(Closed) Advice from parents that had their baby while in grad school. How was it?

posted 5 years ago in Parenting
Post # 3
Member
7908 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

Did you post about this yesterday or is this just a shockingly similar scenario?

I just finished my PhD and am teaching now with a 4/3 teaching load. I’m pregnant; it was a surprise! (that we are very happy about).

I would much rather have gone through this and early parenting while dissertating. I had a much more open schedule over the last 2.5 years than I do now and my teaching load is absolutely overwhelming.

A bunch of people in my program had kids at the dissertation stage, one of them before that, but they were the fathers which does make a difference. The one who had his first kid before dissertating ended up having 2 while in his PhD program and still finished in 4 years (our department average is 5-6 years and in the field, it’s common for people to take up to 11 years).

Post # 4
Member
334 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

I do not have kids, but I can relate to your concern about losing your 20s while in grad school. I’m also almost 28 and working on a Ph.D. and I really worry that my choice to get a doctorate will make having kids problematic in my 30s. What kind of program are you in? I ask because some are much more academic and a lot of work can be done from home, while others like mine are more clinical and require a lot of time outside the house, a year-long internship, etc.

Post # 7
Member
7908 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

@candy11:  Classics

As for your concern about chemicals, won’t you ne around chemical on the job as well? Once your research is done, couldn’t you conceivably be away form chemicals while pregnant and writing?

Also, depending on your specific program and the people in it, you may want to consider how much support and accommodation you will get. My graduate program faculty would’ve bent over backwards to make things work for me while pregnant. My current department isn’t being difficult about it, but they certainly aren’t giving me the kind of support I would’ve had last year.

Post # 10
Member
2426 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@mrsSonthebeach:  Typically our offices (at least in chemistry) are not in the lab due to environmental health and safety regulations, etc. So for instance, I am sitting in my office now, which has a window looking into my lab, but I don’t have to be as exposed to chemicals when I am on the computer, etc. I worked for a while in a lab where my desk was IN the lab, and we weren’t supposed to have food/drink at our desk. Working without coffee at my desk, blasphemy I tell you!

And for most of us, after you get a PhD in the sciences, you may do a postdoc in lab for a couple years, but after that you usually wind up with more of a desk job with very very little lab time.

 

Post # 12
Member
7908 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

@ChemistryBride:  So that sounds like waiting until after grad school to have a kid if you are trying to avoid being in the lab while pregnant really means waiting a few years until after grad school? OP, something to consider.

Post # 15
Member
1245 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I had my oldest child while completing the last year of a professional program.  My program was mainly clinicals, so it involved me being on my feet a lot walking, then coming home and doing papers etc.  Was it hard?….yes!  Was it do-able?….yes!

I had already been in school for quite some time, and like you, did not want to put TTC for much longer.   Looking back, the harder part might have been being in grad school while actually pregnant, as I was working part time too (I took time off of work to actually finish the clinical rotations because there just wasn’t enough hours in the day to do everything).

I was lucky in that I had a family member babysit while I was at clinicals, but I was paying a lot for babysitting as I was gone at least 12 hours a day when you include my commute.  Then at night my DH helped out a LOT when I had papers to do.  What made it worse was that the baby was colicky, so I barely got any sleep. 

So while it wasn’t an ideal situation, and I won’t kid you, it was very hard, I am so glad I didn’t wait any longer.  I know of several of my fellow students that waited until they were completely done with school before TTC and while things may have actually been easier once the baby was born, it look them longer to get pregnant than they thought.

I too had to work with chemicals a bit of the time, but many times I just “watched” as they wouldn’t let pregnant women actually work with them.

So I’m not sure if that gives you any insight, except just to say it is hard, but doable.

Post # 16
Member
2426 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@mrsSonthebeach:  Yeah, depending on the career path you want. If you want to go into academics, you pretty much have to do a postdoc, so add 2-3 years of lab time after PhD. If you want to go into industy (assuming you can find a job in this market) a lot of people go straight from grad school though. So then you would be in the lab a lot less more quickly. That’s what I am hoping to do since I don’t want to add another 3 years after my PhD before TTC.

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