Monday, August 9, 2010


Alternate title for this post: "... In Which Nicky Learns (Again) that the World Does Not Revolve Around Her."

I agonized and agonized about when to tell AdvisorA about my pregnancy. I kind of didn't want to mention it to her until I had a job, lest she decide to tank my letters of recommendation. But I also didn't want her to find out from someone other than me, which would make things even worse. And once everyone at my university knew... well, it was just a matter of time. So I decided to just bite the bullet and tell her already.

I sent her an email, letting her know that I was pregnant. I re-worded the email several hundred times before finally sending it off last Monday. And I immediately regretted it, but there was nothing to do but wait.

And wait. And wait. And wait. Because she never wrote back.

I spent all week convinced that I had made a horrible mistake. And hating AdvisorA for whatever rationale she was possibly using to not respond. Maybe she was so angry that I was further ruining my career that she couldn't bring herself to respond? Maybe she was trying to decide whether to tell me outright about her plans to give me bad recommendations, or just do it quietly? Maybe she was so happy that my defense was over that she didn't feel the need to read anything from me ever again? Maybe she was busy plotting exactly how to ruin my life?

Because, you know, it's all about me. No other possible reason that she wouldn't have written back.

Yesterday, I found out that AdvisorA's mother died. She actually passed away two days after my defense. And she's been busy, you know, mourning and planning a funeral and stuff. Not really responding to email.

When I found out, I sent her an email with my condolences. (I'll send a card, too, but I wanted something to reach her as soon as possible.) And she wrote back, almost immediately. She thanked me for my note. And she told me that her mother's last "good" day was the day of my defense, and her mother was very happy for me and for AdvisorA that the defense went so well. And she told me that she had seen my email, and congratulations on my pregnancy. And it brought her a measure of happiness to know that life was going on. And she wishes that some of her mother's spirit will live on in my unborn child. And a friend of hers had a baby who was born around the time that her father died (many many years ago) and she's always doted on that child, as a way of remembering her father. And because of the timing, with my defense and my pregnancy announcement and her mother's death, she will always feel a special bond with my child as well.

Um. Yeah. You all know how up and down my relationship with AdvisorA has been, but this one really threw me for a loop. My next post will probably return to self-indulgences about dissertation writing and toddler temper tantrums and pregnancy complaints, but for now... yikes. I'm appropriately sad and chastised and grateful for everything that I have.


  1. Well of course the world doesn't revolve around you. Because it revolves around me!

    But in all seriousness, it happens to the best of us. And hey at least you kept your patience and stewed silently rather than confronting Advisor A which would have been way worse.

  2. wow, talk about putting things in perspective.

  3. It's good that she acted nicely around you for once.

    I always like a nice dose of perspective. Thanks for sharing yours.


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