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Friday, September 16, 2011

Pregnant and in Law School

I started law school at age 25. I had been married for about 2 years, but having kids was not in the plans for the near future.

At the end of my second year I had some surgery done for endometriosis. In my post-op appointment my doctor recommended that I stay off birth control for a little while, but he also assured me that pregnancy was unlikely given the endometriosis.

A week after finals, I found out I was pregnant. I had just started my summer classes.

Luckily, I never got sick, really. Just very tired, but I allowed myself to sleep when my body needed to.

Now, I’m five months along and starting my last year of law school. I’ve decided to take it easy and not to push it with a lot of credits. I will be in law school when I deliver. But I’ve talked with those who will be my professors at that time and planned ahead. And really, that is my advice to anyone who is pregnant in law school.


Here are more tidbits of advice:

· Let your study group know early on, or students you are working with on a project. That way they can prepare for any fatigue or hormonal effects.

· Let your professors know, if they need to know. Some professors feel like telling them you’re pregnant is a cop-out. Others will understand and work with you. You need to gauge who needs to know.

· Let the administration know. I often ask my dean’s secretary for help, advice, or a bottle of water. Letting her know really helped when I was stuck at the law school for long periods of studying.

· Bring snacks with you and stay hydrated.

· Ask your doctor for a handicap parking permit. Since you can’t lie on the couch all day, take the easy route to class. Parking at my school means that you walk about a football field’s length into the building for classes. I asked my doctor if I could have a handicap pass for going to class and he wrote me a prescription, which I turned in to get a temporary handicap pass. It has made a huge difference in avoiding the heat and making sure I reserve my energy for what is more important.

· Stop carrying a backpack. No really. The extra strain on your body is killer. As nerdy as they seem, take a wheelie cart to class.

· Be thankful. If someone is kind to you, make sure you acknowledge their kindness.

----Charmaine Wilde is a 3L at Baylor Law School in Texas. She received her B.A. from Southern Utah University, where she studied Political Science and Dance. Besides studying law, Charmaine runs a non-profit ballet program and is a yoga instructor. She has been married to Russell Wilde, an Austin-area news reporter, for the past five years, and they are expecting their first child in January 2012. She is a vice-president for the JRCLS student chapters board and previously served as the Texas regional representative for JRCLS.

4 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this post! I'm in a similar situation - six months pregnant and in my last year of law school. Baby is due on Christmas Day, but I well know he could come during finals. I appreciate the tips! Good luck with everything.

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  2. Wow! That's a lot to take on, baby included. Great article!

    And, can I just say that any professor who thinks planning ahead for pregnancy is a "cop-out" does not understand anything about a major medical issue 1/2 of the population may face during their lifetimes, which is also one of the most important equal-access issues for higher education for women.

    They should be told such and give you all of the accommodations you need!!!

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  3. Choosing a career in the law, being a mother and active in all other areas of your life will be very fulfilling but very tiring for a while. I had my fourth baby at the end of my first year of law school. My mother had her third baby during law school as well. We women are strong and when we stick together we can do anything. My advice is find good friends who understand these things and are willing to support these nobel endeavors. Good luck!

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  4. Wow. I salute you for still finishing your degree as a lawyer. Your baby should be proud of you. Philippine Attorney

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