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Having a baby during versus after residency

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9 months 1 week ago #96707 by mintandcopper828
Hi all, I am a 28yF (almost 29) PGY2 Internal Medicine resident and a newlywed (almost 1 year), and I am starting to get the baby fever! I am debating whether to have a baby during residency (3rd year), during fellowship (likely Rheum or Endo), or to take a gap year between residency and fellowship.

My husband relocated with me and unfortunately recently got laid off from his job (non-medicine), so we cannot start thinking about it until he finds a new job, though I feel confident that he will soon. Also, in order for us to have a baby during a gap year, he would have to have good health insurance through his job. To make matters more complicated, our parents are halfway across the country so the ideal thing would be for us to move back during that gap year--though we could not do that until he got a job over there.

Here are the pros and cons I see right now to having a baby at each stage. However, I have never had a baby so I really have no idea! Please give me some feedback. Would love to hear some of your experiences! My hat's off to you brave mommy physicians!

Baby during residency:
-Pros: good health insurance, I get to be a younger 1st time mom, I can satisfy my baby craving sooner (lol)
-Cons: interviewing while pregnant, working 80 hrs per week while pregnant, only getting 4-6 weeks off or something barbaric, and risking later graduation and then issues with starting fellowship if I need more time (and for health reasons I won't get into it is very likely I would need a C-section). Also, I feel like I would be much more interested in my baby than in studying for boards--just being honest.

Baby during gap year:
-Pros: would be so nice to take a dedicated year for my first baby. I would enjoy it so much, I think. Also, I would not be inconveniencing anyone who would have to cover for me. I could take my boards while pregnant before the baby arrives. And once the baby is a few months old I could moonlight or find a short-term job until fellowship starts.
-Cons: pregnant as a resident, having to go to appointments while working 80hrs, etc. interviewing with a small baby. Requires my husband to have a job with financial security and good health insurance, and ideally in the location that our families live (or perhaps relocating there after the baby arrives whenever he finds a job there. Or, worst case scenario, just staying here for the year). Money would likely be tight, and babies are expensive--but we have lived on tight budgets in the past and have been quite good at it.

Baby during fellowship:
-Pros: I would already have the last step of my training set, so there would be no more interviewing or moving, except for my first job. I would have health insurance through my job. If I match near our parents', we would already have relocated there. I could even look into taking a gap year between the 1st and 2nd year, if my program allows (though I doubt they would be happy about that...)
-Cons: longer wait. I would still have to be studying for boards and working as a fellow, similar to during residency--although the work would be a little less stressful since it would be outpatient. Potentially inconveniencing the other fellows and the program.

Baby after fellowship:
-Pros: I will be finished with training. My husband may be more settled in his job/career so we would likely be able to take a more comfortable gap year.
-Cons: I will be 32 when I start even trying to get pregnant. I will still have to worry about having a baby while having my first job.

I think my ideal situation would be to take a gap year for baby #1 between residency and fellowship, and then a gap year for baby #2 between fellowship and first job (or at least 6 months), if money were no object.

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8 months 4 weeks ago #96718 by ctenj
I agree. If you could financially swing it, I'd personally opt for the gap year. I essentially took a gap with my 2nd (year "off") & 3rd (almost 6 months) and have not regretted slowing things down either time. During the first gap, we were living on a resident's salary (my husband's) as a family of 4. We made it work and even were able to save a little money. Since I had a little more time, I coupon clipped, bargain hunted, etc... and we lived in a dirt-cheap tiny condo. You can do it! :)

I am speaking from a somewhat biased place having had all three of ours before starting residency, but personally, we decided that we did not want to put off having kids. As for interviewing and working long hours while pregnant, I'd honestly say that for me, the first trimester (more so with my first two than the third) and the last couple weeks (literally 38weeks+) tend to be tough, but the rest was easy to do while pregnant. I ended up interviewing for residency until I was literally 37.5 with my third. Every woman is different so hard to generalize, but quite honestly, working/interviewing while pregnant I think is much easier than with a small baby.

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