(Closed) Having children during a PhD

posted 7 years ago in College
Post # 3
3968 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@OrchidsandCandles: I am not getting my Ph.D. but my SO is, and we are definitely not planning on having children until he has a full time position post-graduation so hopefully by then money will not be an issue. (Plus we are currently young, 23 and 25, so waiting for school to be done with won’t be waiting too late, fertility wise).

Post # 5
631 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Seriously, I was only going to (regular) classes part time at night and working full time during the day and we had a 3 year old and a newborn and it was absolutely exhausting. I had trouble completing at home assignements because the children required *so much* attention. Even with my Fiance there to help me, I ended up not going back the next semester because it was so stressful.

While I’m sure people have done it, I would personally recommend to wait until you have completed your PhD for your own sanity! 🙂

Post # 6
1629 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I’ve known one or two people to do it….and it honestly looked like it was really, really hard for them.  It is definitely something that I would wait until classes had been finished (in my program you come in straight from undergrad and only take classes until you finish the Masters–the first 2 yrs).  The ones I know were actually older and had taken time off before they started the program so they didn’t want to wait another few years and I understand that, for me, I’ll be just shy of my 26th birthday so there’s definitely time for me to wait for graduation.  The 2 people I know who did it actually both ended up taking an extra year to finish the PhD because it became so hard to write their dissertations while taking care of a newborn.

Post # 7
20 posts
  • Wedding: April 2012

I haven’t done this myself, but where I went to grad school it was common for people to get pregnant while writing their dissertation (well, not at the exact same moment,…at least I assume not)  I think the idea was that by the time the baby came they would be done with school.

Post # 8
1856 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I won’t lie, it’s tough. My daughter is 8 years old and I’m halfway through my PhD. I’ve never *not* been in university with her around though, so I am used to it. I started my BA with a 9 month old and that wasn’t too bad, but the workload of a PhD program is intense and the expectations are high. I know people occasionally make allowances for me (I’ve missed classes when my daughter’s school has been closed, I can’t make meetings after a certain time of day, I can’t do data analysis until after she’s in bed) but for the most part, you’re expected to treat your PhD as your job and your first priority.

That said, it’s not uncommon for PhD students to have babies when they’re ABD (finished coursework and any qualifying exams) because it’s HARD to go on the market pregnant or planning to become pregnant. We had considered having another baby within the next year or so (I have one qualifying exam and another round of fieldwork and then I’m starting to write) because otherwise we may be waiting a long time, but my SO is just in the first year of his PhD and my daughter and I are planning an international move to join him, meaning it’s not a feasible option.

It’s possible if you have a solid support system but otherwise I wouldn’t really recommend it. If your program is relatively short, there’s not likely to be a lot of spare time built into the program, so it’s more likely you’ll end up taking extra semesters to get things done.

Post # 9
378 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@johanna42:  PhDs in America have different schedules and timelines than other PhDs, so I’m not sure exactly where your path will take you since your headline says you are in England. I am currently at the end of my 2nd year (5th semester) of my Doctor of Public Health (Epidemiology) studies. I only have 1 more year of classes left, and I am getting married this June. I am planning on not getting pregnant before this September, because I had friends who were pregnant and had babies during the semester… it was not good. They ended up getting incompletes, and this prevented them from taking classes they planned on being able to take the following semester (because of prerequisites). I am hoping that the soonest I give birth is next June because I’ll be done with classes for good and just need to take my second exam and write my dissertation. My timeline that I’ve been given as long as everything stays on course should be a 2014 graduation. We’ll see though… don’t sell yourself short. From what I’ve heard, children during the Ph.D. is tough but if you’re tough enough to make it through a doctorate program, you are certainly tough enough to have a child and juggle this.

Post # 11
2433 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

I think it is totally dependent on your program. Some programs just have a lot more stress and pressure associated with them than others. It also depends on how well you manage stress. Keep in mind that chronic stress increases your cortisol level, which means the baby is getting an increase in stress chemicals too. But you know yourself best – if you have enough down time that you think you could realistically juggle classwork and morning sickness (and later, chronic sleep deprivation), then it would probably work out fine. I know of a few people in my program who have had children, but a good number of them have taken a semester off, or went part-time, while they had a newborn for their own sanity.

Post # 12
792 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I’m having a similar talk with my Fiance just now – he will be working full time in a great job and I will be starting year 2 of a 3 year PhD when we get married. I definitely don’t want to have kids while I’m at uni, but after I graduate I go into a research/teaching job at my university and it might take at least a year for me to get a full time position, so we are trying to decide when to start trying.

Post # 13
484 posts
Helper bee

I finished a PhD last year and honestly I really only barely coped with it in the end (3-year PhD as well with severe deadline pressure), as I had to teach quite a number of hours as well to make ends meet. I really couldn’t have coped with a child on top of that. If you think it’s feasible then go for it, but really don’t underestimate especially how tough the last year is when you really have to buckle down to get the thesis written. 

Post # 14
2459 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

My advice is DONT GO THERE!!!! Pregnancy is full on and you may have a bad pregnancy which could make your PhD very hard to work on. Then when the baby comes you dont want to turn probably the happiest time in yi=our life into a stress fest. not fair on you, your husband or your child! I haven’t done a PhD but I have done a Masters while working full time and there is no way I could of had a child then, i only just managed as it was. 

Post # 15
2411 posts
Buzzing bee

ITA with Simpleandchic.

Having children should be a fun and joyful experience. I think you would miss a lot of that if you try to do too much at once. It’s one thing if it were to happen by accident, but I wouldn’t plan for something like that. You’ll be able to savor the experience and really enjoy it much more once you’re done with school and you can clear your plate.

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