I was pretty much in your exact position two years ago. I had my son in February of my fourth year. By that time I had finished all of my clinical rotations and was just waiting to graduate. I chose to take a year off and actually just started my residency in EM this month.
Personally, I loved having the year (almost year and a half) home with my son. I saw it as the one time where I could take a leave from the medical career track without much concern or raising of eyebrows from anyone. It seems like once you get into residency it's not as easy to just take a year off. And once you finish residency it's easier to find a job straight from residency, not to mention you want to keep working to keep up your skills. I'm sure others have found ways to take time off during or after residency, but it seems much easier to do before ever starting. When I was interviewing not one person saw it (or at least no one mentioned it) as a negative on my application. In fact the programs I liked most were very family friendly and thought it was great I took the opportunity.
As far as boredom... I really wasn't bored, but I think that varies from person to person and something you may not know until you get into it. It has been hard to go back to work this past month. Now that my son is talking he calls for me when I leave and it can be heartbreaking, but I feel so grateful for the time I had and I've gone back at a time that is right for me.
In the end, just do what you think is right for yourself and your family. If your not sure right now, go ahead and start applying to residency programs, you're not locked in until you submit your rank list in February. If you do decide to go right back, just think- your child will only be 3 when you graduate! He/she will probably have no memory of you working when they were a baby and as they grow up they'll only remember how much you were around thanks to your nice EM attending schedule! So give yourself some time to think and I'm sure whatever you choose, you and your baby will be just fine.
Just wanted to thank you mommyres and others for your replies. I really appreciate it. We go for the first (early) ultrasound tomorrow, so we'll see how it goes! At this point, I'm leaning more towards taking a year off. Any other input is always welcomed though! Any ideas of things poeple do on the side during time off- research, teach for Kaplan, anything else? (not too time-consuming, maybe part-time?)
Hi Rina! I'm in my second month of internship after taking a year off. My baby is now 8 months old and I'm really glad I got to be with her the first 6 months.
I got pregnant in the spring of 4th year. We knew we wanted to move west for my residency and DH had one more year of surg res to go once I graduated med school. So, it made sense for me to take the year off anyway.
Before she was born I too wanted to work and feel productive. I did teach some summer school, but the by the time I had to finish residency applications, I was getting really tired. I basically stayed home and shopped on the internet in the last couple of months of pregnancy!
I had to interview on the other side of the country when she was 5 weeks old, and DH couldn't take anymore time off. That was certainly the hardest thing I have ever had to do-- harder than anything in med school!
So I went to my interviews (EM, too, by the way) toting my breast pump and pumped whenever there was a 15 minute break and a spare office. Luckily we stayed with family so there was always someone reliable to babysit.
Once interviews were over I knew I would be home with her a finite time and decided to enjoy it. Staying at home did not come naturally to me. I got really into Strollerstrides and some of us created an excellent moms group- really supportive, non-judgemental. That made all the difference.
Furthermore, DH was not available to help out as much as wanted, especially during the nights, so it was a hard job. I was really sick of changing diapers by the time we finally moved.
I have an excellent nanny and I am feeling increasingly ok about leaving her. It also helped that I made my schedule really easy at the beginning of the year. I am still pumping but plan to ease up soon.
The downsides to staying home is of course the boredom, isolation, and seeing all my classmates "pass me by". Also, financially it was tough.
But I am glad we did it this way. Good luck and keep us posted. (You can also PM me re:EM matching if you want)
I had a baby in October of my 4th year and I decided to take a year off to do research. I found a great situation which allowed me to do research part-time (a lot of it at home) and still be paid. I know of others who have been able to do this as well. I agree with the previous comments that taking a year off doesn't hurt you at all for residency interviews. It was helpful to be able to say that I was also involved in research during that time and the research helped me to still feel involved in medicine. On the other side, I found it much harder to leave my 1 year old every day to work the long hours of residency then it was to leave a 3 month old... the older they are, the more they know you're leaving them... just do the best you can and find a balance. Good luck!
I *haven't* taken time off; my 3 1/2 year old born october before 3rd year of med school; and my 19 month old January of my 4th year. Mostly easy rotations after that, I had off all of May and June before residency. I loved it. I went straight into residency b/c I kept telling myself, "all they need now is to feel loved and secure... *I* want it to be me, but they'll be okay..." I think that's still true, but right about 18 months I'm have a lot of trouble leaving in the morning. I think between 0-1 they're okay with other good care; I'd miss the later toddler milestones; and I'm not sure about preschool vs. grade school yet.
okay, i'm on call, i'm going to one of the superstitious b words!!!
Hi rina33.....I felt compelled to reply to your post after being a lurker for the past few years. I was in your exact situation 3 years ago. My daughter was born in the spring of my 4th year of med school, 10 days before graduation! I started my EM internship with a 2.5 month old, and boy, I tell ya, it was a tough year. The only way I survived it was knowing that the person taking care of her loved her just as much as I did: my husband. He's one of those rare types that agreed to be a stay-at-home dad so I can pursue my career, and he's an awesome father.
Looking back now, I wouldn't change anything. I have a 2.5 year old daughter who loves me just as much as she loves her dad. I honestly don't think that my being a resident has affected our closeness or bonding. Every spare moment I had, I've spent with my family. She'll only be 3 by the time I'm done with residency, and I agree with the others that she probably won't remember these years very much, and if she does, she will remember that she was very loved and cherished. So if you decide to start residency next year, go for it! Feel free to PM me or ask me any questions on this forum about my experience. Good luck to you!