Chit Chat

Starting a family with a Med-Student

bumpjaniebumpjanie member
Fourth Anniversary 10 Comments 5 Love Its
edited October 2016 in Chit Chat
My husband and I just got married and would like to start a family.  He is in the process of interviewing for med schools, and will hopefully (if accepted) start school in August 2017.  He applied to over 20 school across the country so we could basically end up anywhere.  I've talked with the doctors we know and the advice we've received is to have kids while he is in medical school, because residency is so time-demanding.  My husband agrees.  I would be 33 if I got pregnant right now this second, so the age-factor is part of it.  I know you can have kids well into your 40s but it is still something to consider.  There is also the financial aspect- having a kid on one income, possibly in a new city...it's a lot to think about.  I own a business so it would be difficult take a lot of time off.  My business is very "up and down" so financially-speaking it varies.  I always hear "there is never a right time" which I TOTALLY get but it does all become overwhelming very quickly.  I've been very open with my husband, and he is very understanding of my concerns, but none-the-less gung ho about having kids ASAP.  I really love him for that, but I'm also thinking, easier said than done my dear...  I want to have a family, but I don't want to take a nose dive into motherhood without thinking it through and end up super over-whelmed, thinking to myself "I wish I would have..."-insert wise thoughts here...I keep telling myself, "Where there is a will there is a way!", which then battles my type-A thoughts of "Think realistically about your decisions".  I guess I don't know what a "realistic" expectation is...and I'm curious- has anyone been in this situation?  Opinions on having kids during med school vs residency?  Does timing/schedule really matter or is parenthood basically the same no matter what your circumstances?  Sadly, the only doctors I know are unmarried men so I am lacking a much needed honest woman's perspective...

Re: Starting a family with a Med-Student

  • I have known a couple of women who had husband's in med school and children- and I was/am thoroughly impressed with them! The thought of that for myself is terrifying- it sounds very stressful! But these women make it work like the superwomen they are. To me, it seemed like the biggest factors are social/family support.

    The one woman, who is a friend of a friend, now has 2 kids, and started when her husband was in med school. She was and remains a stay at home mom. I do not know how they did it financially while he was in school, but in terms of the home/family, she took on the majority of that role. She also has a lot of family support and belongs to a religious community that is very supportive and big on family.

    The other woman is a direct friend of mine. Her husband just started med school when their first child was about 8-9 months old. My friend is a physiotherapist, originally worked part time in a hospital and part time private. She gave up the hospital job and kept the private a few nights a week where she is able to work in the evening on days where her husband is home. Otherwise she is at home raising her son. My friend also has a large family and belongs to the same religious community as above, so she has a large support network across North America. When applying for med school, her husband did apply to a few places (including the U.S.) but only in places where they knew someone- either extended family (like cousins) or places that had a large congregation of their faith. 

    P.S. Myself and friends are in Canada, where we get government funded mat leave for one year, which I believe replaces up to 70% of your earnings (based on full time work in the previous year); so that helps.

    In terms of yourself OP, financial is something to think about. Is your business flexible? Can you do your work when your husband is at home? Can you work from home? If you were to work full time at your business, and once your child is old enough, could you afford to pay for daycare so that you can continue to work full time?

    Moving to a new city with no family will definitely be hard, but you would be in the same situation whether your husband is in school, residency, or working. He's go to go to the hospital that is offering a position, particularly if he wants to specialize (as I am sure you know). Of course, it would be easier when he is working and you have some financial means to hire help if needed. DH and I lived away from our families for some years- like a 4 hour plane ride away. And when we talked about kids, something we realized is that we would be heavily reliant on day care (and would need to consider that in our future budget), or I would stay at home full time (which I did/do not want to do), DH would have to be prepared to work from home (as he would have more flexibility in that aspect, even though his job is a little more "high profile"- I literally cannot work from home), and until the kids are old enough to hire a babysitter (another budget item) it's all us all the time- no grandma or grandpa to the rescue!

    I think it would be wise to have a conversation with your husband about what is the worst case scenario- that might help you feel better knowing you've got a plan in place. For example, what if you could not make ends meet- who would be responsible for making up the income difference? What if little one is sick- who can stay home? What if you are sick- who can help out? I think at the end of the day though, you make a decision about what you want in life and you make it work- as long as it's something you want.

