(Closed) TTC before Ph.D??????!!!!

posted 5 years ago in Babies
Post # 2
10353 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2014 - Chicago, IL

From my own experience, grad school has piss poor maternity leave and benefits. Fellow students I know had to literally take out a bank loan or use credit cards to pay their $10k hospital bill after having their child, because our student health plan is so bad. Others I know have planned their kids during the writing stage of their dissertations, because working in bio labs around hazardous chemicals prevented them from having healthy pregnancies. Your situation will be a bit different, but grad school is certainly demanding.

I think it will ultimately depend on the flexibility of your program, your mentor and the benefits provided by your department (or if you can join your DH’s insurance plan). Child care is also tricky if you aren’t making much, but would need a daycare. Take this into consideration when choosing your school/program as well. What benefits do they have in terms of childcare? Don’t forget to ask about breast feeding/pumping accessibility (which was severly lacking at my institution when I first started). 

We’re still on the fence about having kids, but we are 100% sure that we’re going to wait until I finish my program.

Post # 3
237 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I’m in a clinical psychology Ph.D. program now and I easily work 60-70 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters.  I personally wouldn’t want to have a baby while working those hours, although people very occasionally do it in my program!  Doctoral programs in clinical psychology are notorious for being extremely demanding – you have the research and coursework requirements of any other Ph.D. program, plus additional courses and lots of clinical work to satisfy the APA accreditation requirements!  The workload does depend somewhat on your advisor and the emphasis of your program (research-focused, practice-focused, or balanced), so I would suggest that you wait until ~halfway through your second year in order to see how much time you’ll really have to spend with the baby and whether you think it would be manageable for you and your DH.  But like I said, people do it and survive – it just seems to me like it wouldn’t be very pleasant!

Post # 4
3751 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I couldn’t imagine going through a Ph.D. program while caring for a baby. The first few months are so demanding with all hours feedings and just general care of a newborn. Then they get a little older and need so much hands on attention. I’m doing it while working full time and even working from home two days a week and it’s a lot! 

Post # 5
2020 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I can’t imagine being pregnant and caring for a newborn while either in school and with so much uncertainty. Not only is pregnancy expensive but there are so many unknowns with how your body will handle it. the loss of income and debt from school would really scare me too. I don’t know but I think there’s a lot of t to be considered here.

Post # 6
442 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

My doctoral program was in public health, so it might be different, but one thing to keep in mind would be study time with classmates. I was the only one in my cohort who worked, and having outside obligations really interfered with my ability to meet for homework and study sessions. It was stressful feeling like I was missing out on group study that everyone else was benefitting from.

That being said, there are people who make it work, though I think having a baby post-qualifying exams would be better timing.

Post # 7
1183 posts
Bumble bee

I’m UK and was going for funding for 2016/17 PhD. I could rely on our state maternity but it’s not as good as my occupational benefits so decided that it’s not worth it. 

We’ve decided that I might come out of work to do PhD post children (when they’re 3+) so I can work on PhD whilst they’re in school and be a full time mum and student. 

Post # 8
29 posts
  • Wedding: October 2015

I’m at the tail end of my PhD and we have just started seriously planning babies. I’m from Australia so the system here is very different, but finances aside I don’t think I could have coped mentally with the pressures of a PhD along with that of a newborn. Worth considering what you really want in your career, and whether you’re willing to wait for kids or not? 

Post # 9
3281 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

I’m halfway through my PhD and currently expecting baby #1 in May. We would love to have one more baby while I’m completing my PhD. FWIW, my program is 6 years in the humanities, top 5 program in the country.

I would definitely recommend waiting until you know where you’ll be and exactly what your financial situation will be like before TTC. It was important for me to get a feel for my program, its demands, my mentors, etc.

Honestly, for me, grad school is the perfect time to have a baby, as I get fantastic benefits and my schedule is incredibly flexible. I was also able to work about 6 months ahead in my program’s official schedule, so I should have plenty of time to relax with baby girl once she arrives (and account for any slowness in getting back on track!). But I had no idea that my program and mentors would be so flexible until I really got into the program and did my first year.

I also really think you should know what your insurance situation will be before TTC, assuming you’re in the US.

Post # 10
406 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

i just finished my PhD in psychology and I am now a postdoctoral fellow. It is a super long and exhausting process but I’m glad I did it. I will say very few of my cohorts decided to have children during school. Those that did tended to do it around second or third year. What helps is if you have a masters and can work during school although then you’re just paying for more childcare. Personally I could barely take care of myself. I was barely making 20k a year. Although things got better when I got married it was still a struggle financially. Now I am on the tail end of things and I still question how I’m going to afford this baby due this year and that’s with a significant increase in salary. The smart thing for me to do would have been to to wait until I was licensed but I had already waited 5.5 years! I decided it was time. In the end with whatever decision you make I am sure you will be happy no matter what. Even though a significant portion of my salary is going to now go to daycare and I will deplete my savings I am so excited for this little one. 

things to maybe consider:

1. Do you have parents or in laws who are willing to help out financially

2. Wherever you end up, is it close to family so you can save on some daycare

3. Are you willing to take out loans to support this child

4. Are you one who is able to easily find social support because that’s 90% of the battle in my opinion

  • This reply was modified 5 years ago by  .
Post # 11
807 posts
Busy bee

oops, double post, see my other response below

Post # 12
807 posts
Busy bee

View original reply
imanw:  Hello fellow Postdoc psych bee! DH and I are both doing our postdocs in clinical psych as well, and are currently pregnant with our first. Definitely agree with all of your points, and why we decided to wait until we had postdocs before TTC. We both got lucky and matched at the same site for internship, and were even more fortunate that our site offered us postdocs in our respected area of psychology. We started TTC immediately after we both got offered the positions because we couldn’t wait anymore!

Post # 13
807 posts
Busy bee

View original reply

DH and I both just finished our PhD in Clinical Psych (we are doing our post docs now). We also are preggo with our first baby.

I wish I knew what a process it was do to the PhD. There are so many hoops to jump through. However, I do have a few friends who had babies in the program, but their DH’s were able to be really involved. The most difficult part will come when you need to apply and do internship for your 5th (or 6th year, depending if you decide to wait). It’s such a crappy process, because you have no idea where you will be. I had friends who had to live away from their babies for a year (some ended up being placed on the opposite coast, just because of how the match process worked). Some sacrificed going to an APA accredited internship to stay closer to family.

While having a baby in grad school is do-able, you will need a lot of support. Please let me know if you have any questions regarding the whole process of doing a PhD in Clinical Psych!!!! I am so happy to be done 🙂


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