Posted by: momecology | December 2, 2009

Why biologists make distracted parents

In a post you have to be a mommy-scientist to find hilarious, Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde measures and analyzes her own lactation via breast pump. Normal mothers just worry if the baby is getting enough milk. Those of us with more degrees than are good for us worry about achieving a statistically-significant difference between the right and left boob. To understand why I found this so funny, and yet perfectly understandable, it helps to know that in the midst of my own first ultrasound, of my own first offspring, right after I thought “Oh my god! Look! My Baby!” I thought “Wow…what a cool machine…I wonder what these cost? We could make some reaaaaallly cool measurements in the lab with one of these.”



  1. Hi, I followed you over from Dr. Jekyll’s post.

    I had to laugh at your comment about the ultrasounds. My husband (a bioengineer) spent most of the time during our ultrasounds thinking about the equipment and the software.

    I’ve clearly become more of a manager than a scientist. The question on my mind was “when will they let me go pee????”

    Anyway, I love the idea for your blog. I’m trained as a biophysical chemist, and found that pregnancy and motherhood have made me think about pure biological questions more than I have in years… and the frustrating thing is that there aren’t answers to a lot of the questions I have. If I were still in academia, I’d seriously consider switching research focus….

  2. Well, hey and welcome, but before my head blows up, I have to know….did your husband manage to actually GET an ultrasound? Because I never did, but I haven’t given up the idea yet, and my younger baby is now 8 years old.

  3. Margaret, this is funny because it’s so true! From pregnancy onward, a scientist just thinks about the whole process of having and raising a child differently than the average population. I’m sure you could find lots of examples for a follow-up post, considering the number of babes born into your own department in the last couple years. đŸ™‚

    My anecdote is from Sierra’s birth. There was me (obviously), Jason (background in biology and chemistry), and Nicola P. was there as our birth assisstant. Well, the babe was born. Yay. And then the placenta … hmmm … well, I imagine MOST new mothers don’t really give a second thought to the placenta, but there we were, the three of us, and my midwife, “oooo-ing” and “aaawwwing” OVER THE PLACENTA. The midwife was turning it over, showing it to us, explaining where it attached … yep, good times!

  4. No… my husband was just present during my usual ultrasounds- one for baby #1, two for baby #2 (because I was over 35).

    He desperately wanted to get the raw data from our ultrasounds so that he could play with it at home, but that wasn’t possible.

    His master’s work involved image reconstruction from MRI data (on hearts), and he was sure he’d be able to figure out what to do with the ultrasound data.

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