    ei34
  • Is he also 33? That's very old to be starting medical school. By the time he finishes his residency you're looking at minimum 8 years of him being very busy and not making much money while likely accruing significant debt. I don't think having a baby while he is in med school is a bad idea, but you are going to be supporting your young family financially for 8 years- are you ready for that? Is your business ready to support that?
    ei34short+sassylevioosa
  • My sister and brother-in-law had their first child when he was starting his final year of law school.  I know it's not the same as med school, but he was working full-time as an engineer all day and then he'd be in class until about 11 at night, so it was a good 16 hours a day that he was out of the house while my sister figured out a newborn.  When she returned to work (as an engineer, they met at work), she'd get home at 6 just to deal with a baby by herself until he got home hours later.  Our mom, her MIL, me, our other sister, and some friends threw ourselves into helping anyway we could...she's said that she barely got through it, but she only did because of the support she received.  I think it's possible to be virtually alone with a baby (single moms do it), but not ideal.  Could your H narrow his list of schools down to those in areas in which you know supportive family and friends live?
    I imagine med school is expensive, and I know all too well how expensive having babies is.  Are you guys ready to take on two incredible expenses at once? 
    The two italicized are my main questions/food for thought.  I completely get the being 33 thing, and wanting a baby; I hope my response didn't have a negative, "don't do it" tone.  Best of luck in whatever you decide.
    SP29cowgirl8238
  • I'll start by saying that people have and raise kids in all kinds of less-than-ideal circumstances, so I'm sure if you are determined enough you can make this work for you. 

    I'll also say that I couldn't do what you are thinking about doing. I can relate to your situation a little- my husband is in dental school, which is obviously also a lengthy and demanding program to get through followed by a period of a lot of hard work to get on your feet and established in your field while worrying about paying back the insane amount of student loan debt you've accrued.

    Honestly for me it's not the idea of having a baby/toddler while my husband is in medical school that I couldn't deal with- it's the idea of having a young child while my husband is in residency on top of all that. In school at least you have more regular/set hours and can study a lot from home, plus the fact that most schools have more support systems (in terms of counseling, health and wellness services etc.) than your average workplace. Realistically I might be able to deal with one or the other- either having to parent more on my own for a few years while my kid is little or having to do it for a few years when they get a bit older... but I would not be up to doing all the heavy lifting by myself for eight years while my husband's first priority was his school and career. 

    So personally even though I'm sure residency is crazy I'd rather have a baby then and have the end be closer in sight rather than getting pregnant now and staring down the barrel of a decade of having to do a lot of the parenting stuff by myself. That's just me though.

    If you really do want to get pregnant sooner rather than later though, I'd consider telling your H he needs to prioritize picking a school as close as possible to where you have a family and friend support system. I know that's a huge decision to make based on location alone, but if he's super gung ho about doing this now this is one of the few ways he can actually show he's going to support you in this.
    charlotte989875cowgirl8238SP29
  • My H and I both have PhDs (we met in grad school) and have moved for jobs. We decided early on there was no way we could have a child while we were in grad school or in the first few years of tenure-track jobs; it just wasn't what we wanted so we're waiting. 

    We had friends, women and men's whose wives had children in grad school, and it was tough. The hours are crazy, the pay is terrible, and there is often little support from universities for time off. That's being said they all have made it work; with the help of family, friends, and support networks. 

    This is a very personal decision, and what is right for one family isn't necessarily right for another. 
    short+sassySP29
  • Here is my experience, albeit very limited, with medical school.  I rented out the other half of my personal duplex to a med student.  It was during his first year.  He was crazy, crazy busy.  Except in the summer time.  His whole life seemed to revolve around going to classes all day M-F.  Then spending all his free time studying.  Some of his studying had to be done at the campus also.  He was on the older side for a student (28) also, like I'm guessing your H is based on your age.

    It's going to be a hard road and a heavy burden on you, either way, though.  On the "plus" for waiting until his residency, then at least it would be a relatively shorter time that childcare and household expenses would fall squarely on you.

    I'd also recommend talking to your OB/GYN in terms of TTC planning, in regards to your age.  Ideally, it would be great to wait until his school and residency are over or close to it.  However, as women age, our fertility decreases.  But by how much?  That I don't know.

    Anecdotally, I have a good friend who conceived just fine and had a healthy son in her late 30s.  But then could never get pregnant again.  Her OB/GYN said a pregnancy was always possible but, because of her age (early 40s at that time), her best chance was with fertility treatments.  She and her H did not want to go that route and resigned themselves to "if it happens, it happens".  Definitely NOT saying that's the case for all or even most women, but a good concern to bring up with your OB. 

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  • Honestly for me it's not the idea of having a baby/toddler while my husband is in medical school that I couldn't deal with- it's the idea of having a young child while my husband is in residency on top of all that. In school at least you have more regular/set hours and can study a lot from home, plus the fact that most schools have more support systems (in terms of counseling, health and wellness services etc.) than your average workplace. Realistically I might be able to deal with one or the other- either having to parent more on my own for a few years while my kid is little or having to do it for a few years when they get a bit older... but I would not be up to doing all the heavy lifting by myself for eight years while my husband's first priority was his school and career. 

    So personally even though I'm sure residency is crazy I'd rather have a baby then and have the end be closer in sight rather than getting pregnant now and staring down the barrel of a decade of having to do a lot of the parenting stuff by myself. That's just me though.

    That was my thought, too.  I don't want to be the one to rain on anyone's parade, but things do not magically become easier once the kid turns 1, or 2, or 3.  Some things are easier: they start sleeping through the night, and can entertain themselves long enough for you to take a shower or fold some laundry, and at some point they're potty trained.  But then there is teething, and sleep regressions, and the actual process of being potty trained, and the terrible twos (and sometimes threes) etc.

