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Having a baby while at Booth

April 20, 2010

Below is an interview with one of the current second year student mothers at Booth. She tells us about being pregnant with her first child while at Booth.
Enjoy !

M@B: When did you first find out that you were pregnant? Was it surprising news?

We decided to have a baby during my first year in school but it happened really quickly. I thought it would take several months but it took one try! So we were very surprised and excited when we found out. It was in the midst of recruiting for internships, in February.

I found out a day before two major interviews. I was interviewing with the largest automotive interior protective products manufacturer in the Americas (based in South Carolina) and with a multinational corporation that designs and manufactures consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers (based in California).

My head was somewhere else; I was very excited about my pregnancy. I do not know how I interviewed but I ended up getting both offers. My husband was in Chicago and he couldn’t come with me so it was a hard decision to make. I was pretty nervous to move by my-pregnant-self. But I accepted the position in California.

M@B: Did you tell your employer? How did your co-workers react when they saw you with your big belly?

I called my future employer around May to let him know I was pregnant. I did not think it would interfere with his decision but did not want to surprise everyone with my big belly.

I was very surprised by his reaction. Not only was he supportive but he also sounded really happy. My team sent me a present before I even got California and met them.

Once I was there, I got endless support and had a very supportive team. They got me bottles of water so I would drink enough. I spent three months in California and was lucky to have a very easy pregnancy. Besides the physical changes, I felt great.

For the summer, I signed up for executive housing through the company, and it had no air conditioning, which was a big mistake! I was very hot all the time. Every day after work I would jump into the pool or go to the mall to chill. Also, I thought it would be a good idea to exercise while pregnant so I got the housing next to the main corporate office but I didn’t know that the offices were scattered around the whole city and I ended up having to take my car everywhere. So in the middle of the summer my husband came to help me move!

M@B: You began your second-year 8-months pregnant. How was your fall quarter?

I only took two classes in the Fall quarter, Corporate Finance and Theories of Leadership. Both of them were at Gleacher so I could get in a cab to go to class.

My due date was November 2nd, right on the day of my Corp. Fin. Midterm, so I wasn’t sure if it was worth studying for it ?. But I studied just in case and I was right to because Mia was born two days after the midterm!

I wrote a paper for my Theories of Leadership class when Mia was 5 days old. The pain medication must have given me good insight because I got the best grade of the quarter!

After Mia’s birth, I had to miss 2 or 3 classes but both professors were very understanding and supportive, and I studied by myself to catch up before the finals. I then enjoyed some time off during winter break and my mother in law came to help out.

I was back for winter quarter when Mia was one month old.

M@B: Who takes care of Mia when you’re in school? How did/do you handle school (classes, groups, homework, etc.) and a newborn?

I have an AMAZING nanny that comes by four times a week. I found her online and was very lucky! She not only takes care of Mia but also helps me with the house.

At the beginning I would sleep during the day and read cases between night feeding. I try to study during the day at home and attend classes at Gleacher at night when my husband is home. Yoad (my husband) is a hands-on guy and he can bath Mia and put her to sleep when needed. He also covers for any middle of the night feeding when my schedule gets busy. This quarter (my last quarter) I try to go to Harper more frequently. But, the bottom line is that I have a great support system that helps me keep on track. It is not the cheapest option but it keeps us all happy.

M@B: You’re graduating in a few weeks! What are your plans?

I decided not to accept a full-time position where I interned because it was in California and my husband has a good position in Chicago.

Full-time recruiting was early in the winter quarter and I was 8-9 months pregnant so I decided not to recruit. It was my own personal choice. I was not in the right mood to interview. I didn’t feel on top of my game.

It took me a couple of months to get back to the field and to decide to start looking for work. I am now looking for a full-time position in the Chicago area.

M@B: Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

There’s a sacrifice in being pregnant in school; my interests were not the same as most of my classmates and I did not go to most TNDCs. Mainly, I felt my energy level was not as great as my classmates’. But I got to control my schedule; at Chicago Booth you can take the classes you want, whenever you want, wherever you want! The faculty and staff were supportive and understanding. So after Mia was born, I took classes that were “easier” for me, and now I take classes at night to spend time with my daughter during the day.

Giving birth in Chicago is also amazing because of the great hospitals. I gave birth at Prentice (Northwestern) where every room is private with an amazing view on Chicago’s skyline or the lake, and a flat screen LCD TV (for when you have enough of the lake). When I was in labor, after they gave me the epidural, I watched “Confessions of a Shopaholic” with the Video On Demand system! This hospital stay was great; I didn’t want to go home!

More importantly, most research show that the gap between men and women in the workplace starts when women take off for work; I won’t have to take time off of my career and I had my baby in a very supportive environment.

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