Juliana Fedoce



I’m a researcher in chemistry, university professor and mom to a 3-year-old son. I’m also a science communicator and founder of a not-for-profit crowdsourcing project to fund science in Brazil.

Instagram: @jfedoce
Website: www.suaciencia.org


“As much as we make plans and projects, something can get out of control.”

My scimom journey begins before becoming a mom. I always wanted to be a mother, but I also wanted to pursue an academic career. So my desire to be a mother had to be postponed until I had this supposed stability.

When I got pregnant I was the vice-coordinator of a graduate program, and in anticipation of my maternity leave, nobody among more than 80 faculty members was willing to replace me. My son was born prematurely during the selection process involving more than 200 candidates and 10 cities. At this very troubled moment I could only rely on my husband, also a university professor.

The deadlines had to be met, and in fact, I could only perform this duty because my son was in the intensive care unit. This wasn’t what I had dreamed or planned. That was, perhaps, the greatest lesson that maternity has taught me about work. As much as we make plans and projects, something can get out of control and yet, be incredibly good.

I continued working during my maternity leave, although at a much slower pace. I had the graduate program and my Master's student was going to defend her dissertation. The defence, scheduled to happen before my son’s birth, had to be postponed.

I hesitated between the decisions of being a full-time mom or return to work. I always loved my job. I was in a stable situation and wanted to give up my position to dedicate myself exclusively to my son. With these mixed feelings I made the decision to return to work, after doing a lot of thinking.

I really wanted to be efficient as soon as I got back to work, but some of my colleagues avoided including me in research teams and other projects that would be very interesting for me. But having a baby didn’t affect my husband’s career in the same way. So, it became very clear the problem wasn’t having a child- it was that I’m a mother and he’s a father.

I fought hard to get myself restored into leadership positions at work and I’m still doing thisoin a daily basis.

catarina moreno