    People who have had kids during the whole doctorification process can speak to those circumstances, specifically.  And I don't want to sound like raising kids is awful, because it's definitely not.  It's just that there isn't really a point early on where it becomes easy: you get a handle on one issue and soon enough, there's something else.  There isn't really a great time during early childhood to parent (mostly) alone.  So, in summary:

    Does timing/schedule really matter or is parenthood basically the same no matter what your circumstances? 
    IMO, pretty much, yep.
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Heffalump said:

    Honestly for me it's not the idea of having a baby/toddler while my husband is in medical school that I couldn't deal with- it's the idea of having a young child while my husband is in residency on top of all that. In school at least you have more regular/set hours and can study a lot from home, plus the fact that most schools have more support systems (in terms of counseling, health and wellness services etc.) than your average workplace. Realistically I might be able to deal with one or the other- either having to parent more on my own for a few years while my kid is little or having to do it for a few years when they get a bit older... but I would not be up to doing all the heavy lifting by myself for eight years while my husband's first priority was his school and career. 

    So personally even though I'm sure residency is crazy I'd rather have a baby then and have the end be closer in sight rather than getting pregnant now and staring down the barrel of a decade of having to do a lot of the parenting stuff by myself. That's just me though.

    That was my thought, too.  I don't want to be the one to rain on anyone's parade, but things do not magically become easier once the kid turns 1, or 2, or 3.  Some things are easier: they start sleeping through the night, and can entertain themselves long enough for you to take a shower or fold some laundry, and at some point they're potty trained.  But then there is teething, and sleep regressions, and the actual process of being potty trained, and the terrible twos (and sometimes threes) etc.

    People who have had kids during the whole doctorification process can speak to those circumstances, specifically.  And I don't want to sound like raising kids is awful, because it's definitely not.  It's just that there isn't really a point early on where it becomes easy: you get a handle on one issue and soon enough, there's something else.  There isn't really a great time during early childhood to parent (mostly) alone.  So, in summary:

    Does timing/schedule really matter or is parenthood basically the same no matter what your circumstances? 
    IMO, pretty much, yep.

    yep.

    My sister actual became a SHAM when her youngest was 3 years.  She looks back and said the first few years were somewhat easier than once they got a little older.   Sure they can entertain themselves a little longer, potty trained and sleep through the night.  But it's all the other stuff.  School, homework, activities, sickness times 3 kids, well it's pretty time consuming.  My sister has gone 3 straight  weeks of sickness because you all know they don't get sick altogether.  Sometimes it circles back again.   Yet, the other 2 still have their own shit to do.  Lots of running around.

    Don't forget the kids themselves become more independent and start pushing back a little.  In some  cases getting an infant to day care is easier than getting a 4 year old with a strong personality to school on time.  

    It can be done.  Look at all the single parents out there.  The military families who have to deal with long deployments.  Only you can decide if you are wiling to take it on or not.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    SP29
  • I had several friends (both male and female) that had children while we were in medical school.  If you think you can provide financially for the two of you and a child, med school isn't necessarily a bad time for that. He will likely (depending on the residency) be around far more as a med student.

    I would suggest that you consider waiting until he's started med school though, if you can, so he can see what kind of a time commitment he can make to being around. Some students can make it more of a 9-5 schedule and some need to study every waking moment. He won't know which he is until he starts.
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    short+sassycharlotte989875ei34cowgirl8238
  • bumpjaniebumpjanie member
    Fourth Anniversary 10 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited November 2016
    Thank you to everyone who took the time to write! Lots of insightful thoughts, pretty much everyone touched on things I have thought about. While I admire my husbands starry-eyed optimism, I feel a lot better knowing that my concerns are legitimate ones the merit careful consideration.  

    Our top choices are at schools close to family, fingers crossed that works out.  Or better yet, we don't have to move at all!  That would be ideal, my business is in a building attached to my moms house so not only would I have a nursery 50 feet from my desk, but also a free babysitter.  Two if you count my step-dad, who basically started measuring rooms for a crib the day after we got engaged...I'm the only in-town daughter so they get a little grandbaby crazy.

    My husband recently completed a Masters Degree that is coincidentally the same exact curriculum as the first year of med school where he goes, so we have the unique experience of knowing (to some degree) what his life as a med student would be like.  Thankfully that aspect has been very manageable, so far.  

    At at the end of the day I definitely don't have it in me to get pregnant before he starts school, there are just way too many possibilities of where we end up.  The many unknowns make it nearly impossible to properly plan.  I think for me it will likely come down to whether or not we end up near family.  I guess moving to a city without family is my "worst case scenario".  I know I would want to get a handle on a situation like that before I started making life-changing decisions. 

    The med school application process is hard enough. All this other stuff is enough to make your head spin. Good to know there are some supermoms out there getting it done ;)
    SP29cowgirl8238short+sassy
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