Post # 1
Did you wait until you were finished? Did you have a child mid-degree? Did it make things harder? Do you regret waiting/not waiting?
I am trying to decide when to have children. I am starting graduate school in the fall and wasn’t sure whether I wanted to wait till I graduated with my master’s degree, got a year of the PhD program under my belt, or just wait the five (hopefully) years it would take me to finish both.
Friendly advice would be most appreciated my fellow bees!
Post # 3
I’m not a mom – but finishing up grad school. I’ve seen a few moms in my program. I think it ultimately depends on your goals and the specific structure of your program. For us there’s not much difference between master’s degree and first year of PhD, for example.
Post # 4
@ahavah: I know that there are some programs built into eachother for my major, but unfortunately I can’t get 3 degrees in the same University so I have to get my masters done and then apply at a different university thus the gap in my timeline. Did you notice if the mothers had any complications?
Post # 5
I think it depends so much on your individual factors. What is your program like? What is your degree in? What do you hope to do after graduation? What is your support system like? Will you and your partner both be working full time while you’re completing your degree?
Our daughter just turned 1 (well, 13 months, today) and my husband is just finishing his Master’s right now. I’ll start my Master’s program in the fall, and we are definitaely not waiting until I graduate to have another baby. Looking at our options, having children now is the best choice for us, but it might not be for you.
I have heard, though, from some PhD students that it’s easier to have a baby during your last year of school when you’re writing your dissertation because it can be really difficult/hectic for years after graduation while trying to get tenure.
Post # 6
I didn’t reply to the poll, b/c I my answer might skew your results unfairly. I already have my Ph.D. and am currently a postdoc. We just recently started TTC. The reason that I started TTC after obtaining my Ph.D. is a simple one — I wasn’t married when I was a grad student. It’s hard to tell what I would have done if I had been married younger, since I personally didn’t feel ready to have kids when I was a student. I was enjoying the unburdened life too much at that point! But looking back on it now, I think it probably would have been a good idea to have kids when I was a grad student. The reason I say this is b/c in certain ways it is much easier to take time off when you’re a grad student. If you take an extra year to complete your degree, nobody will really hold that against you down the road. Now that I’m a postdoc things are a bit harder b/c I’m constantly applying for jobs, don’t know what job I’ll be in or where we’ll be living a year from now, and I really need to be publishing papers constantly. This has been a bit frustrating for me, but I’ve just come to the opinion that there is no perfect time to have babies, especially as an academic, so we’ll just figure out a way to make it work. I’ve heard a lot of women say that grad school is the ideal time to have a baby if you can swing it. Of course the major down side is that you have less money as a grad student and you also probably don’t get any official maternity leave.
I could really talk forever about this topic, so feel free to PM me if you want to talk more!
Post # 7
- Wedding: September 2011 - Epworth UMC & Ward Pavilion
Are you working full time on top of school or just doing school? I currently am working on my Master’s part-time (two classes per semester) and working full time and my daughter is 20 months. I’ll be honest- it’s hard. After working all day, I just want to hang out with my daughter, but I have five hours of homework to tackle. I have a ton of mommy guilt over the time I spend at work and school.
Of course, it isn’t stopping me from trying for another one soon. It just takes a lot of dedication and time management skills. It also means missing out on some stuff. If I was just doing school and not working, I probably wouldn’t feel as guilty or pressured with time. But you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do!
I think you really have to ask yourself what’s important to you right now. But then again, I’m a big proponent of the, “You could die tomorrow!” mindset.
Post # 8
@Mrs. Spring: I’m not sure what you mean by what my program is like. Sometimes I am/take things overly literal. I’m taking 18 credits this year and then 12 next. I have 3 major courses and then mostly all electives plus a thesis. All in Sociology.
While I am doing my master’s I do have my parents less than an hour away which is great. But for the phD which is when I imagine I will be TTC (barring a surprise baby situation), I will either be 2 hours away, 5 hours away, or out of state (least likely).
After I graduate I plan to either search for work as an instructor (and spend the rest of my life rising up the ranks to full tenured professor) or I would be interested in policy-making for think tanks.
