Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Being a pregnant law student (1st trimester)

When I was thinking about thinking about having a baby in law school, I scoured the internet searching for blogs of women who had done the same thing, hoping to get some information on what it would be like. This is pretty much pointless because anyone will tell you that no pregnancy is like another and each law school is different, but it was an obsession anyway. I'm sure I'll have more to say on this topic later, but I figured that I'd write about things so far:

The absolute biggest complaint is exhaustion. I had a severe case of mono in college and I was nowhere near this tired. Its the kind of tiredness that comes out of nowhere and absolutely knocks you out. I will get 8 hours of sleep, be awake and perky all morning, and then around 2pm my body will start shutting down. There is pretty much nothing I can do about this. During those first few weeks I used to worry it would happen while I was driving because I wasn't sure it was safe for me to stay on the road (I live less than 20 min. from the law school). I also had 2 afternoon finals and I was terrified I would involuntarily fall asleep halfway through. I read everything I could find about the dangers of caffeine while pregnant and decided a few diet cokes wouldn't hurt anything. Diet coke combined with sheer will got me through those exams. I'm now at 11 weeks and the exhaustion has gotten better- I still get really tired, but I can push through it if necessary. The reading takes me longer, but I don't actually slump over the library table in a narcoleptic fit.

I have been very fortunate with morning sickness. While I woke up every morning feeling like I'd been out all night drinking (and then hugging the toilet), I never actually threw up. I credit this partly to the Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy which told me, in its infinite wisdom, that unlike when you've drank too much, throwing up because of morning sickness does not actually make you feel better. I hate throwing up, so even though my body was pretty sure I should, I would force down flat ginger ale and try to remember the days where I woke up to an alarm and not nausea. (I was quite lucky- some of my friends couldn't keep it down no matter how hard they tried.) The queasiness continues off and on, but pretty much went away by the time classes began (I was 9 weeks). There is still a lot of food that I feel like I'll never want to eat again (basically anything that isn't a carb covered in cheese), but I am able to choke down salads and fruit. A benefit is that things like cake, ice cream, and brownies all sound terrible, so while I eat pizza for most meals, at least I don't add on dessert!

Two of my professors know of my "condition" as do a lot of my classmates. Pretty much everyone has been quite congratulatory (even while thinking- "she is nuts")- in fact, my worst reaction so far remains my own family. Even the in-laws were thrilled. One of my professors, who has a 2-year old himself, wrote an incredibly kind email about how wonderful it was and how this matters so much more than school. I have saved the email to remind him of his wise words come exam time...

So that's about it. The hardest thing is battling the urge to fall into a deep, long sleep every afternoon. I can't imagine being pregnant while working- at least now I was able to schedule all my classes to be over by 12:10pm. If I go home and sleep all afternoon, all it means is that I have to hide behind my laptop when the professor calls on people the next day. I have no clients or partners who need me to be productive. I really don't know how they do it.


  1. Pizza was the only thing that I could choke down during my first trimester too.

    It's great that you're getting so much support at school -- maybe they'll cut you some slack if you doze off in class once in a while. Hang in there a few more weeks -- you should be feeling better soon!

  2. I found your site through CM's. Congrats! In a way I wish I had a baby during lawschool -- I feel like I have less flexibility in the work world.

  3. I'm eating so much pizza these days -- thank heaven for the Round Table Pizza lunch special -- I force myself to eat salad before I move onto the good stuff.

    A nice side effect of this pregnancy is that pizza tastes the same way it did when I was a kid!

  4. I found your blog through Google, and I have to say that it is encouraging to me. I am finishing my undergrad at University of Michigan in April and going to law school in the fall. I will be getting married in May and my fiance and I are really thinking about having a baby while I'm in law school. He's a teacher with benefits and lots of at-home time.
    I am mostly worried about the discrimination factor of having a baby in law school. However, it seems to me that it might be better to have a baby in school than in the first year or two of work. I think the flexible hours of school make life so much easier.
    Your thoughts are very helpful. Whatever we choose, we win because we get to have a family of our own. Good luck to you and enjoy being a parent!

  5. My husband and I are contemplating trying to get pregnant in order to have our first child the summer after I graduate from law school... In your experience.. would you recommend that? My thinking is... I don't want to go on maternity leave right after I get a job... I don't think that would look very good... but on the other hand... my husband is a good bit older than me.. and he doesn't want to be in his late 50's when his second child graduates from high school..... so we thought we'd start early.... And.. by waiting to have it during the summer after I graduate... we won't have to worry about paying for child care costs on one salary...

  6. To "thinking of becoming pregnant": I know several people who have had a baby the summer after 3L year and it seemed to work out great for them. I think that if you're ready to start a family then you're ready to start a family and it's very hard to wait any longer- and no time is perfect, so one that isn't highly inconvenient is pretty good!

    The women that I know who had a baby that summer started as late as possible at their respective firms- usually you get the option of multiple start dates- and most firms were happy to push that back a little more if necessary. It would be good if the little one was at least sleeping for long stretches at night when you go back to work!

    So, I don't have much advice, but I can say I've known women who did it and it worked well for all of them. Good luck! One thing with babies- all the planning in the world doesn't mean much. As a fellow planner, that was the hardest part about all of this!

  7. I'm really glad I ran into this. I just found out I'm pregnant and am trying to decide if I should keep the baby. My fiance decided to leave me when I said I wanted to keep it so I'm on my own. . . all the same it's good to hear inspirational stories like yours. BA done May 2009. MA 1/2 finished and done May 2010. Baby due October in between with law school after my MA in English is finished.

    I'm probably crazy, but thank you for making me feel as though this won't be the penultimate decision to losing my dreams / goals.

  8. Thanks for posting this. I'm a 2nd year doctoral student, and 10 weeks pregnant. I feel the same as you do... but I'm beginning to get my energy back.