Post # 1
As some of you may recall, I have had baby fever for a long time, but we are waiting to start TTC until I’m done with my PhD, which will be definitely next summer in terms of class/dissertation, or the summer after if I apply for (and am accepted to) a (highly coveted) internship that would be very important for the advancement of my career.
My Mother-In-Law (who I love dearly) has been very sick for the past 3 years with Multiple Myeloma. Recently her prognosis has been looking poorer and to be quite honest, 1-2 more years would be a blessing.
Babies came up at dinner with his family tonight and I could tell everyone was anxious for us to get started. When we got home, Darling Husband mentioned that he’s been thinking a lot about maybe pushing it up and trying sooner so that his mom can be around for our firstborn.
I didn’t know what to say because I don’t know what to do. I won’t finish school (which i’ve been working on for 5 years) if I get pregnant any time before the late fall/early winter, which isn’t terribly long to wait, so I think we can at least wait until then…but then it is sacrificing my applying to this internship program (which, if done, must be that year.. can’t be delayed). If you were me, would you just start TTC at the earliest possible time and forego the internship year? Or would you continue with your career plans and hope that she’s around? I’m trying to think if it were one of my own parents, what would I do, because I should probably do that, but even in that case, I’m not even sure.
I’m really torn and any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!
Post # 3
If you don’t finish your education before the baby, you may not get a chance later. Seriously, there is time for a baby. Don’t rush to make others happy.
Post # 4
Your situation might be different, but at the phase of life that I am right now, I would not push up having kids for a sick parent. Fiance and I just don’t feel ready to have kids yet. I say only push up having a child if you and Fiance really feel ready and at a good place to have kids. You may also want to consider that having a baby and support a Mother-In-Law who is very ill will be very stressful as well. I know that she wants a grandchild, but you and Fiance may want to spend as much time with her now and not add all of the craziness of pregnancy, parenting a young child. Also, you are finishing up a PhD which is a lot of work!
Just my 2cents:)
Post # 5
I’m really sorry–what a tough spot to be in! Unfortunately, I don’t have any advice, because it is such a personal decision, but I can see why it’s so hard to reconcile all these different options and possibilities. Not to mention dealing with both practical and emotional consequences. My dad was just diagnosed with multiple myeloma in June, and I’m also working on my PhD, and your question about whether you’d feel differently if it was your own parent made me wonder how I’d feel about my situation if it was my husband’s dad. But really, I think the key is to discuss it with your husband (just like people should discuss TTC with or without sick parents) and see what works best for both of you. It’s totally natural for different people to have different reactions to the same situation, but as long as you’re both open with your thoughts on it and recognize that it’s an incredibly emotionally charged topic, things should go ok. Anyway, I’m so sorry and feel free to PM me if you want to chat.
Post # 6
Thanks ladies. I guess my first inclination is to not let it change our plan… I just feel bad because of course if she doesn’t do well, I’d always feel terrible that she wasn’t around for our first baby, especially because that would be so hard for him. This isn’t the first time he mentioned it, as it’s actually one of the first things he always brings up when she isn’t doing well- this is just the first time he really asked about actually doing something about it. In all other regards though, we are ready and anxiously awaiting me being done, so it’s a really tough call.
@WeeBirdy- I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. Hopefully he does not have as aggressive of a form as my Mother-In-Law. She is going down to Little Rock on Sunday where there is a major Multiple Myeloma treatment center. Does your dad know about that place? Anyway, I’ll keep him in my prayers.
Post # 7
I agree with jaylii9- dealing with getting your PhD is stressful to you and a sick Mother-In-Law is stressful to you and your Darling Husband. Adding a baby, which is stressfull to you both conception onwards, could be the thing which sends “manageable stress” levels into “nevervous breakdown/depression/etc,” levels. Honestly, this is a personal decision, but if it were me, I’d finish school and go for the internship. It sounds like an oppertunity like this will not come along again, and you have to grab those chances when you can. Also, if you don’t get the internship and still really want a baby, that’s when I’d start trying.