Yes we will both be working, but I will probably be a teacher’s assistant and the stipends vary from school to school.
Hope that is enough information.
@skibobrown: I will probably take you up on that in a couple of hours. I’m trying to visit family and the rain seems to have stopped for the moment so I am going to take this opportunity to skiddadle.
Thank you all for your responses!!
Post # 9
Based on my experience and that of several friends, I agree with Mrs. Spring that the last couple years of your PhD program, when you’re working on your dissertation, are ideal for baby-having. I wouldn’t want to have an infant going through comps, but TTC right around or after passing comps would be my recommendation.
I also had a friend who was obviously pregnant during job interviews during the last year of her PhD, and thought that it really (negatively) impacted her job prospects, so she wished she’d done it about a year earlier.
Post # 10
i’m not a mom yet, but just finished my first year of a 6-7 year phd program. i’m planning on ttc around year 3 or 4– ie around the time that i’ll be taking my oral exams and starting my dissertation research. i think i’m focused and self-disciplined enough to handle having babies and doing my dissertation at the same time, especially since my schedule will be much more flexible then than basically any other time (as in, i’ll really only be accountable to myself). i kind of want to start trying earlier–my school will give me extra time to finish classes or whatever else–but hubs wants to wait a bit longer
Post # 11
I just finished my PhD and got pregnant literally days after graduating. It was our first month TTC. I’m pretty happy with how it worked out, although I don’t think it would have been the end of the world to start earlier. I just knew it might take me longer and I wanted to get through it. I don’t know if I could have done my dissertation pregnant or with a baby so I’m glad I did it how I did, although now I’ll just be interrupting postdoc for maternity leave- so however you slice it, there’s some kind of delay. What I personally would decide is based on age. Of course everyone has different goals/timelines in life but if I were you and between 20-27 I would wait the 5 years, or at least 4 of them. If I was 28 or older I would probably consider trying sooner. That’s just me though because I want 3-4 kids. If you only want one and you’d be 32 or 34 or even older when you finished- I don’t see a problem to waiting either.
Bottom line, this is a personal decision, and you can make it work out whether you try sooner or you wait. Good luck!
Post # 11
@strawberryavalanche: Specifically, I was asking, is your program flexible or structured? Are you doing it online (i.e. on your own time) or is it a traditional, live program (i.e. you have to be in classes at certain times)? Are your professors flexible/understanding or more traditional/strict? Etc…
You don’t have to answer these questions here; I meant them more as rhetorical, “things for you to think about while making your decision” type questions.
Post # 12
Based on her workload, my sister waited to try for a second child until after completing her MBA, despite having fertility issues conceiving her son. Four years, many drugs, shots, and doctor visits later, they still only have my nephew (and it looks likely to stay that way – given the expense and effort, they’ve given up on it).
Post # 13
I plan on attending graduate school when my daughter is 1 yr. It’s not ideal but we’ll make it work. I don’t have any experience so I can’t say what it’ll be like. I can only say that it’s something I’m motivated to do so we’ll make it happen. My husband is supportive and that helps.
Post # 14
This is really interesting to read. I’ve just started mulling this over but probably should have started some time ago! My husband is for sure going to get his Master’s – theoretically starting next year if we can find a program – which also happens to be the same year I had thought to maybe start TTC. (He’s currently the main breadwinner and in his chosen career. I make about 20% less than he does at a non-career type job.) A Master’s is also a possibility for me but less of a requirement. I have no idea where the heck these things fit around each other on the timeline. It’s quite the puzzle. So I’m afraid I don’t have any advice for you, strawberryavalanche, but at least you’re not the only out there wondering! Good luck with deciding what’s best for you guys.
Post # 15
@Lozza — I’d be interested to hear what field your friend is in. If I have my way, then I will probably be visibly pregnant during job interview season next year. (I preferred to try timing it that way than having a breast-fed infant during job interview season.) I’m a little worried that being visibly pregnant will affect my job prospects, but I’m trying to just roll with it. I’m not getting any younger, and who knows how many years it will take me to land a faculty job. My biggest fear is that if I keep waiting to have kids until X, Y, and Z happen in my career, then it will be too late.