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Having a baby half way through second year

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2 years 8 months ago #95850 by eh123
*Sigh*. This is a very tough decision.

I have been talking with the dean at my school as well as some of the faculty there that had kids during med school and residency. My school is really supportive of my decision to have a baby during 2nd year since I would have a little extra time. I found out that if I were to deliver during 3rd or 4th year, I would only get a month off, then I would have to leave a 1 month old and go back to 80hr/week rotations. I feel like if I take a year off, then I am basically prolonging the inevitable....I would then go back when they turn 1 and it would still be hard. I really wish there were more options for women wanting to start a family.

My husband is SOO supportive. He already does almost all the cooking/cleaning. His job doesn't really require much of him, which is awesome. We came up with this plan if things get too tough (assuming I deliver in Feb/March): if we can't handle things the way they are, we will hire someone to help out. If that's still too hard, he will quit his job and stay home full time. If that doesn't work, I will take a gap year. Ive already talked with the dean about trying to schedule the more demanding rotations (OB, surgery) at the end of 3rd year. My husband is also going to be talking to his work to see if they can schedule a longer lunch break so he can bring the baby up to the hospital for an hour or so (we only live 5min away). I don't know how 3rd year "lunch/seminar" breaks go, but I might just have to breastfeed during those things!

We were actually thinking about having our 2nd baby around the same time you mentioned, Reviliver.

Thank you everyone for your responses. I feel like with both med school and having kids, you almost have to figure it out as you go even if you do try to plan everything strategically. My study methods will have to change and I just PRAY that I get a decent board score and kick butt during 3rd and 4th year. Everyone at my school has given me the thumbs up and thought it was a good idea. I know its going to absolutely be the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Im terrified. My husband doesn't seem even a little concerned, haha.

Thanks again. Maybe in a year or so Ill comment on my experience and hopefully it will help someone else with their decision.

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2 years 8 months ago #95852 by sahmd
Yes, let us know how it all works out. Good luck!

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2 years 8 months ago - 2 years 8 months ago #95854 by ctenj
For what it's worth, I went into 3rd year with an 11 mo old and an almost 3 year old. I'm now a month away from finishing it. While it has been a long and tough year, I'm happy to say that we've all made it through in one piece. The kids are thriving, my grades have been surprisingly good, and the experience has drawn my husband and me closer. It was definitely not all sunshine & roses the entire time. Our winter of strep throat, multiple GI bugs, ruptured TM, and conjunctivitis while I was on OB/Gyn & Medicine and my husband was studying for oral boards still makes me shudder. I am seriously way sleep deprived. BUT we've made it through :) As you said, a lot of it is about learning to be flexible. At the beginning, I tried to plan everything out way far in advance and we learned the hard way that that leads to disappointment when it doesn't work out and a stressful scramble trying to sort things out last-min. We now figure a lot of things out as we go and are much less panicked about it all (although I won't lie... it's still stressful).

Also, while clearly things like pumping, etc... are disadvantages to starting 3rd year with an infant, I do have to say that one benefit is that at that age, it's much harder for you to leave your baby than for them to leave you. One of our biggest stressors this year was dealing with our 3yo's acting out with sitters (refusing to walk, throwing tantrums, etc...) because he wanted Mommy or Daddy to drop him off at school. Fortunately, that shouldn't be an issue for you!

Lastly, I think the key in all of this has been a supportive husband. I can't emphasize how much of how well our kids are doing currently and how well I've done on my rotations is because of everything he's done this past year. His schedule this year as a fellow, while still quite busy, was way better than mine so he's taken a lot of the home responsibilities. It sounds like you have that as well so are set up for success.

Good luck! Let us know how it all goes!
Last Edit: 2 years 8 months ago by ctenj.

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2 years 8 months ago #95858 by tr_

eh123 wrote: My school is really supportive of my decision to have a baby during 2nd year since I would have a little extra time. I found out that if I were to deliver during 3rd or 4th year, I would only get a month off, then I would have to leave a 1 month old and go back to 80hr/week rotations.


You should go with whatever seems most appropriate for your particular school's setup, but I'm confused that you are expecting to be working 80 h/week throughout fourth year? It seems like at most schools 4th year, other than a brief sub-internship, is quite flexible (designed to accommodate applications and interviews).

I feel like if I take a year off, then I am basically prolonging the inevitable....I would then go back when they turn 1 and it would still be hard.


Leaving a 1 y/o for extended periods of time is really really different than leaving a 6-week-old. Not to say that it's easy, but you'll have a lot more experience as a parent under your belt.

Personally I think a gap year is a great idea if it is manageable financially. Unless you are planning on a super competitive specialty I don't think it would hurt you. If you did want to do something competitive you oould still make it work by taking on a low-demand but relevant research or community health project during that time.

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2 years 4 months ago #96001 by eh123
Soo.....reporting back to happily say that I am pregnant!! My husband and I are so excited :D Im not worried about the end of 2nd year this coming spring/summer since when I deliver, I will only have 2 months of school left and we will be studying women's health and pediatrics (a little life experience can't hurt!). Plus my school is VERY family friendly. They have private nursing rooms in the back of the auditorium for new moms like me!