Good luck. I hope whichever decision you two make together, it brings you the maximum happiness.
Post # 8
Thanks so much, monalisa! And I will mention the center to Arkansas–I’m not sure if he knows about it. I’ll be thinking of your Mother-In-Law and crossing my fingers that they can come up with an effective treatment for her. From what I’ve learned so far, it seems like research on multiple myeloma has improved in the last few years, so you never know if a new treatment may improve your MIL’s prognosis. She’s in my prayers!
As for your original question, it must be extra hard to think about this decision when it comes up at dinner table discussions. But please don’t feel guilty about whatever decision you make. I’m sure his whole family wants what’s best for both of you, and I bet they’ll support your decision either way. There are so many factors involved here, and they must know how tough a choice it is. As for the internship, my only advice is that if the application is due before you’ve decided about TTC, go ahead and apply. In other words, if you haven’t made a decision yet, keep your options open. Then you can cross other bridges when you come to them. And it might be a moot point–you may not get it since it sounds pretty competitive. Sorry, that sounds like a horrible thing to say, and I didn’t mean it to be so negative, I just mean that if you don’t apply, you might always wonder about it; if you apply and get rejected, then you’ll know that at least you’ll finish the PhD more quickly; and if you apply and are accepted, then you can make a decision about TTC knowing which option you’re choosing between. And if it makes you feel better, I have friends who’ve finished their dissertations relatively on-time while pregnant. Of course it adds lots of extra work and challenges, but it’s nice to know that it can be done, if that’s what you decide to do. Either way, good luck!
Post # 9
whoops, “center IN Arkansas” 🙂
Post # 10
Ugh! I know what your going through.
My mom has ovarian cancer and sometimes she’s doing great and other times I don’t know if she’ll make it a week. And she always said she just wanted to live to see her grandbaby.(I’m her only child) And so I struggled with this for a long time, I felt VERY guilty for not having any children. Even though I’m only 23 and unmarried. I knew she would be more than happy if I got pregnant. But I just couldn’t bring myself to try for a baby for that reason only. I decided not to.. and I felt guilty but I had to think about the baby first, I wasn’t engaged at the time and I don’t make a ton of money. It just didn’t seem fair to the baby.
I ended up getting pregnant unexpectedly about a year after I started thinking about all of this and it’s brought her sooo much joy and she says ryatt is the cure for cancer. She even joked and said “oh no!! now what am I going to do…how about… I just want to live until…Ryatt graduates!”
So I think you should try when YOUR ready for a baby. Because it changes everything and i’m sure it will bring her alot of joy. But You need to be ready to be a parent more so.
I totally know how you feel though so I’m sorry! It’s an awful feeling but you can’t be blamed for wanting to wait.
Post # 11
Thanks again for the opinions. Yeah, I agree with you WeeBirdy, that I should just continue with the plan and if I don’t get an internship, then we start trying- which was the original plan all along. And no, it’s not mean to say, it is quite possible that I don’t get accepted, particularly because I am only planning on applying locally which decreases my chances.
I just feel like I’ll feel bad if I do get one (which I want) because that means another year’s wait. Darling Husband mentioned it again when we went to bed last night. PixelMePretty, what makes it difficult is that I am ready for a baby!! I want one so badly, and so does he– he’s 33 and I’m 28, we have a house, etc. It’s just my professional stuff that is in the way. Although I can definitely understand the points a few posters have made about this last year of school being stressful, and his mom’s situation being stressful, — a baby would definitely be added stress, especially if she took a turn for the worst. I think I’ll talk to him about that.
