Pregnancy and flight training

At first, I was a little hesitant to discuss my pregnancy here, as I wasn’t sure how it relates to aviation and whether it was maybe too personal. But the more I thought about it, the more I came to realize just how much it actually affects me during my flight training hoping that other women can benefit from my story as well.  

Although I always imagined having my own little family one day, being pregnant has never been on top of my priority list, especially now that I started an intense flight training course. But as with everything in life, nothing ever happens as planned…

So about 4 months ago and after a long battle with infertility and other related issues, I found out that I am pregnant. Ironically, this happened right at the start of my flight training. As you can imagine and despite my initial joy, I was completely overwhelmed with the news not knowing whether and how I will be able to continue flying. The fact that I wasn’t able to share the news with anyone (since it was still early and women are advised to wait until the second trimester) made it even harder for me. 

Unfortunately, my first trimester hasn’t really contributed with any positive vibes to my initial anxiety, as I was struggling with severe morning sickness..a term that I believe can be very misleading, as it does not even remotely do justice to what some of us women are actually going through. Apart from an overall feeling of being unwell I suffered from waves of depression that made me not want to leave my bed for days. It really was an emotional rollercoaster lasting several weeks and looking back at it now I am so thankful to have such a supportive husband, family, and friends by my side that managed to turn my worst thoughts into a positive mindset. I honestly don’t know how some women manage to get through this all alone. 

Nevertheless, I somehow managed to push through my flight training and in the end, even got my rating. I think what really kept me going was the thought that many other women have done it before me knowing their suffering might have been much worse than mine. 

As a member of many female aviator groups, I took the opportunity to reach out and ask for help. The support and advice I received from these women has been absolutely tremendous. It really touched me how many female pilots have reached out sharing their experience and advice, which has highly influenced my decisions with regard to my future training. They completely removed any doubts and worries and lifted me up by encouraging me to continue for as long as I am able to and feel good about it. Luckily, my flight school has been very supportive and accommodating with my training schedule as well, allowing me to continue at my own pace. 

I am now working towards my commercial rating with the goal of completion before the due date next year. My future daughter, who will be named after my role model and famous Aviatrix Amelia Earhart, already has more flight hours than many others and I am excited to raise her into a strong and brave woman with the courage to follow her own dreams. Nevertheless, I am not putting any pressure on myself and will listen to my body while staying motivated and focused on my training. So far, it has been a very healthy pregnancy so there should be absolutely no issue with me flying. Although I appreciate any concerns it also sometimes irritates me a little when people ask whether I will stop flying now that I am pregnant or stay at home once I have the baby, as a father and male pilot would never be asked any of these questions. 

Too often many of these pregnancy-related issues are being muted out of fear that we come across as ‘weak’, but I think it is actually a sign of strength and courage to reach out and open up about these topics. 

There are so many other subjects such as miscarriages, abortions, postpartum depression, infertility, etc. that are labeled as ‘taboo topics’ in our society and oftentimes being battled in complete silence that it is time for us women to speak up and address these issues instead of being judged and letting (male) politicians rule over our personal life choices. I urge every woman to raise their voice and reach out whenever help is needed. It is so very important to support each other especially when working in a male-dominated industry that is still subject to stereotyping and misogyny. Too often are women being brushed off as ‘hormonal’ when in fact hormones can actually dramatically affect all of us – men and women. So it is important to get a better understanding of our differences rather than being judgmental towards the other gender and address some of the issues we are facing instead of dismissing them due to a lack of empathy or knowledge. 

I will continue my journey in aviation with the goal to inspire other women to believe in their dreams and urge you to reach out whenever help is needed. With women still being a minority in this industry, it is so very important to support each other and realize that we are much stronger together. If you face any of these issues or are subject to discrimination please don’t let it stop you from continuing your path and instead have the courage to speak up. 

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