November 21, 2002 at 6:49 am #27988
I was just wondering if any moms could let me know when they had their children. The age, where you were in the process of becoming a physician, married, not married, etc. Also would you reccomend the route you took?
I am currently doing pre-med, and my fiance and I are discussing the “when” for children. I don’t want to wait another ten years until I am completely finished, and neither does he, but I kind of wanted the opion of people who had been there.November 22, 2002 at 12:30 am #27989FPmommyParticipant
We waited until I was out of residency for 4 years. Very glad I did. In fact, if I had had a crystal ball & knew I was ok for fertility I would have waited slightly longer. I am so glad we got to travel a bit & just live a little before the HUGE responsibility. If you want to do a lot of the child-raising yourselves it takes us (with an especially challenging 5 year old :p + a baby) essentially ALL the time we have. It is worth it but it realy helps to have a bit more time & money for excellent daycare ($1975/mo where we live! 😮 ). It would be a bit different if we had close-by family support, but it is still nice to get something into the retirement accounts before needing to build the college accounts. Good luck with a very personal decision! There were a bunch of people who had kids in my med school class.November 22, 2002 at 6:30 am #27990
I really dont know if there is any good time. it really depends on a lot of things. I am a practicing pediatrician. I had my children who are now 2 years and 3 1/2 years in my first year of residency and my second in my third year.
It was not easy. I feel really blessed…but on the other hand my husband and I have been married for 9 years. My point. I quess I would not recommend doing a new marriage and adding children and the stresses of residency all at the same time. My husband have been together for over 15 years….and it was difficult enough in a long established relationship.
MY children are the greatest accomplishment in my life.November 22, 2002 at 10:46 am #27991
Thanks a lot, both of you. This gives me some more to think about.
Please feel free to give more advice.November 22, 2002 at 6:17 pm #27992kakParticipant
There is never going to be a ‘perfect time’ for everyone. Family planning is definitely a personal decision, that YOU and your husband will have to live with. The most important part of having a family is your love. Everything else will work itself out. Major considerations include local family support, spousal support, flexibility of your spouses job/specialty, and what you career goals are. Your personal expectations in having a family are also critical (although you will quickly find that your expectations and realility are never quite the same). Having kids IS stressful but VERY rewarding. Most residency programs are more flexible these dyas, however if you are aiming for the most cut-throat surgical specialty in the most prestigious institution having kids before residency would not be a good plan.
I had my first child between my 2nd and 3rd year of medical school (about the sam time I was diagnosed with MS)2 yrs after marrying–we decided that life is about the now and not about things we want for the future. I would do it again the same way–for me, living for the future is not a comfortable life. I had my 2nd child during my 1st year of residency (Radiology) and had my 3rd during my Fellowship at the NIH. I am now the Medical Director of a Molecular Imaging Center and finally making real money–while the $ was very tight previously, our family did not suffer. I am happy with my career and my wonderful family–who have helped me get where I am today. Compared to my original class mates I am 2-3years ‘behind’, but it doesn’t matter to me.
The question you pose is much more than about family planning, it is figuring out what you want out of life and when you want to start living it. Good Luck with whatever you decide.November 24, 2002 at 10:42 pm #27993eeh2004Participant
Alyssa, my husband and I went around and around about the “perfect time” for having children before finally deciding to go for it. I really wanted to have my first before med school, because I was working full-time, had benefits, and could afford to take part-time work if I needed to. Unfortunately, he didn’t see it that way (“not enough money,” “not married long enough,” “my job is bad,” “you’ll regret it”…these were just some of the excuses that he came up with). So we waited until I was in med school…I came off of the pill at the beginning of my second year, but we didn’t get pregnant for 8 months, then 2 miscarriages, in other words nothing worked out as “planned.” Fortunately I am now 2 1/2 months pregnant and due on the very last day of my third year rotations. I know that things have worked out beautifully, but it was so stressful dealing w/ failure to get pregnant and then losses on top of school, boards, and the start of clinical rotations. I regret starting as late as I did. I REPEAT AS OTHERS HAVE MENTIONED ABOVE, THERE IS NO PERFECT TIME. There are some that are worse than others. My first baby would have been due the middle of third year and would have made scheduling a nightmare, internship is stressful, even the the first years in practice can be tougher than you would imagine. It has to be the right time for you and your significant other. Making yourself fulfilled and happy is sometimes more important than making the top grades in a class or rotation, and makes you a better practitioner in the end. Good luck!
Erin, MS3November 25, 2002 at 8:09 am #27994momofchrisParticipant
I had my son 3 weeks before the end of my 1st year of med school. We planned it that way so I would have the summer off. I ended up with a C-section and had to reschedule a couple of my finals, but otherwise it wasn’t bad being pregnant during 1st year. I’m one of the unfortunate few who was really nauseous almost the entire pregnancy (!) and later developed pre-ecclampsia and was put on bed rest. It actually worked out much better for me during 1st year than if I had been working a full-time job, because I could miss class whenever I was too sick and just get the notes from my friends. I’m VERY glad that I had the summer off, because it turns out that my adorable little boy is a very high-needs baby…he has severe reflux, wouldn’t sleep in his crib for the first 3 months, and still wakes up a lot to nurse at almost 7 months. I couldn’t have handled it if I had not had the time off- but it’s still very difficult even now that I’m a 2nd year. I’m very fortunate in that my husband does by far the lion’s share around the house and taking care of the baby. In fact, he’s quitting his job next month to stay home full-time while our son is little. I still only sleep 3-4 hours a night, so it’s been tough to keep up with my classes. Several times this semester, I’ve felt utterly overwhelmed with sleep deprivation and wished I had taken a year off. I’ve somehow managed to make it this far- but it has been far more challenging than I had anticipated.
Nonetheless, I think I chose a fairly good time because of 1) my age (31, so biological clock is a factor) and 2) the flexibility of the preclinical years- but an even better time would have been before starting med school. OTOH, I have a classmate with 2 kids (ages 4 and 8)- and a very supportive spouse- and she’s facing struggles of her own in juggling her schedule and her kids. In sum, I have to agree with Erin that there’s never really a perfect time. The “best” time is when both you and your SO feel ready for it. Personally, I don’t think my husband or I would have been ready earlier- we spent our first 12 years together having fun with one another, traveling all over the world, etc. and we’re both SO glad we did! Having a baby will change your life in so many ways that you can’t even imagine- even something as mundane as running down to your local bookstore for a latte becomes a major expedition (haven’t done that yet post-baby!) Don’t rush it if you don’t feel ready- and when you do, you’ll find a way to make it work. Best of luck to you!November 25, 2002 at 9:50 pm #27995
Thank you all so much!!!! I do realize that the final decision will have to be made between Craig and I, but I was feeling very trapped. I didn’t think that I could handle a child and med school or Residency. But on the other hand, I was beginning to think that by the time I was completely finished, I’d be getting a little too old. (Around 35) Thanks a lot for all your help. I don’t feel nearly as trapped between wanting a career and a family as well. Craig is very supportive on whatever I end up wanting. But I know he is a little worried. His family has a history of back problems, and now at 21, he’s already having problems. He wants young children before he’s too broken to play with them.
Again, thank you for sharing your experiences. I now know that it is very possible.
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