Post # 12
This makes me so frustrated that we as women have to make this very difficult decision between career and being a mother. Someone told me that we can have it all, you just can’t have it all at the same time. That means that you likely are going to have to sacrifice with either decision, hence it being a very difficult decision. However, I think you will know after you talk with your Darling Husband about all the sides and weigh your own feelings toward having a baby and furthering your career which way to go. For myself, I’ve decided that having a baby the last year of the PhD (I’m only 6 weeks right now) was the best decision because of a more flexible schedule and that trying to start a career and family at the same time would be too difficult. I am also a little older than you (31) so I was concerned about pushing it off for 3-4 years. Good luck with your decision making! If you are both honest with each other and honest that you are making the best decision given all the factors, then you should feel confident in that decision and move forward.
Post # 13
I don’t know what your long term career plans are, but if I could have had a baby in grad school (and if I’d been ready to do so) I would have. I finished my PhD two years ago, am now doing a post doc and looking for a tenure track position. In grad school I could have added another year and beeen completely flexible with my time – no one cares if you take an extra year for a PhD (FI took 8) or work at home sometimes. During postdoc you’re trying to publish and find a job (planning to not be in the third trimester during all of interview season is inconvenient). The first couple of years of a tenure track job are incredibly stressful and taking maternity leave immediately after arriving seems hard on my colleagues. Not to mention you need to start writing grant proposals immediately and take grad students, who are going to be left hanging if you’re gone for months on leave.
If you have a baby in the next year can you add an additional year to your program then go for the internship? That’s what I would do if possible given that you want a baby and it would be great for your Mother-In-Law. Talk to your advisors and people in your department about this. Isn’t that what you would if you got pregnant accidently. Why do you think you’d quit school if you had a baby now? It sounds like you’re pretty committed to your career path? Lots of PhD students have babies. Add another year to your program and go for it.
Post # 14
I’m sorry to hear about your Mother-In-Law. I personally would probably go ahead and TTC but I am a different person than you…No one will know the answer except for you and your husband. I also believe that there is no RIGHT time to have a baby so why not now?! But I understand your commitment to school too.
My mom’s best friend passed away from an aggressive brain tumor almost two years ago (she got lucky and lived with it for nearly four years). One of her dreams was to see her son get married (they pushed up their wedding) and then her dream was to meet her first grandchild (and she lived to meet him too). It was important for her and for them to make those dreams come true in spite of sacrificing other things in life.
You might want to think how the decision affects you now, five years from now and 20 years from now. It might also help if you sit down with a therapist who is trained to talk about family issues like this. She/he might be able to help you sort through this confusing issue.
Good luck! You’ll make the right decision.
Post # 15
I’m sorry you are in this difficult situation. I think you should continue your career schedule as you had planned. One thing you could do, though, is to have your Mother-In-Law fill out one of those books that granbdparents can make for their grandchildren, that tell about their life and history etc. At least if she doesn’t make it, your child will have something from her. There are lots of them to choose from if you search for “grandchild” on amazon. Here is one as an example.
Post # 16
This is a difficult decision and only you can make this decision; however, from a fellow PhD candidate I will give you advice from a different prospective.
I have talked to many woman in academia about family life. The career choice that we have chosen is not an easy one for women. There really isn’t a good time to get pregnant – during your PhD not ideal, during a post-doc not ideal and then in the early years of academia working towards tenure… once again not ideal.
From all the women that I have spoken to in academia they have said to do it when it is the best time for you and your family as opposed to your career. They have also said that you need to decide what is your priority your family or your career because in this career something has to give.
I personally have decided that family is more important and I will start TTC when Fiance and I are ready (which will probably be while I am still doing a PhD). I feel as if this will set my priorities before I even start my career. And I have also decided that I am ok with not getting tenure, because I am not willing to work the 60-80 hour work weeks early in my career as I want to be home with my family more!
Your situation is very different and more complicated. Even if you start TTC now you don’t know if you will get pregnant in time. If this internship is as important as you say it is I would probably wait until after you found out if you got it. You could always start trying during the internship, then you could be pregnant during the internship and have the baby afterwards.
Only you and your husband can make these decision. I know it’s hard and so I wish you the best of luck!