Babies R US: Pregnant Teachers in the Upper School

Olivia Baker “20 weeks.” That is what Serena Williams told her fans via Snapchat on April 19. Coupled with a selfie of an evident baby-bump, it was enough to send the Internet into hysteria. But it was not so much that she was pregnant— about three months earlier, Williams defeated Barbora Strýcová in the Australian Open. And three months earlier, while pregnant, Williams won a Grand Slam title. In a society where pregnancy often seems to define a woman—she is seen as hindered, her achievements obscured— Williams’ victory is a testament that pregnancy is not a limitation. Fortunately, for pregnant teachers at Latin, pregnancy is not a limitation either. There is no difference between being pregnant and not at Latin, according to Ms. Resendiz, who gave birth this year. With one exception— “the constant need to go to the bathroom.” But otherwise, Latin is accommodating. “I appreciate that we have elevators, and that I can generally count on there being an extra seat in the theater or an extra chair in the classroom,” said Ms. Landis, who is currently pregnant. Since the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, pregnant women’s rights in the workplace have been a topic of contentious discussion. Despite the statute’s reification, in 2014, CNN reported that government agencies received 5,370 reports of pregnancy discrimination. Certainly an improvement from 2008, where 6,300 cases were filed. Nevertheless, discrimination against pregnant women exists. But for Ms. Landis and Ms. Resendiz, workplace discrimination has not, and was not a problem, thanks to Latin’s caring community. “Teachers and staff were always asking how I was doing and offered help/assistance whenever necessary. I did not have to attend the overnight senior retreat because it was too close to my delivery date— this was very much appreciated…I haven’t noticed much change in how I’ve been treated relative to before, and that’s been fine with me,” said Ms. Resendiz. “I’m not sure I’ve felt any specific needs that required nurturing,” added Landis. “I’ve been very lucky in many respects: I’ve had no nausea and very little fatigue, which I can imagine would make anyone’s job more difficult. So far I haven’t had to miss any classes to get to my appointments– although I have missed a few after-school meetings. But both my department chairs, the division director, and HR all assured me that it was no problem if I did have to miss class sometimes for appointments. So that was one less thing to worry about. If they had said it would be a problem, I would probably have been pretty stressed about scheduling appointments.” Indeed, Latin is known for its close-knit relationships between students and teachers. To find out your teacher is pregnant is perhaps an equivalent to getting into a college (maybe…I wouldn’t know). With this intimacy, however, comes invasion. But congrats, readers! According to Landis, we have not asked “[any]thing weird or too personal.” (This is such an achievement.) “Some students ask questions, some don’t,” she said. “I think I’ve gotten questions in half my classes, but not the other half. General things like, ‘Do you know if you’re having a girl or a boy?’ or ‘Have you picked out names yet?’” Ms. Resendiz explained, “I think the relationships have remained the same…but my workload and class dynamic did not change.” Even while pregnant, these women still find time to worry about us students. “I think some of my classes are concerned about the likelihood of having a sub–whom they’ve never met yet– at the end of the year. I understand that. I’m nervous too about not being here to wrap up finals and grades and all that, but I’ve planned as much as I can and left detailed notes and instructions and so forth, so I’m sure it will be fine,” said Landis. The prospect of an addition to the family is one that is seemingly unparalleled; things will inevitably change. To what extent, though, is the question for Landis who added, “I’ve been wondering how next year will feel different for me compared to this year or previous years. I expect it will be a bigger change for me to have a baby at home than it has been to be pregnant.” “We’ll see,” she said.]]>