My husband and I have been planning on having kids for a while. Im just finishing up my first year and we are really thinking about starting a family. If I had the baby in February 2016, baby would be about 5mo when I took my first set of boards. My husband works from home and makes good money. My school is very family friendly and actually has private nursing rooms in the back of the auditorium for new mothers. I want to match into family or peds most likely. Can anyone comment on what it would be like having a baby during 3rd year? I know it will be hard, but is it absolutely insane even if my husband is working from home? His job is pretty simple and laid back. We want 4 kids altogether so I definitely do not want to wait until Im done with school to start having kids. I guess our thought is having one now and then having the second some time during 4th year and going from there. Advice?
Personally I would not do this; I would just plan to get pregnant soon after starting third year, aiming to deliver at the beginning of fourth year. It just would not be worth the stress to me of being away from a young infant that much and having to juggle frequent overnights and schedule changes every six weeks, plus the near-certainty of a negative effect on your third year grades.
That said, it sounds like you are actually planning to try to deliver midway through second year and start third year with a five month old. That sounds unpleasant to me too but not as bad as trying to take maternity leave in the middle of third year, then figure out how to manage the baby while working 70+ hour weeks. I'd say if you don't get pregnant in time for the baby to be at least five months old before you start third year though, I would wait it out and try to deliver after third year.
Some things to think about:
- Would maternity leave put you off sequence? How would it affect the timing of starting/ending third year and your rotations? Would this be different if you delivered during fourth year instead? (It might be even more worth it to wait if it will mean you can avoid extending your overall schooling time.)
- It's really helpful that your husband works from home so he can cover emergencies or gaps; you would still need f/t child care if he expects to actually get any work done though. Do you have a plan for that?
- Also are you OK with being very much not the primary parent, and is your husband OK with being the primary parent, while you are on third year? This can be hard to judge if you haven't had a child before, but it can be really emotionally difficult to be separated from a young infant that much. Logistically difficult as well if you are planning to breastfeed during that time.
- Do you have family or other backup available? More doable if so, more difficult if not.
So just to clarify - If I were to deliver at the beginning of 4th year it would be easier to schedule maternity leave vs 3rd year? I guess what I am afraid of with waiting is even if I do deliver at the beginning of 4th year, I would still have to schedule maternity leave and then (depending on the length of leave which I can only assume would be a few weeks) I would be leaving my baby at potentially a younger age, and it still may put me off sequence.
If I delivered 3/4 of the way through 2nd year, I think it might be easier to schedule maternity leave (since you can watch lectures online, etc). Am I incorrect in thinking this? I only assumed but I have no idea.
If I delivered at the end of 3rd/beginning of 4th, I don't know that it would put me off sequence since I could potentially schedule my block of vacation right when I am due. I don't think it would put me off sequence to deliver during second year either since I could study from home or bring my baby to class when they get a little older and sit in one of the private nursing rooms.
I guess my fear is that if I wait until 3rd/4th year, I will have to leave my baby sooner to go back to school (8 weeks or less?) whereas with 2nd year I could at least study from home a lot easier until the baby was 5mo. These are all just my assumptions, though. I really have no idea.
I really appreciate your response and clarification about maternity leave.
I guess this is another question I should be asking - if I don't feel ready to start 3rd year with a 5mo old, I have heard of lots of women taking a gap year. How bad does this look? Im looking to do FM or peds most likely. I guess you'd think working with families and kids they might be more understanding
What kind of hours per day or week should I expect to work while in 3rd year? I know it will vary by rotation. Im just looking mainly for an estimate to see if its doable. I don't *want* to take a gap year because Id like to graduate with my class, but Im not opposed to it if I have to.
When I was in medical school (a long time ago), I worked about 80 hours a week in third year. The schedule was also very rigid because we had to do all the basic rotations (surgery, medicine, etc.) before doing any electives. We also took a lot of overnight call on most rotations. But your school may be very different. How is third year at your school?
As for second year, I found it quite difficult and needed to spend a ton of time studying. I could not imagine having time left over to take care of a baby during that year. In my school, the people who got pregnant during first or second year ended up taking extra time off and graduating a year later, but maybe your school is set up differently. There are probably people here on MomMD who have had a baby in second year and can tell you about it.
It seems that traditionally fourth year is the most flexible and least time-consuming year, so people tend to have babies then, but still there are challenges. You have to think about going away to do electives, flying to go on interviews, whether or not to interview pregnant, studying for and taking boards, and how old your baby will be when you start internship.
The other thing that makes it hard to plan is that there is a lot of unpredictability regarding getting pregnant, how the pregnancy and delivery will go, and what your child's needs will be. You may decide to change plans depending on how things go.
It is great that your husband has such a flexible job and that your school is so family-friendly. There are no easy answers as to when to have children, but I'm sure the support of your husband and your school will be helpful no matter what you decide.
Currently a brand-new 3rd year so I'll chime in. Take my advice with a giant grain of salt because it all depends upon your individual circumstances (how supportive is your spouse? your school? your family? etc) but having a baby and passing Step 1 5 months later would have been impossible for me. I did fine, average in my class, during 1st and 2nd year. Studying for step was a bear. I know in theory it sounds like you can care for an infant and study at the same time, but I don't think that's realistic. Babies do NOT respect your study schedule. Also, third year is at least 80 hours during inpatient months for us on medicine, ob/gyn and surgery rotations. I can't imagine being away from a very young infant that much, even if I wasn't breastfeeding.
If you can take a gap year, that's great! One woman in my class did this (light research year) between 1st and 2nd year and it was awesome. I would recommend taking step 1 while preggo (3rd trimester maybe) if you plan to take the year off between 2nd and 3rd year so you can deliver early on in your research year and have the year to spend with your kid.
Finally, I personally am planning to be pregnant for the last half of 3rd year and first few months of 4th year, getting my Sub-I and step 2 out of the way before I deliver. Then, I'll start intern year with an 7-11 month old (fingers crossed for getting pregnant during the right 4 month window). There are lots of ways to make it work, but it's better to know what you're getting yourself into as much as humanly possible. Good luck with your decision!