The below is the conclusion to Carolyn’s post from Tuesday. You can view her first post here.
When our daughter turned two, we were excited to be trying for a second child. The next several months were painful for me especially, since every new month brought no pregnancy and I was very discouraged. Our first child had come without any planning, so why was I having trouble this time? When once we sought help, our doctor discovered that my system was killing off the sperm that entered my body. I struggled with this new information. We had one wonderful child; we simply wanted another to join her. Though it took a while, I came to be very grateful for the daughter we had been given, and accepted that I might never get pregnant again. We discussed the possibility of adoption.
While dealing with this issue and taking care of children daily, I came down with bronchitis that led to pneumonia. Care-giving stopped immediately; I could not even take care of our daughter because my fever was so persistent. It was very lonely in our apartment as she left for more than a week with my mother-in-law, and it took 6-8 weeks for me to feel 100% again.
In Joe’s third year, a major philosopher came to campus for a series of Philosophy Department lectures that were well-attended. At the end of the afternoon talk, he answered several questions, one in particular from a professor familiar with Joe’s work. The specific purpose of the question was intended to signal the death-knell of Joe’s line of reasoning. The philosopher responded, ‘I no longer hold to what I used to write in this area and I think [such-and-such] (Joe’s stance) is the correct way to go on this issue.’ The glance between my husband and his thesis advisor across the room was electric. After seven years of work, both in England and the US, Joe’s philosophical ideas had finally been given an official seal of approval.
We received a very special gift from God at the end of Joe’s graduate career, while he was employed as an adjunct for a year at the university and applying for a teaching job — a son was born. We never found out medically what had happened, but we were extremely thankful! Despite my confidence as a mother, my knowledge of the depression condition and a hopeful attitude, once again my PPD two-month-endless-tears blues returned. A month before our son turned one (our daughter was six), we moved to the location of Joe’s college teaching job, which is where we are today.
My husband remains in academia, and we remain happily married. I’m grateful that he never gave up his calling despite the stresses in our graduate career on both sides of the Atlantic.
Staying in academia has allowed us to:
- 1) live near the college where my husband teaches and have access to all the facilities;
- 2) spend a lot of time with the children, time that most (in our case) fathers might never have because of jobs that keep them away from home;
- 3) travel to interesting places as a family because of academic opportunities that were made available to my husband;
- 4) enjoy a lot of time together as husband and wife, because of my husband’s more flexible schedule;
- 5) expose our children to the world of ideas, which helped them enter worlds of employment that they might not have entered otherwise.
Looking back, in our graduate career, money was always scarce and there was little recognition for Joe’s hard work.
Was all the sacrifice worth it?
Wherever you find yourself on your graduate wife journey…maybe it is somewhere in Carolyn’s story or somewhere deep inside your own, we hope you can find comfort and courage in knowing that this journey is for a season. It is indeed going to be challenging, but also amazing. It’s our hope that through sharing our stories and supporting each other that we will become stronger and more beautiful women in the process.
What part of Carolyn’s story spoke the most to you and why?