The Difficulties of Unwanted Childlessness in Academia by Anonymous

Writing a book in academia and trying to become pregnant can be very similar. It’s like trying to get two babies, two very different babies at once. You need perseverance; you need an idea about a future in which you succeed in achieving your goal. Both are full of ups and downs, hope and set-backs. Both can be incredible exhausting, sometimes almost too much. There can be this feeling of not doing enough, not being enough: not writing enough and at the same time having a body that does not do what you wish for. Failing on all levels. 

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Welcome to 100 Blogs: The Voices of Our Authors

We are excited to welcome readers to the 100th Voices of Academia blog! When we started out, we could not have anticipated reaching 100 blogs or creating such a vibrant, diverse and supportive #AcademicMentalHealth community. Along with many other accounts/organisations such as @OpenAcademics, @DragonflyMH, @ThePhDPlace and @ThinkAcademia (to mention just a few!), we are incredibly proud to be part of the movement toward creating a mentally healthier academia for all.  

At this point in time, we realise that some readers may be wondering about the future of Voices of Academia and whether it has served its purpose. Why should we continue publishing blog submissions? Is there really a need to keep sharing stories after reaching such a milestone? We argue that the answer is “yes”. As mentioned in our blog to celebrate two years of Voices of Academia, both research and anecdotal evidence indicate that stress and mental illness remain major issues of concern in higher education settings. For example, recent articles in both the popular press and academic journals have highlighted the unhappy experiences of many PhD students as well as Early Career Academics, and stories of faculty burnout are common. Yet we know people are often reluctant to discuss such issues, especially experiences of mental illness, in higher education settings. We believe it is through sharing our lived experiences that we can connect with others, learn lessons and coping strategies, and help to reduce the stigma about mental illness and related issues in the ivory tower.  Indeed, feedback from our readers tells us that reading the blogs has helped them feel less alone and, in some cases, inspired them to reach out for help. It is these stories that encourage us to keep going.  

What will we do moving forward? While we still hope to publish submissions in future, there are considerable costs associated with running the blog. We have an active fundraiser and we would welcome any contribution, large or small, to help ensure the future of Voices of Academia. Although our team of volunteers is entirely unpaid, we would like to continue paying authors for their work and the emotional labour associated with disclosing their lived experiences. Any donations will also help to cover the costs of maintaining the website and future fundraising efforts. At the moment, we are still far from our fundraising goal, so if you would like to support us, we would be extremely grateful!

Instead of writing a full blog post this week, we thought instead we would highlight the mental health stories of our 100 bloggers to date, highlighting a small, powerful section of each of their blogs, and hopefully encourage you to read them in full.

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