Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Another Tuesday, another week to tick off the pregnancy counter. I'm now at 25 weeks (nice round number) and I'm told that the baby is the size of a rutabaga. Don't know about you, but this is another one of those totally unhelpful comparisons, since I couldn't identify a rutabaga if I ran into one on the street.

A few "milestones" this week: first, we bought our first baby gear -- finally placed an order for a crib. I was told it would take 60-90 days to come in, which at first seemed great, until I realized that 90 days would actually be cutting it a bit close. I'm hoping for closer to 60, to give poor S some time to puzzle over the assembly instructions before he's too sleep deprived.

Second, I went up another bra size. I actually had to ask someone what size came next. I'm still kind of in shock about this one. Yikes.

Third, some non-baby news. I've started to gather signatures to finalize my doctoral thesis committee. The goal is to have my committee squared away and a potential workable thesis timetable agreed upon before my maternity leave.

And fourth, tying the baby and non-baby news together: I was yet again mistaken for a secretary. Several factors are working against me here. (1) My field is 90% male, so yes, if you run into a woman, she is more likely to be a secretary than a scientist. (2) There are only ~4 female professors in my department, so everybody knows who they are. That leaves students, of which I am (I think) the oldest female student. (Most PhD students are 5-10 years younger than me.) So, I look older than the students, but they know I'm not a professor.... (3) It's perhaps funny for me to say this while complaining about being stereotyped, but ... most of the female students match your typical "nerd" image. A bit unkempt. Uncombed hair. A little greasy. Pale skin. Most of them aren't going on a whole lot of dates (almost every female student I know is single). So the thought of one of them being pregnant, meaning that they've actually had sex recently? Not so likely. So yes, you run into an unknown thirtysomething pregnant woman walking through the halls, the odds are that she's a secretary. Still -- please stop asking me for photocopies and coffee. The whole experience has also given me an extra dollop of respect for secretaries because wow -- I thought grad students got very little respect, but when guys think I'm a secretary, they're downright RUDE.

Finally, on the topic of sex before pregnancy: when I told one of my cousins that I was pregnant, she told me that she hated announcing her pregnancy, because she felt like it was equivalent to walking up to coworkers / managers / acquaintances and saying "Guess what! I had unprotected sex a few months ago!" I thought this was odd, but now, every time someone on the street looks at my baby bump, I can't help but feel like I'm wearing a giant sign, Scarlet Letter style. My husband points out that, you know, I'm married, but I really don't think that's the point.


  1. Thanks for coming by my blog! That's really funny - I never thought about it that way, but you are right. It is sort of personal, isn't it? Congrats on your pregnancy!

  2. I never really thought abou tit in that way - interesting.

    I work in a lab that in 90% females. It's a funny ratio - so when thre is a new hire male..everyone "looks"

  3. Hi there, I am returning the visit for NCLM... Thanks for visiting my blog!

    I am a couple of weeks behind you and I also went up a bra size... well, swimsuit top size. It's the first time I ever had to buy anything size Large to cover my boobs.

    Also, I agree with you on how personal it is when people know you're pregnant. It really is kind of personal.

  4. Hi there, nice to meet you!
    Have just had a quick delve into your past posts & winced when I came across the MIL's reaction to your pregnancy... open mouth & insert foot... I have one just the same, except more malevolent! I daren't include her worse antics on my blog in case I get drunk one night & tell the family it exists...!
    Isn't a rutabaga a turnip-type thingy?!

  5. Maybe the crib will come in earlier than expected. Ours wasn't supposed to ship until August and it arrived 5 days after we placed the order. Weird!

  6. I am visiting here from NCLM -- congrats on 25 weeks, after such a long ride. That was funny about the sex before pregnancy comment. I thought the same thing when my friend told me that she and her husband are "trying". I was like Eewwww. Too much info!

  7. Hi! Here via NCLM. I completey relate to being mistaken for a secretary. When I first started working at my old company, everyone thought I was a secretary just because I looked (and was) young. I wasn't a VP, but I wasn't a secretary. They can be completely underrated!

    Congrats on reaching 25 weeks!

  8. Returning a comment! So glad to meet you!!! I'm jumping for joy at knowing there is another 30+ pregnant at the beginnings of her PhD. I so feel out of place with all the young'uns and then uncomfortable with the post-docs are the same age but further in their career paths. So loving your blog, you're on my blogroll!

  9. Thanks for coming to my blog--I'm loving NCLM! Your due date is my birthday--it's a good one :)

  10. Nicky, I can't give any pregnancy advice but I can give you advice on your committee, which I wish someone had given me:

    Make sure all of your committee members like/respect one another.

    All the best on both baby and
    non-baby endeavors...

  11. Yes, sometimes I feel that way. My fingers are starting to swell a bit and the other day, I had to leave the wedding rings at home. I told my husband it was time to buy me a fake in a bigger size. I felt like a harlot all day! ;)

  12. I don't get it - When I worked at the University as a student, people mistook me for a professor. When I work in the corporate world as an engineer, people mistake me for a secretary. When I go shopping at electronics stores, people mistake me for a staff member... and that's even without my thick black nerd glasses.

  13. Here via NCLM

    Good luck with your pregnancy! I agree with you about the whole Scarlet Letter thing. As ridiculous as it is I've also thought of a belly as a "sign" of someone was having sex "Oh my goodness". lol So, you're not alone to have that thought flit through your mind.

  14. I'm amazed at how rude people are to you when they think that you're a secretary. Most people around here are very respectful of the departmental secretaries (probably because if you tick them off certain beauracratic--sp?-- matters can take longer... a lot longer). I think I'd get more respect around here if I was actually a secretary!


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