Ive done some research and Im possibly looking into taking a gap year so I can spend a year with my baby before going back to work. BUT I know I have to be involved somehow so that my year off doesn't look bad. I considered doing an MPH a while back since I LOVE public health, but I may end up doing research instead. My school just opened their new research center so Im pretty excited about that. I could potentially push boards back but I will be talking with the Dean next week to find out all of my options.

I know its not uncommon to take a gap year for various reasons (health, babies, research, etc). Honestly like I mentioned before, I hope to get pregnant again and have a second baby some time during 4th year and Im also considering taking a year between graduation and starting residency. My husband and I will be in the process of moving at that point, he will be starting a new job hopefully, and with a new baby AND starting residency that just sounds crazy. So hopefully Ill grab a residency and they will let me defer, or Ill apply a year later.

Im not worried about finding a residency, since like I said I plan on doing GP or peds in Michigan and I will be getting a D.O residency. Michigan is very DO friendly.

So I don't know, I guess Im just replying back to say I may be crazy but Im doing it. I shadowed a GP this summer who was 40+ and just now starting to have kids. She said she focused on her career first and now she's focusing on her family. That is awesome for her, but every part of me refuses to be like that. Med school is hard, having a baby is hard, and I know residency will be hard, but waiting until Im 40 to have a baby is just not what I want for my life. Again I love that she's finally ready and thats her choice and thats wonderful. Im just so different. And I don't want to be forced into that position by accident because I spent all of my time focusing on getting ahead in my career but forgot to start a family. I read a blog that really helped me see things differently. 2nd or 3rd year med student trying to get pregnant despite everyone saying it was a bad idea. She said waiting to start a family doesn't make it easier, you just get older. And thats it. Waiting until you're older may be easier career-wise, but your body is so different when you are 35-40, and waiting to have babies that late from what I read puts the baby at risk for all sorts of things, and it puts you at a higher risk for breast cancer and miscarriage. So all of those things added up just tells me in my personal situation that I do not want to wait. Plus the ending of the story is still the same -- I will be a mother and a doctor, regardless of the order in which I accomplish them. Every part of me knows I was meant to be a mom just as much as I know Im meant to be a doctor.

I saw my baby moving all around in the ultrasound. I am not even sure what their name will be but he/she is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Even if school is hard and in a few months Im pulling out my hair because of the stress, I know even now that I will never regret my decision to make this little life. I will be a better pediatrician or GP knowing what its like to be a parent. That kind of experience is priceless. And every part of me is so excited to be a mom to this precious little person inside of me! So bring on the difficult road ahead. I am honestly looking forward to it. I guess if there are any future moms out there in the same boat as me, just know you're not the only one crazy enough to try to have it all. Im looking forward to everything I will learn as a new mom working toward becoming a physician. Thanks everyone for your previous encouragement. I'll check back if I remember to let you know how things are going :)

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2 years 4 months ago #96002 by sahmd

eh123 wrote: Soo.....reporting back to happily say that I am pregnant!!


Congratulations! That's very exciting!

eh123 wrote: Honestly like I mentioned before, I hope to get pregnant again and have a second baby some time during 4th year and Im also considering taking a year between graduation and starting residency. My husband and I will be in the process of moving at that point, he will be starting a new job hopefully, and with a new baby AND starting residency that just sounds crazy. So hopefully Ill grab a residency and they will let me defer, or Ill apply a year later.

Im not worried about finding a residency, since like I said I plan on doing GP or peds in Michigan and I will be getting a D.O residency. Michigan is very DO friendly.


I want to just be excited about your news, but then I also want to comment a little to make sure you have considered a couple of things. I am just wondering about some of the details of taking a year off between graduation and residency. Are you even allowed to match and then ask them to defer? I thought the match obligated you to start on time. And then the idea of graduating and then trying to match the following year may mean that your school is not going to help you with the match process, like they would if you were still a student there. That happened to one person who posted here a few years back. Maybe the best way to take a year off would be to leave in the middle of 4th year, then do the whole interview/match process when you come back, then finish out the year and graduate. Or you could just not take a year off. A lot of people have babies during their 4th year because it is flexible and light enough that you don't have to take a year off.

I'm not sure I understand the timing of your planned move to Michigan. My impression, and I could be wrong, is that the match is pretty competitive these days, and you can't just count on matching in a certain geographic area. This is a recurring theme among people here who have not matched. Maybe peds and FP are not very competitive specialties, but you also have to consider that 2 years off might make you a less competitive applicant, unless you do something ambitious during those years. From the point of view of making sure you match, you might want to apply widely (i.e., other states, too), wait to find out where you will be going, then have your husband find a new job where you will be doing residency. Maybe that is what you are planning already, but I couldn't tell for sure.

In any case, good luck, and I hope everything goes well with your pregnancy!

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