Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Hey, grad student moms! Good news! The compassionate undergrads at The University of Texas are sympathetic to the difficulties of TAing their class during your pregnancy. They're concerned they will get worse grades on their papers after that stupid kid pops out and ruins their GPA!

This is the gist of a recent article in UT's campus paper, The Daily Texan, entitled "[University Health Services] to offer discounted baby goods on campus". When I initially saw this, I thought diapers, wipes, snot suckers, maybe a nice ear thermometer. As it turns out, "baby goods" actually means breast pumps! They are offering breast pumps at a discount to UT students, staff, and faculty. While this seems a little weird to me, I guess it's nice. Breast pumps can be expensive, and if a woman chooses to go back to work while she's nursing, I guess it's also nice that they support that choice. How nice of them, to support lactation.

And they say they're trying to make it financially easier for women at UT, especially students, to juggle being a new mom and being in school. But why breast pumps?

"By having the pumps available at a discounted rate, female graduate students can get back to work sooner because they will be able to pump breast milk and store it for a later time, which will enable them to be away from their infants... The move is part of an effort to make maternity items more affordable and to reduce the amount of time graduate students in particular spend away from their jobs after becoming pregnant."

Oh. Thank goodness I'm not being encouraged to take a little time off to heal my mangled lady parts or bond with my newborn child, because that would be ridiculous! Because, really, the hard part about being a new mother and a graduate student is NOT being unable to sit on anything but a donut for two weeks or not sleeping for more than 45 minutes at a time or trying to pay hospital bills or coping with a tiny person that does nothing but screams at me and craps on me but still wants nothing but me. The hard part is definitely finding a way to get the milk from my boob to the kid in a manner that doesn't disrupt my studies. Thank you for caring so much about my research! It is rather important, and that is what you're concerned about, right?

"...Student Government Vice President Muneezeh Kabir said. 'When you’re talking graduate students, this is like our school’s rankings — these are the people that we as undergrads have grade our papers.'" 

Oh. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I just brought a PERSON into the world and you're concerned about me grading your term paper? Pardon me if I don't faint from gratitude that you're offering me discounted breast pumps. WHERE WOULD I BE without the kindness and understanding of people like you? Milking my boob into a styrofoam cup in the office bathroom, that's where I'd be! Or worse, at home with that horrible creature I spawned! So thank you, Student Government of UT. I can only hope other universities follow suit by not actually supporting motherhood, but by making it easier to "squeeze it in". 

The latter part of the article talks about a student-parent initiative that has been started on campus, which is interested in ACTUALLY providing support for parents, including having stops for the campus shuttle buses that go by the daycare on campus (because apparently it doesn't, currently), and other things that sound rather reasonable. It seems there's been a disconnect somewhere between the student-parent initiative, whose intentions sound honorable, and the people carrying it out/representing the changes. 

1 comment:

  1. I would be livid. Discounted breastpumps is a nice idea, but hopefully for the moms who have had adequate rest at home and aren't being pushed back into working. It'd be nice if such reforms actually included maternity leave for a new mom (and dad!). Maybe the breastpumps wouldn't seem like such a big deal if a mother actually could afford not to rush back to work.