Sonia Goltz was an assistant professor in the late 1980s, when the university she worked for didn't have very family-friendly policies. Despite a strong cultural current against the few female faculty having children, she went ahead and had her second child anyway.
Goltz returned to teaching a mere five days after giving birth, afraid that the university would "hold it against her" if she took a few weeks of leave. "I had to have an episiotomy so I had to go to class with a pillow for my first class," she explains.
Later, when Goltz was up for tenure, the university added a "stop the tenure clock" policy, which allows faculty to add time to their tenure track in order to compensate for lost productivity due to personal or family reasons. But Goltz was told she didn't qualify because only those up to three or four years into tenure track could apply. When Goltz was denied tenure, she filed a lawsuit against the university in 1996, alleging among other things that the lack of time off following childbirth meant she was held to a different standard than other colleagues. The jury ruled against her, and a federal appeals court denied to hear her case in 1998.
Still, Goltz says, "I'm glad I had my child when I did." She says she's heard from other women who waited until after tenure to have children, and then were unable to conceive. "They were just really, really upset. Seeing those difficulties, I'm glad I did it the way I did," she says. "And it really brought home how awful the current structure is for women."