Cross-posted at Mama, PhD...
In my essay for Mama, PhD, “The Bags I Carried,” I describe a couple of the outrageous things people said to me when I was a pregnant faculty member at Stanford, and how isolated I felt, despite my very supportive chair, Andrea Lunsford, and the generally friendly atmosphere of the campus. Outrageous and isolating tend to make for better narrative than the calm waters of pleasant interactions!
But one of the people who made my life at Stanford especially collegial was Mary Ruth Marotte, who taught in the writing program with me, and happened also to be pregnant (she with twins). We talked about her dissertation project on images of pregnancy and childbirth (coming soon from Demeter Press), about the ups and downs of our classes, and about our hopes to continue teaching and writing after our children were born.
We’ve taken different paths in the past 7 years, but I’m not surprised that we still have a lot to talk about, and I’m delighted with the response to the symposium Mary Ruth just led at UCA with her colleague, Paige Reynolds, and Mama, PhD contributor Aeron Haynie. A write-up in the local newspaper reports:
Professors and students at the University of Central Arkansas tackled a tough subject Monday, questioning ways women are often forced to choose between raising children and pursuing an academic route.
Focusing on the book, Mama PhD: Women Write about Motherhood and Academic Life, the group presented the view that it is possible though difficult to do both.
The idea for the conference came from two English professors, Mary Ruth Marotte and Paige Reynolds, two tenure-track women who also raise children of their own.
Marotte said Mama PhD took a good look at how even 21st-century women are finding it hard to focus on both the academic world and their family.
“That’s what the book does so brilliantly, to give voices to women who often feel silent,” she said.
You can read the rest of the article at the Log Cabin Democrat. Thanks to all who participated in the event!