Miscellany on academia, family

March 12, 2008

Sorry it’s been so long since I updated! There’s really nothing new to report, which is why I haven’t been posting. Well, that, and the fact that I’ve been crazy busy at work. I had an article revision due by March 15, two overlapping batches of papers to grade (poor planning on my part with that one!), and a couple of long novels to reread for my classes. It’s been a little overwhelming, but still better than last month.

Now, thankfully, I just submitted the revised article to my editors today (whew), so that’s a huge load off. Plus, next week will be light on teaching duties, because it’s midterm time for my undergraduates. And the book I need to read for my graduate students? It’s the same book that my recently-submitted article was about! So I feel fairly caught up on that, even though I do plan to reread it quickly this weekend.

Anyway, blah blah blah. There IS one other thing that has changed; I found out that I will be going on sabbatical this fall. Yay! This is good for many reasons–the main one being that no matter what, I will now have uninterrupted time to work on my second book before bringing a new baby into our family. No teaching for basically eight months, all time that I hope to devote to the new manuscript. Which is good, because I have a lot to get done on that project–mostly reading and researching, at this point. Although I hope to get at least one chapter/article written while I am on leave, I probably won’t be ready to produce anything truly substantial, like an introduction, until early 2009. Luckily, the fall of 2009 is when I’m supposed to take the second half of my sabbatical. Ideally, that will be the time to finish up the writing.

Of course, by then we just may have a baby in the house (at least I hope so!). I’m going to try and stay flexible and not freak myself out too much about what that ultimately will mean, career- and bookwise. I know it will all work out. One thing I do NOT want to do is rush this new book, just because I have other things going on in my life, including our IVF plans. This book has the potential to be a major step for me, professionally, if I give it the time it needs to develop, and give myself the time I need really to think through the ideas I’m trying to parse. So I don’t want to rush myself too much–I know I’m not going to be anywhere near finished with the book by December 2008, even if I have a much better sense of where it is going. And that is okay, because I want to give myself the time I need to produce a second book that I can be proud of.

Similarly, I don’t want to constrain or otherwise try to “time” or control our IVF efforts, with any professional obligations in mind. I have realized, since my last post (and thank you all, as always, for your wonderful, reassuring comments) that this process is not in my control. And, further, even if I try to control it, there are many things I simply cannot foresee. I could get pregnant right away and have an easy, uneventful pregnancy that allows me to work happily through my ninth month. I hope that happens. But I know that I also could have bad morning sickness, or just be too exhausted to get much work done, or end up on bed rest, or any number of things that would still mean a healthy baby at the end, but might make the actual pregnancy not so easy and work-friendly. There’s no way to know. Worrying about it now is only going to stress me out and make an emotional process even more difficult.

So instead, I am trying to have faith. Faith in the idea that G and I ARE going to be parents, sometime soon, and that when we do cross that bridge, we ARE going to figure out a healthy and manageable way to handle the details–financial, professional, and personal. I know that the universe wants that for us, and the universe is going to help us make it happen.

I really do think that everything happens for a reason, and that our path to parenthood is ultimately going to work out, as is my path to a second book and, eventually, full professor (not to mention G’s path to a better, less stressful administrative position and/or a better, more lucrative clinical practice). Maybe this odd line I feel myself to be walking, between growing my career via the “birth” of this book and growing our household via IVF and a very much hoped-for future pregnancy, is an early introduction to the tricky process of balancing work and family, something I haven’t really had to deal with much before now. (G is definitely “family” to me, but so far it has not been too much of a challenge prioritizing our marriage and still getting the work done that I needed to get done, since we are both professionals. Adding a baby will definitely take things up a notch).

Right now, I really do believe that even though I can’t see around this particular corner, things are lining up just as they should, and what I must do is be patient, continue in the process of both working on the book and pursuing i/f treatment, and just see how things unfold.

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One Response to “Miscellany on academia, family”

  1. Kenya Says:

    Faith is a good step.

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