I went to the SVP annual meetings last week to do a talk and a workshop. Here are some things that I learned about conferencing internationally while pregnant.
- I kind of wish I had bought the compression socks for the long flight. But I got up and stretched often and kept hydrated and recovered quickly on the ground.
- Drinking fountains are not as common in non-US countries, so check ahead if the tapwater is good.
- Pack some saltines. Even though I didn't have morning sickness before leaving, the upset of travel left me a little ill. Wish I had done this.
- Room snacks. This is what kept me from becoming a monster. I packed nuts, dried fruit and pretzels. Bought plums and yogurt in Berlin. For contrast, hotel breakfast was like 20 bucks.
- The caffeine limitation is just bad news. Sorry, lady.
- Schedule important meetings early in the week. If you're ill and can't make it, you still have time to reschedule.
- Be proactive about things to which you would like to go versus things to which you must go. I needed mid-day rest, and found it hard to go to talks immediately after lunch. Everybody's different, and your body is pretty good about telling you what it needs.
- Networking is harder. I was too tired to be out super late. If you saw a talk, and you liked it, and you know that you'll be immobile by 10 pm, be forward about trying to get together with that person.
- Be focused. When people find out you're pregnant, they might want to talk about their experiences having a kids and ask you questions about the baby. They're happy for you! But if there's something you need out of that interaction, practice good steering and keep the conversation on track.
- Relatedly: I'm an open book; I realize not everyone is. Decide what your boundaries are for discussion in a professional setting, and politely defend them.
I got a lot out of this meeting, without feeling like I was stretching myself too thin. Add your own helpful conference stuff in the comments.
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