Teachers share experiences during pregnancy

May 27, 2010 — by Serena Chan and Sarah Hull

Morning sickness. Food cravings. Maternity clothes. For four faculty members, it is all part of the successive stages of pregnancy. Science teacher Kristen Thomson recently had her second child on April 20 , and speech pathologist Ronda Vierra, English teacher Natasha Ritchie and math teacher Jennifer Mantle are due in the fall.

Thomson delivered a healthy baby girl, named Isla Lily, and will be taking maternity leave for the remainder of the school year as well as one month of next year. Substitute Mr. Slayton will be filling in for her until she returns.

“[My husband and I] had several ‘back-up’ names but Isla Lily was at the top,” said Thomson. “It means Island Lily and my husband is from the Orkney Islands in Scotland. We also wanted some nature-like sort of name to go with it as well.”

Thomson’s pregnancy allowed students to connect to the material they were learning in biology in an interactive manner and ask informative questions.

“It was great to incorporate what was going on to teaching biology, and I think many kids felt more comfortable asking questions about babies and pregnancy because I teach biology,” said Thomson. “Several kids asked to feel her kick and I liked to say that I was the best form of birth control for my students this year.”

Other teachers have had to work to find the balance between teaching and the ups and downs of pregnancy.

“It was really hard to get any work done in terms of grading while feeling nauseated,” said Mantle, who will be having her second child. “I got a little behind. I’m thankful that I have a huge store of detailed lesson plans that I referred to in order to get through the daily notes in my class.”

Ritchie also added that there were a couple activities and discussions that her English 10 and English 11 Honors classes could not get to because of her absences from school at the beginning of her pregnancy.

Despite these minor setbacks, the faculty members have received positive reception of their pregnancies from their students.

“I told some students in my fifth-period class first because I was going to chaperone the Junior Prom,” said Ritchie, “but I had to tell them I would only be there for half the prom. When they asked, ‘Why?’ I told them, ‘Well, because I’m pregnant!’ And they got really excited.”

Also, many of the teachers have also found that once they begin showing, they are treated with more kindness and respect in public.

“I noticed more people opening doors and offering to help with things like carrying groceries to the car [during my first pregnancy],” said Mantle. “I’m not showing that much yet, so it’s hard to tell right now. Definitely more people are interested in, ‘How are you feeling?’ I get asked this question a lot!”

Even with all this special treatment, the most important thing to all of these teachers is the health of their babies.

Vierra said she and her husband have been hoping to have a child for four years. “At 41, I wasn’t sure we would ever be blessed with a child,” she said. “I am thrilled and can’t wait to meet this baby!”

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