Thursday, June 16, 2011

Notes From the Trenches: Pregnant in Law School

This is the first in a series of guest posts from Leigh, a second-year law school mom.

I’d like to briefly introduce myself before delving into my experience as a law school mom. I attend law school full-time and just finished my second year. I also have a 14-month-old daughter and a wonderful husband. I was pregnant with my daughter during my first year of law school. For those of you doing the math, you have probably figured out that I was pregnant throughout my entire first year of law school. When my husband and I found out that I was pregnant, we decided to forge ahead. I would stay in law school, he would stay at his job, and we would make it all work.

Of course, our dreams of how easy pregnancy would be were sorely misplaced. Going through pregnancy is quite often a bumpy road. And let me tell you, pregnancy during law school is by no means easy sailing. The end result, though, is a reward so great it’s indescribable. I love motherhood, and I love being a law school mom.

That said, most of you probably want to know what it’s actually like to be pregnant during law school and what to expect. Can you do it? Absolutely. Are there some things you need to be aware of and realistic about? Absolutely. Let me share my story and tell you a few things I believe are essential to surviving law school while pregnant.

During my first trimester, I managed to escape any and all forms of morning sickness. While I believe other moms may hate me for the lack of actual sickness, I did suffer from extreme exhaustion. I wanted – and needed – to be crafting my ability to brief a case successfully. Instead, I found myself falling asleep while highlighting and struggling to keep up with reading assignments. Which brings me to my first point…

You need to understand that your grade point average may take a hit. I will be blunt with you: my grades would have been better had I not been pregnant my first year of law school. Even if you don’t have any type of pregnancy complications, there are other normal pregnancy “side effects” that are likely to take a toll on your studying ability. Exhaustion and irritability go hand in hand with law school. Add in pregnancy and you get a bubbling cauldron of emotions and potential difficulty in dedicating yourself to law school studies.

My second trimester progressed relatively smoothly. Sure, I may have started to outgrow my regular pants and I may have been regularly eating eat bizarre foods (cream cheese and green olive sandwiches, anyone?), but no major issues with my pregnancy arose. However, this was the point when I began to tell classmates that I was expecting and I first spoke with my school about how they handled pregnant law students in the past. This brings me to two more essential points. To be continued...

1 comment:

motheratlaw said...

Your story is almost identical to mine. My husband and I didn't know we were pregnant when I moved 900 miles away for law school. I had our daughter during my spring semester finals of my 1L year. As you said your grades may suffer some, but I was able to stay in law school while people without spouses, children or pregnant couldn't make the cut. Needless to say I just graduated from law school a month ago and am engrossed in bar prep materials and little sleep. I promise that the school will be accommodating if need be, you just have to ask. I worked hard and even booked my favorite class my 3L year all while interning and sitting on the executive board of the SBA. Good luck to those students expecting or with children.