Why you may want to wait and have that baby AFTER art school

It’s too late for me, obviously, but you could save yourself.

Nota bene:

*Maternity pants do not look quite right with the art uniform.

*Morning sickness does not mix well with photo chemistry.  Plus, using a ventilator mask only exacerbates the feeling that you are being invaded by aliens.

*It’s unwieldy and uncomfortable to schlepp lights, view cameras, tripods, stands, drawing boards, toolboxes, and power packs around with a basketball-sized babe lodged in your uterus.

*Being surrounded by photo students means you are pretty much guaranteed to see your child’s birth canal plastered all over somebody’s senior thesis show.  That’s right. Imagine standing in a room full of 20 year olds staring at your vagina blown up to 30 x 40. Awkward.

*It is impossible to care about footnoting properly when suffering from post-partum depression.

*Babies do not amuse themselves and/or sleep soundly just because you have a gigantic critique the next day.  EVEN WHEN YOU ASK NICELY.

*6 hour studio classes mean you have to sit on the nasty floor of the bathroom and pump during the break.

There are loads of other reasons, the most heinous of which I have gladly repressed. On the other hand, a baby provides a cheap and available model for many of your projects, and lots of sleep-deprived angst to channel into something creative. If you can drag school out for a few extra years, it just might work for you. Besides, during those moments when they’re not tired, cranky, hungry, or expelling something from one end or the other, babies are really quite charming.

Published by

Beret Olsen

Writer, photographer, teacher, and part-time insomniac.

6 thoughts on “Why you may want to wait and have that baby AFTER art school”

  1. I DID wait until after art school to have my first kid…it didn’t make things much better. I did end up making an entire series about the “science experiment” that was my pregnancy that did not include self-portraits! With my second I was a photography professor and still did the pumping in the bathroom during the breaks in my studio classes. I allowed no student to photography me. I think I might have threatened their grades and/or lives if they were caught. Both my male coworkers ignored my threats. After all, I was pregnant, smaller, and not grading them.


    1. I’d love to see your work! Is it up online? How you managed to photograph pregnancy without any self-portraits definitely intrigues me. Also wondering how you manage to balance your teaching load and artwork with two kids. Very impressive.


  2. I do have a website with my work. I just finished the update/redesign yesterday! It is sheilatalbitzer.com If you click on the Porfolios tab and then click on Gestate you will see my solution to photographing pregnancy without photographing myself. I would love to hear what you think of those images.
    As far as managing to balance teaching, art making, and family…I can’t claim I am all that good at it. When I am in the middle of a project we live in a pretty messy house and pick our clean clothes off the pile on the couch downstairs. Hey, at least they are clean. My solution is to schedule art making time and guard it jealously! I also now do all my work with digital capture and output so I can shoot during my allotted time and then edit after the little ones are asleep. My husband makes art too so he understands and we take turns with “studio time”.
    My newest issue to resolve is studio space. Right now I work in the baby’s room since he is still a co-sleeper. That is going to end soon. I am hoping my boys will want to share a room!


    1. I finally got a chance to check out your website, and it is lovely. I like the way you boiled down the whole nine months into a relatively short list of verbs. The list really resonated for me, and I was thinking about how the meaning shifts before and after giving birth. Do you know what I mean? Many of those words still apply, despite the complete change in circumstances. Leak and Flutter are awesome. My favorites were definitely Stretch and Nourish, for many reasons–not all of which I can articulate. They are so gorgeous, and really allude to the way that pain overlaps with joy and beauty. Nosing around, I also appreciated what I assume are melancholic portraits of empty dollhouse rooms.
      P.S. Everyone loves bunk beds! You deserve a space to work.


  3. Those images are beautiful! My favorite is the last one of those little bruised legs hanging over the crisp white linens. LOVE IT!
    Since such a monumental life change I have found it hard to make work that is about anything except family. I am surprisingly cool with that. It is the most authentic I have felt in a long time.


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