The Special Challenges of Being Both a Scientist and a Mom

mother with baby
Photo Credit: Bruce Mars

Scientist or Mom? It shouldn't be an either/or choice. In Scientific American Rebecca Calisi-Rodríguez shares her story to raise a voice for career mothers in STEM.

Biology tasks women as the creators and guardians of life in its early and most vulnerable stages. Pregnancy, giving birth, healing from it physically and emotionally, breast-feeding, parent–child bonding, child care and everything that accompanies them are a normal part of life, much of it necessary for our existence as a species. And yet this is not all that defines us. Unfortunately, depending on the society one lives in, having a baby can serve as an impediment to other life pursuits.

I am a scientist, a professor, and a science communicator. I am also an adoring mother of two amazing children. To support my career endeavors, I attend and present at many conferences. After having my children and experiencing the need to regularly pump and store breast milk when away from them, I developed a fascination with assessing the quality of lactation rooms. You can learn a lot about the organization hosting the conference from the state of their lactation room. For example, a clean, private, comfortable space dedicated for attendees who are breastfeeding or pumping breast milk says, “We value parents and support the biological needs of those nursing”. No such dedicated space, or perhaps a meager excuse for one, says the opposite. 

 

Read the entire article in Scientific American.

 

 

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