(Closed) PhD bees – babies at the ABD phase?

posted 5 years ago in College
Post # 3
Member
854 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I am posting on here to mark it because FH and I are considering having a child when we go into graduate school. We are undergrads right now (juniors!!) getting married this year, and then completing our senior year as a married couple, then going to graduate school.

Post # 5
Member
888 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@kittyface:  I don’t have any personal experience with this either, but I am about to do it. I’m pregnant with my first and will technically be ‘ABD’ when the baby is born – I’ve finished my fieldwork and just have one more course that I will be doing this winter. 

One girl in my lab has just had her second baby, and she is still working on her PhD. In Canada we don’t really use the term ‘ABD’, but I guess that is where she is. Things are definitely taking her longer, but she works consistently 8-4 and her kids are both in the campus daycare. At my school (or perhaps more relevantly, in my lab?) grad students kind of get treated like slaves… ‘oh, you’re around, do this bitchwork for the next 4 months that needs doing, even though it will slow you down on your own important stuff’, ‘oh, you don’t want to do fieldwork all weekend, you had plans? Weird! I don’t care.’ And often we are expected to work crazy late days and long weeks if things need to get done, as many of our projects are collaborative. I am really looking forward to having a kid and getting off the slave list. The lab I am in is huge, and there are many women with babies. None of them get called on to do unfair amounts of overtime work, like the rest of us often do. For obvious reasons, and I can’t wait to be one of them! “Can’t do it. Baby.” Yesss. 

I don’t know if that is very relevant to your situation because it sounds like you will be away from your lab writing your dissertation(?). I might be able to swing that, a little bit, especially if I can manage any lengthy maternity leave. But general we are expected to come to the lab daily until done, and we have to publish all our papers before we can graduate. 

Are you entitled any pay for maternity leave? I might get something based on my scholarship, if I have the baby before it runs out (which is why we started trying before our wedding, and here I am, pregnant!). If not, if I were you I would try to get a part time job and bank enough hours to get employment insurance so that you get paid at least something while on leave (if things even work like that in the US?)

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

I just defended in July and got pregnant in April, and I can honestly say it would’ve been much easier to be pregnant and a new mom while dissertating than while juggling a 4/3 courseload as a new PhD. And now I have the issue of missing the big hiring meeting in January because of my due date.

Post # 8
Member
2426 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I am interested in this topic as well. I’m currently in the 3rd year of my PhD, and we got married this past summer. I really would love to start having kids soon, but I am hesitant to be doing ANY work in the lab when pregnant (I am a chemist and use lots of unfriendly chemicals daily). Hopefully sometime in my last year I will be able to wrap up my experiments and just write, and maybe we can try to get pregnant then. It’s still a risk though, because there’s always the chance my advisor will come up with a bunch of new ideas to try, or being pregnant while interviewing for jobs, etc.

Post # 9
Member
2426 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@mrsSonthebeach:  What do you mean by the 4/3 courseload as a new PhD? Teaching courseload?

Post # 10
Member
888 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@kittyface:  I think it must be a field thing – I’m in the natural sciences and I’ve never heard the term used amongst colleagues. I’m in the same boat as you, re: 4 months of funding, but from NSERC. I don’t know if you noticed (of if it’s different for SSHRC vs. NSERC, which I doubt) but this year the award holder’s guide had this tiny little horrific line added to the ‘paid parental leave’ section that says “Note: paid leave will only be granted if funds allow”. Wow, thanks! I’ve been literally planning my life around the possibility of getting this funding (which is quite a bit higher for me because I have CGS). And now I am told that I’ll only get it, “maybe, if they feel like giving it to me.” It also really grinds my gears that if both parents are federally funded, they have to share that money, though that doesn’t affect me. Also, the deal with EI is, you have to pay into it to take out of it, and paying into it is on a year by year basis. I believe the minimum number of taxable hours you have to work in the year before you would take your leave is 600. I’m not sure how many hours your RA is, plus any TAing you have, but for most people I know, so much of their grad funding is scholarship that they come nowhere near qualifying. Just a heads up.

Post # 11
Member
888 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@ChemistryBride:  well then I hope you would tell her, NO, I am pregnant / TTC / nursing, or whatever. Women in childbearing years in the sciences have to have some rights!

Post # 12
Member
2462 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I’m not there yet (I should be ABD by the end of spring semester–doing comps in Feb, propsectus in April), but I’m planning on beginning ttc during the tail end of dissertation research–I think for me, writing will be a perfect time to have a baby! DH and I had orginally talked about starting to try once I finished my coursework (last May), but given that I will be travelling around doing fieldwork during the 2013-14 academic year, including time I’ll be overseas and away from him, we decided it made more sense to wait until a potential due date would be when we’re back in the same place. My 5th year (2014-15) is our ideal time: I’ll have to TA still (we have a heavy teaching requirement), but other than that, which is a pretty minimal time commitment, my schedule will be flexible and my own to set. I can imagine balancing TAing, babycare, and writing a lot more easily than babycare and fieldwork! Plus, I’ll still be funded then. We don’t have any lab or professor obligations, beyond what we get paid for on top of our stipend, like I was an RA for my advisor this summer, but that’s extra $ that gets paid separately, so my schedule really be my own, I won’t have obligations to anyone besides the prof who I teach for during a given semester. 

Post # 13
Member
7908 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

@ChemistryBride:  Yes. In my field, new PhDs usually get hired to teach… a lot. I have one repeat prep from grad school, but the other three classes this semester are brand new preps for me… that takes a lot of time to prepare for, and since I’m new, I don’t get TAs.

Post # 14
Member
2426 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@araneidae:  They should, but unfortunately it’s still a very male dominated field, and even within the women grad students in my department it’s not common to get married during grad school, and even less to have kids. There is one girl pregnant now in the department and it’s been quite the gossip!

It shouldn’t be this hard though. I shouldn’t have to freak out about how I would handle telling them I don’t want to work with certain chemicals if I got pregnant. It makes me really bummed, and I hope it changes. I’m actually at a university that is applauded for having better rights/benefits for women in the sciences with families, but it’s still not great, and that sentiment isn’t really as common in my department 🙁

Post # 15
Member
2426 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@mrsSonthebeach:  Oh wow, so you teach 4 classes a semester as a new PhD with no TAs? That is crazy! I can see what you mean then about the increased courseload. You are one tough cookie, dealing with that when pregnant!

I guess it must just be the field. I work for a new hire faculty member, and you generally teach no more than 1 class per semester, and you always have either a TA (or many depending on the size of the course) or at the very least they pay a grad student to be your “grader” for HW/exams.

Post # 16
Member
7908 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

@ChemistryBride:  Yup. Ask me when I do my research! Oh, wait… I don’t Frown

ETA: Then I come online and read comments on news stories and the like about how liberal humanities professors are grossly overpaid to indoctrinate our impressionable young Americans with crazy socialist propoganda and I just want to go cry. Those on the outside have no idea how much work we do (and that msot of us are not crazy liberal propogandists) not how little we make. I jsut barely don’t qualify for food stamps with my husband’s income included.

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