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Advice: PhD plus a baby?


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#11 kevsgirl

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    Posted 23 July 2008 - 08:03 AM

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Morgan
    I'm getting a phd in genetics. it's very different than being in school. It's much more like a full time job. We had classes the first year & after that it's lab work. So having a baby now would not be much different than having one while I had a job. I've seen many students do it & as long as their advisor is supportive it works out fine.

    but, other phd programs are different. I guess I shouldn't have said science because that includes so much. Lab research science.
    Have to put my 2 cents in here:

    I was working on a PhD in Medieval Studies a few years ago. I did 3 1/2 years and then left. It nearly drove me crazy. There is no way in hell I could have had a baby while in that program. Arts are very different. It's so much harder to have a structured PhD life in Arts.

    That said, I knew a couple who were both in the same PhD program as me and they had a baby while in their 3rd year. The girl finished her thesis at year 4 while also teaching a course and looking after her baby and the husband has just completed his now (probably at this point it's his 6th year). I think he took a year off first with the baby.

    So, my opinion would be it depends a lot on what kind of structure your program has. And if it's like Morgan's, get all the courses and stuff out of the way first, because that's usually the more time-bonkers type of work. :)

    #12 Kristy!

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      Posted 23 July 2008 - 09:04 AM

      I say start the PhD program. You can always pull out for a semester if you need to. You don't know how long it will take you to get pregnant...You may hope for December but it doesn't happen until June, so why not use the time you have now to get started?

      #13 rodent

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        Posted 23 July 2008 - 09:47 AM

        Quote:
        Originally Posted by kevsgirl
        Have to put my 2 cents in here:

        I was working on a PhD in Medieval Studies a few years ago. I did 3 1/2 years and then left. It nearly drove me crazy.
        I say start the PhD program. You can always pull out for a semester if you need to. You don't know how long it will take you to get pregnant...You may hope for December but it doesn't happen until June, so why not use the time you have now to get started?
        Her program may not allow taking a break. Mine doesn't. well there is a 1 year leave of absense, but most people who do that are dropping out. if they do come back they probably have to start over when they do.

        the thing that keeps me positive is knowing that if it ever got that bad I could just leave with my masters & I'd be fine with that. nothing is worth being miserable for years. i did that when i was younger. i'm not willing to put happiness on hold anymore.

        #14 Rachelle E.

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          Posted 23 July 2008 - 10:52 AM

          I don't have personal experience in this area, as far as the phd program goes, but I would just say to be as honest w/ yourself as possible about what "could" happen with trying to conceive and having a baby in the context of your course requirments. Having a baby is one of the most random experiences and you really have zero control over it. You could get prego in as little as a month or as much as a year. And with that being the case, there is no way to garauntee that you won't be in labor during finals or some other big project. Or if you get put on bed rest for any reason and can't attend classes/labs for a few months, or if the baby is a premie and needs extra care after birth etc. I know this all sounds like worry-wart kind of stuff. But it's all stuff that happens sometimes. Obviously no matter what your baby is going to be most important to you - but are you prepared to miss out on things or possibly start over again if your program won't allow you to pick up where you left off if you end up being out for a few months?

          I'm totally not trying to be negative nancy! I'm ttc (trying to conceive) myself and I know how unpredictable the process can be and I've had a hard time learning that this is one thing that is totally beyond my control. So just wanted to make sure you heard that perspective as well. Having babies is a tricky business! lol! Good luck!!!!

          #15 Jessica

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            Posted 23 July 2008 - 11:06 AM

            I'm in grad school. I intentionally had Aiden while in grad school because once I get started in my career, I didn't want to take time out for pregnancy leave. I want to have baby #2 after I'm done with grad school (May 2009) and before I complete my hours for my license (for Family Therapy).

            I was pregnant during Fall 07 semester and took off the Spring 08 semester. I'm going back this fall. Being pregnant while in school wasn't hard, but I'm glad I took that semester off after Aiden was born. I'm sure it'll be crazy to be in school with a 8+ month old, but I'm usually one of those "full plate" types anyway so I know I'll be able to get through it.

