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A Pregnant Behavioral Scientist

March 22, 2022  |  By: Kristen Berman
pregnant behavioral scientist
Pregnant behavioral scientist Kristen Berman

This is me — 32 weeks — taking a classic hand on the hip picture.

What’s It like Being a Pregnant Behavioral Scientist?

Stage 1: I’m Having a Baby! (High-Level Construal)

Stage 1: High level. The baby is far in the future.

Stage 1: High level. The baby is far in the future.

  • I just got a pregnancy test. It’s positive: I’m having a baby! At this stage, things are far in the future – 10 months to be exact!
  • In the high-level construal stage, a person thinks abstractly about the future, they are focused on the bigger picture.
  • While morning sickness may be very much present, the actual baby actually feels psychologically distant.

Stage 2: I’m Having THIS Baby. (Low-Level Construal)

Stage 2: Low level. The baby is coming.

  • There is a baby in me and it will soon come out.
  • Around week 20 (midway!), I moved from a high-level construal stage to a low-level construal stage. Things became more concrete. The baby felt (and feels!) psychologically closer
  • In this stage, I started planning the future daycare, googling ‘how to avoid preeclampsia’, who would be our pediatrician and of course, I quadrupled my effort on finding the perfect name.

The Gender Gap

For women, this move from high level to low-level construal stages appears to come around 2nd or 3rd trimester, when the baby starts kicking and you start to noticeably show. The internet agrees — most prenatal articles are written targeting women around the 2nd trimester. Either consumerism is leading us, or we are leading it.

The Better Explanation — People

My main hypothesis is — other people. My friends and family are to blame.

What’s the Lesson Here?

This is not a suggestion for people to talk about pregnancy MORE with men/Phil and Less with the female/me. This is not a feminist rant.

Pregnant Behavioral Scientist meme

Great, But What’s the Insight?

If you want to speed up a life transition or change — tell people about the life transition. You don’t have to be a pregnant behavioral scientist to do this.

  • A PUBLIC life transition
    My friend is writing a book. She started a newsletter for people to follow her progress. She knows that every time she goes out to dinner with a friend, they will ask her how the book is doing and what’s changed. She will have to answer this question.
  • Vs. a PRIVATE life transition
    Another friend is considering a career change. She’s stuck in a loop of deciding what she wants and when. Imagine if she were to mass email her network and ask for referrals/intros. Now, this is public. People know. It’s likely the next time they see her, they will ask how it’s going. She will have to answer. Saying “no progress” could work for a while, but it will get embarrassing soon. She’ll want to answer the question!

A Pregnant Behavioral Scientist Goes From Resentment… to Reality

Given pregnancy is written on my t-shirt, I can’t start any conversation without debriefing that I will soon be a mother.

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