Child questions…

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    I have read many of the posts that other people have written about having children or not having children in med. school. I am going to be MS1 this year, and am currently 29 years old. I am getting married in November, and my fiance is 4 1/2 years older than me. We discussed children and ideas extensively before I decided to leave my career as a speech-language pathologist and pursue medicine. Before reading the posts that I have read, we had talked about waiting until residency, especially since there is a maternity leave option. Now, it seems like that is not the best bet, either, since people tend to have had negative, or trying, experiences being pregnant while a resident. It seems like people say the year between first and second year is best, but that won’t work since my wedding isn’t until November, and the chances of timing it correctly are slim to none. My questions are this: what are the average hours that people put in during rotations during MS3, MS4 (I know it varies per rotation), and has anyone had a positive experience having a child while a resident. I don’t really want to wait until after residency, especially if infertility issues crop up. If people have a child as an MS4, how do you juggle an infant during that grueling first year of residency? And, finally, I fully intend on going into pediatrics, possibly developmental pediatrics (especially with my background of working with MANY kids with developmental disabilities), what are the average hours you put in as a resident in either area? Thanks so much for any replies!


    med /mommed/mom

    Hi Tara,

    There are lots of good options for having a child in med school. I took a year off between second and third year and had my second daughter, which worked very well as far as being pregnant (during second year) and then I got to stay home with her for a full 9 months before starting third year. It’s also possible to stick an extra year between third and fourth. If you don’t want to take five years to get through med school, fourth year is the best time…but you are correct that it’s hard to do internship with an infant. However, it’s hard to leave your kids at any age, so don’t assume leaving a two- or three-year old for internship will be easier 😉 ! I think there are advantages and disadvantages to any plan–in some ways my older daughter (almost 6) has a harder time when I’m gone a lot, in other ways my 22-month old has a harder time.

    By the way, I’m 35, started med school when I was 31, and am taking 6 years to finish. As an older student and career-changer I was initially resistant to taking extra time but have decided the greatly improved quality of family life is worth it–what’s a year or two in the scheme of things? I’m currently somewhere between third and fourth year and will graduate in 2004.

    Best of luck to you,


    Hmmm…I was also always resistant to taking longer, but that does sound like a viable option. What does that do to your loans, though? Can you defer through the year off, or do you begin repaying and then have to defer again when you begin school again? Thanks for the reply! Tara


    You can defer your loans for the time you take off during maternity leave – there is some info about that in another post somewhere in here. There are also hardship deferments if your loan repayment is more than 20% of your monthly income. And what a great idea to take a whole year off and get to spend all that time with a little one!

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