A change of pace

As you may have noticed, Plant Scientust has been quiet for most of 2017. This wasn’t intentional, but a consequence of various, mostly positive events in my life that made it hard to find time and energy to write for the blog.

By far the most significant of these events was giving birth to my first child in the autumn. My son (who I shall refer to as Sprog) arrived after a straightforward labour and, although I can’t pretend that the earliest days of motherhood have been completely smooth sailing, becoming a parent has been an overwelmingly positive experience so far.

Pregnancy was one of the most amazing and weird experiences of my life. Even though I am a biologist I still find it hard to comprehend how I managed to grow a new human in the space of 9 months. In the second and third trimesters feeling the baby move inside my belly was exhilarating, often distracting and, when he kicked my ribs, painful. By the end of my pregnancy my friends and family were laughing at my slow waddling gait (to be fair, I was laughing too) and — due to a combination of feeling hot, swollen ankles and struggling to reach my shoe laces — I was still walking around in slip-on sandals when people around me were reaching for their winter coats…

Of course, the world doesn’t stop turning when you are pregnant so I’ve also been juggling my job, my voluntary work running a Girl Guide unit, and tending to my allotment. Even though I’ve stayed in pretty good health, tiredness and joint aches and pains in the last couple of months meant I had to spend much more time resting than normal. Fortunately people were generally very understanding when it took me longer than usual to do something I had promised. My husband was also very supportive and didn’t complain when he landed up cooking dinner even when it was supposed to be my turn.

I’ve also had a productive year at work. Alongside my usual editing tasks at eLife I researched and wrote my first two feature articles for the journal. The first discussed some of the many journals and other organisations that publish plain-language summaries of research articles. The second article discussed peer review in the context of research grant funding. I really enjoyed the challenge of writing the articles and I’m pleased with the end results.

I’m on maternity leave for the next few months so I’m planning to get back into science blogging as a bit of a break from looking after Sprog. Hopefully my next post will be ready in January.

Wishing you a Happy New Year.

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