. I expect to give birth in May of 2011. I will be the primary care-giving parent of this child.
Isn't that romantic? Nothing says bundle of joy like quoting Section II.E of the faculty handbook. But I have been experiencing a renewed sense of gratitude for my job. Partly because one of my students recently asked me when I decided I wanted to be a professor. I was fifteen. And I made it happen. If you know anything about academia, you know that's not easy. I'm very lucky. And partly because I've been doing real work this week (as per my resolution), which has begun to remind me ever so vaguely of a time when I loved my research. And partly because I've been experiencing a renewed sense of gratitude for EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD. Okay, except poverty, and hunger, and oatmeal (blech!), but all the other stuff.