            #16 kevsgirl

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              Posted 23 July 2008 - 10:30 PM

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by Morgan
              yes, that's why i specified science. Course work is such a small part of it. Not that there isn't a ton of pressure, it's just a different structure.
              That's why I felt ok stating that. It's so true that there is a world of difference between Arts and Sciences PhD's. Not that either one is 'easier' than the other. Mind you, my mother always says that PhD students in Science (she works in a lab) work 80 hr weeks and never go home! :)

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by Morgan
              Her program may not allow taking a break. Mine doesn't. well there is a 1 year leave of absense, but most people who do that are dropping out. if they do come back they probably have to start over when they do.
              I was one of those sad people
              the thing that keeps me positive is knowing that if it ever got that bad I could just leave with my masters & I'd be fine with that. nothing is worth being miserable for years. i did that when i was younger. i'm not willing to put happiness on hold anymore.
              That's a great way of looking at life, really. And this kind of a situation.
              I think I felt obligated to do it because I had never contemplated any other kind of life (father's a prof, grandfather's a prof, uncle's a prof, etc. you get the picture).
              I still really miss part of it (can you tell?), but I'm so much happier out of school, that I'm sure I made the right decision for me right now.

              Wow - sorry if that was TMI! I feel like I should be lying on a couch right now and watching the clock!
              You girls are like therapy sometimes!

              #17 rodent

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                Posted 23 July 2008 - 10:42 PM

                Quote:
                Originally Posted by kevsgirl

                That's a great way of looking at life, really. And this kind of a situation.
                I think I felt obligated to do it because I had never contemplated any other kind of life (father's a prof, grandfather's a prof, uncle's a prof, etc. you get the picture).
                I still really miss part of it (can you tell?), but I'm so much happier out of school, that I'm sure I made the right decision for me right now.
                I'm fortunate to not have that kind of pressure. It would make it much harder to stick it out feeling like I have to. I think if you are happier now you made the right choice. I've watched some students turn into this bitter, miserable person. I don't think anything is worth that. life's too short.

                #18 Samantha S

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                  Posted 23 July 2008 - 11:43 PM

                  Hmmmmm, lots of good stuff here. I have the contact info for two people who went through the program and I am going to give them a ring next week. I completely agree with you Rachelle that I have to expect the unexpected with even trying to concieve let alone having a baby. (Good luck Rachelle in getting preggo!!) It's nice to hear Jessica, that you are on the plan I can picture myself on (by the way, I looked at your blog and Aiden is SO STINKIN CUTE-- Not helping! ha, ha j/k... kind of)

                  I know the first year is ridiculous hard, which i can start taking one class per term Winter of 09 (we're on trimesters). It is Public Admnistration and Policy-- I think its fairly intense all the way through but I don't think I would ever take a full load. My MPH will count towards X amount of credits and I would definitely get a grad assistanceship that would pay my tuition and a small stipend like Morgan. It really boils down to being able to live on FI's income for a few years and that is the tricky part. He makes good money but we have a house that is more house than we need and could definitely down-size but at this time, he is very opposed to that.

                  Jessica, you'll have to keep us posted when you get back to school. I think for now, I will start taking one class per term starting winter and apply for Fall of '09. I can either start in the program then or defer my enrollment for one year. This gives me options for all kinds of life circumstances! Thanks so much ladies! Really, really, really helpful!

                  #19 Jessica

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                    Posted 24 July 2008 - 12:21 PM

                    Lol. Yeah, I'll let you know how it goes! I'm actually taking 3 classes plus doing my internship... so I expect next semester to get a bit crazy. But I'm just going to keep focused on the fact that I'm almost done!

                    With that said, I think living on Brian's income is definitely the biggest hardship we've faced in the whole thing. I have not worked since I had Aiden, and because my internship is unpaid that's at least 9 more months of me not working. He also makes good money but NJ is so freaking expensive so we definitely are on a budget.

                    Your plan so far (taking one class per term, etc) sounds great! I actually wanted to go back to school and take one or two classes (which would be 1 or 2 nights per week) after I had Aiden. The only reason I wasn't able to was because we had an issue with who could watch Aiden those few hours a week.

                    Just do whatever is going to make you happy! Good luck!

                    #20 Jacilynda

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                      Posted 24 July 2008 - 01:36 PM

                      I will let you know my FFIL is very well known microbiology research professor. He has a PhD in microbiology and has several students working on their PhD. He's had a couple girls who were pregnant while going to school and he said its really in the nature of the girl on how she'll do. Its up to you and you only on how determined you want to be. I'm working on my doctorate of pharmacy and this was the speach he gave me last fall when I first got pregnant. I really believe him... of course its harder than doing school w/out being pregnant but can be done. One thing to really consider though is what if you have a really rough pregnancy? I had great professors (mostly because of my FFIL) but i ended up on bed rest for 3 weeks and has my FFIL bring me my school work and then after bedrest had to go in on the weekends to catch up on lab work.




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