By Brenda L. George • August 17, 2017•Writers in Residence, Careers, Other Career Issues, Law School, Pre-Law, Other Law School Issues, Issues, Balancing Private and Professional Life, •Other Issues
This post is really late. Almost two weeks late. That is mostly because the topic I chose to write about is a tough one. Admittedly, I was on vacation as well, but I think that is why I was so reluctant to simply sit down and crank out a blog post. In fact, I may have had too much time to sit and reflect on what I am about to write below. As I sit down to write this, it is 5:00 a.m. and it took a bout of pregnancy induced insomnia (I woke up at 2:00 a.m., tripped over my dog, woke up the baby in my tummy and haven't been able to go back to sleep since) to get me to sit down and finally write this (after already spending two hours researching multi-camera baby monitors).
At any rate, my pregnancy has been nothing out of the ordinary and I am so thankful for that. I have shared many times before that my way of pushing through hard times is to remind myself that I have it pretty good. It would be so easy to get wound up about every little thing, but in all honesty, the things that I am experiencing are mild discomfort compared to some of the things that other women face during pregnancy. I am just shy of 24 weeks pregnant with no indication of any complications. However, thingshappen and things certainly do not go as precisely planned (by people with Type A personalities, like me). Now that I have rambled on, somewhat cryptically, for two paragraphs, I'm going to come out and say the point of this post: the truth about pregnancy, at any time in life, is that you have little control over what is going to happen. It can be terrifying.
I have been carrying on, business as usual (plus nausea and exhaustion - all typical of most pregnancies), and was recently stopped in my tracks and brought back down to reality with the news of a friend that lost her baby. I can count on one hand the number of people that I know really well that have experienced this type of loss, but each one hurts me 100x over. Yes, I'm crying as a type this. Yes, I'm pregnant and emotional. And, yes, I read some of the worst things in the news and in case law that have zero impact on me emotionally, but things like this are so personal that they bring me to my knees with sadness.
So why am I bringing all of this up? It all seems to go against my mantra that you can be a law student and a parent at the same time. But actually, what I am saying is do what any good attorney would do and prepare yourself for these additional, incredibly difficult scenarios as well so that you are not taken by surprise. This is the "prepare for the worst" mentality. Know that these things happen and if you want to make it through law school, don't be naiive to these possibilities. Of course, it is not healthy to obsesss and dwell on these possibilities either, but at least have it in the back of your head that it is possible. Lastly, be sympathetic and respectful to those that have difficult pregnancies or have experienced loss. You could call this a rule of general applicability - hardship comes in many forms. Put yourself in their shoes, to the extent possible. Carry this with you throughout law school, into your first job, and as an employer yourself.
Soon after I received this news from my friend, I too got a phone call from my doctor. She explained to me that the most recent ultrasound had revealed a soft marker for a certain condition. However, she continued, we had already completed a more accurate blood test that proved that to be false. Had I not completed that blood test, I would have been an emotional wreck. Examples like these show how quickly a non-issue can be elevated to seem like a major issue in pregnancy, and also show how emotionally taxing something like pregnancy can be while taking on an additional emotionally taxing challenge like law school. As always, I am never here to say that it is impossible to be a parent in law school - it's not. I have friends that have had babies mid-semester that completed the term. But please, be thoughtful for your own well-being and consider the wide range of possibilities.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Week is in October. It is an opportunity for those that have experienced such a loss to openly talk and raise awareness about the subject. In a 1998 proclamation, President Ronald Reagan, stated, “When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes."