[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/04/art.dianewood.chicago.jpg caption="Diana Wood has known President Obama since their days as part-time instructors at the University of Chicago."] Washington (CNN) - As a young working mother in the the early 1980s, Diane Wood, like many of her generation, struggled to balance work and family.
The future judge and Supreme Court contender had just accepted a job teaching law in Chicago, Illinois, while pregnant with her second child.
Soon after David was born, the professor went into anaphylactic shock and was rushed to the hospital with post-pregnancy complications. Despite her serious condition, she recovered quickly, but really had no choice. Friends say that with two young kids and a new job, no maternity leave was offered, and her male colleagues at work were mostly clueless over how to deal with her.
"People had no idea what to do with the fact that I had these two tiny children," she told an interviewer last year. Overcoming institutional and social challenges to become a nationally recognized legal heavyweight and high court contender, colleagues say, is a testament to Wood's intellectual and personal fortitude.