Pregnant in Law School | Part 1: The Big News

Joni Bodnar, 7 months pregnant, right, pictured with her younger sister
Joni Bodnar, 7 months pregnant, right, pictured with her younger sister

When I first learned I was pregnant, I had just completed my 2L year and was two weeks into my summer internship with a law firm. Now I know there are many different emotions a woman may feel when she finds out she is pregnant, depending on her particular circumstances. Since I was already married with two children, ages 5 and 7, one would think the news of a third child on the way would cause me elation, but that honestly was not my initial reaction.

Joni Bodnar, 3L, with her husband and two children, before the arrival of her third child
John and Joni Bodnar with children Addison Beffa, 8 (left), and Harper Beffa, 5

Don’t get me wrong, my husband and I had actually talked many times about having a third child, since both of my older children were from a previous marriage and this would be our first child together. We talked about possibly having a baby during my third and final year of law school as opposed to my first year as a lawyer. We even talked about how perfect it would be if I got pregnant in April of my 2L year, because then the baby would be due over Christmas break. (And as we all know, babies always come at the most convenient time!)

When April came and went, my husband and I decided we should probably just wait on the whole baby thing. At that point, any baby would be arriving during my last semester of law school, which is when I am supposed to be interviewing for jobs, applying to take the bar exam, etc.

Exactly 29 days after our decision to hold off on expanding our family, we found out we were expecting our third child! My first reaction was to immediately process the news from a pragmatic standpoint: How would I handle being pregnant during my current summer internship? How would I handle missing school my final semester? How would I handle day care? These were things I needed to have completely figured out right away so that I could feel secure and happy with the ultimately great news of having another baby.

But as the initial shock wore off, I slowed down and realized I had plenty of time to figure out all the little details. Then, I did something very foreign to me: I began focusing on one day at a time, one thing at a time.

I first decided to focus on figuring out my schedule for my 3L year, so I contacted the dean to get permission to decrease my course load for the spring below the required 12 hours. I also added 3 hours to my fall schedule. Then I put my name on a list and turned in a deposit for day care. With those initial concerns out of the way, I could turn my attention to the next task: getting through the first trimester of pregnancy as a legal intern, sans caffeine!

— Joni Bodnar is a third-year law student from St. Joseph, Missouri. This is her first post in a five-part series about being pregnant during law school. In future installments, Bodnar will address getting through her summer legal internship during her first trimester, tackling her fall semester, planning for and delivering her daughter, and returning to school after her baby’s arrival.

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