2008-01-11 - 2:00 p.m.
...2nd post - colleagues to the rescue...
I've already gotten two replies from Kolleagues with Kids - each with slightly different perspectives, and both so completely supportive.
The first said that when she was in my situation, she thought it would just be impossible to do both - have a family and do her work again. But then, when the twins came, she was amazed that she just stopped thinking about science at all. In fact, in the first few months, she felt the reverse of what I was feeling - what was the point of going back to this job? Now, 9 months later, she has much of her energy back and she feels that things are going smoothly and well - as smoothly as they can. Nice to have a proof of concept. I found her thought encouraging: Someday in the future I will actually have my old energy back, and then I will be able to think about all of these things clearly.
The second colleague had an entirely different experience. She had some baby blues both before and after. But she pointed out that science just doesn't really move that fast - so I'll miss a few months, and then I'll pick it up again. Her next point was that, really, the international project from which I've been ousted is really just not that interesting anymore..we've covered the highlights, and it's time to move on. So yes, maybe I've been excluded, but I should consider the club...that was also useful to hear. Her last point was also really really helpful - she didn't really feel that science had passed her by until years later. And at that point, her panic at feeling like she was being left behind actually served as an affirmation for her: She REALLY wants to be a scientist. So maybe my panic now, is just, in some small way, a form of affirmation. I do want to keep doing this.
In either case, letting a few tears go has resulted in that great chemical release - I feel a little bit better. And more than anything I feel rather lucky that I have close colleagues out there who have gone through this - and are still going through this! Both of them replied in less than 30 minutes and both told me to call them at any time if I needed to talk. Can you imagine doing this 25 years ago, without the convenience of the internet to connect me to these people, and simply without the benefit of a peer group who could share the experience?
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...they are just words, Suzi... - 2011-08-29