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#1 of 16 Old 06-18-2011, 12:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am curious as to when you had your babies, career-wise. Did you find that the timing was ideal, awful, or irrelevant? 

 

I am in my first year of graduate school, and the MS usually takes 2 years in my field. I have decided to start trying to conceive with donor sperm after graduation, whether I get a job or continue with a PhD. Barring serious financial difficulty, I have just decided to make it work. I am 28 now, and I think it will be harder on my career and my body to do it later.

 

Opinions?


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#2 of 16 Old 06-18-2011, 05:05 PM
 
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I would just go for it if I were you. Children are the greatest gift ever and you sound like you are more than ready to have one :)  I received my associate degree in accounting when my dd was 6 months old and began working when she was 13 months. I plan to start online classes one day hopefully... Good luck!


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#3 of 16 Old 06-19-2011, 12:36 PM
 
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DD was unplanned; ended up being about a year earlier than optimal career-wise but certainly later than optimal biologically (I was 31).  Overall I am glad it worked out this way because I definitely feel a biological time-crunch for #2 (and a possibly possible #3).

 

I know you were asking more about career issues - to which I would say in a lot of fields there is no perfect time anyway so it is probably best to give biology the trump card, and grad school is anyway typically more flexible than postdoc or 'job job' - but I did want to raise the issue of having a supportive partner, which I think is *vastly* more important than the timing of the child wrt career trajectory.

 

It's not clear to me from your post whether you are unpartnered or partnered with someone (eg a woman) who can't or won't provide sperm.   If the latter then obviously feel free to ignore the rest of this post.  But honestly, for myself, I don't think I would ever intentionally have a child without a partner - it just seems like it would be way way way too hard.  Probably if you are unpartnered you have already thought about this.  I know people do it - there are some single mothers by choice on MDC who seem to be making it all work out.  But people do all kinds of things that are really really really really hard, and that will absolutely put the brakes on a demanding career (which it sounds like you may be heading for if you are planning on a PhD). 

 

If I were unpartnered at a time when I really felt pressure to have a child, I think I would first find a supportive other - not necessarily a romantic partner, but definitely someone who was also strongly committed to helping me raise the child (eg family members or another single woman who wanted a child but not a partner).  For me, having the support in place would be a much much more important factor than either the biological clock or the career timing.


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#4 of 16 Old 06-19-2011, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Mambera, I am unpartnered and plan to stay that way. I understand that most people wouldn't choose that, but I have some pretty serious reasons for wanting to be an SMC. I'm not as concerned with biological clock (though it is a factor) or support as I am with making sure I have a chance to dedicate energy and love to a child without getting backlash from work or falling horribly behind. Falling behind I expect, I just don't want it to be career ending at a time when I have no way of changing careers. I wouldn't want to be pregnant while looking for work, or while vying for a big research grant or promotion. I think you are right, the time after defending my Masters' thesis and passing Comps will probably be the most flexible time I can expect to have. 

 

Single parenthood is hard, very very hard, but many women become single when they thought they had all the support in the world and it gets pulled out from under them and the 'supporter' becomes this extra burden to please. Parenting clashes, fights, breakups, child support, custody arrangements, abandonment issues, yuck. I would rather plan to do it on my own, and accept a partner later if they came into my life in a meaningful way as a partner and not search for a potential co-parent. 

 

Ansley, Thank you! I feel more ready every day!

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#5 of 16 Old 06-20-2011, 09:02 AM
 
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I had ds a semester into my master's program. I took 5 semesters to finish instead of 4, but it was worth it. I had a fair amount of flexibility with my schedule and spent tons of time with him.

I had dd1 about 6 months after I finished my MS, during my initial job search.  I'm pretty sure I did not get one job I had 5 interviews for because of my pregnancy (start date would have been months after dd1 was born).

Dd2 was born almost 4 months into a new job (after another stint in school).  I was forced to resign when I went back at 6 weeks pp.  They were not willing to work with me on pumping and hourly restrictions.

 

Part of me would love #4, but part of me says no, because of work/home balance.  I don't know that my business could survive me being out for 6 weeks and I know that I won't want to be back before that.

 

Looking back, it would have been easier if I had #3 while I was still in school.  I had more time to give and flexibility in scheduling then.  That said, I'm glad I have my kids.  love.gif


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#6 of 16 Old 06-20-2011, 12:32 PM
 
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I was 34 when my son was born--4 years after I finished the doctoral program. So I had a Ph.D. and a stable job (at a university, but research, not faculty, so no tenure headaches) and I had been in the job long enough to qualify for benefits including FMLA. I also had enough saved that I could afford to take leave without pay for a full 16 weeks of FMLA.

 

For me, the biggest benefit to waiting has been that I'm financially comfortable. If I need to work overtime, I can ask my child's nanny to stay an extra hour or two and I can pay her overtime. If I've had a stressful day at work and we have no food in the house, I can order out and I don't need to think twice. I can afford to live somewhere that's an easy commute from work and is a comfortable neighborhood. We can travel to see grandparents and we can put them up when they come to visit us.

 

I'm not sure if there's a huge physical difference between having a kid at 28 and having one at 34. Maybe the sleep deprivation is easier when you are younger, though! 


Also depends if you want to have more than one, too.

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#7 of 16 Old 06-20-2011, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmitrizmom View Post

I had ds a semester into my master's program. I took 5 semesters to finish instead of 4, but it was worth it. I had a fair amount of flexibility with my schedule and spent tons of time with him. I had dd1 about 6 months after I finished my MS, during my initial job search.  I'm pretty sure I did not get one job I had 5 interviews for because of my pregnancy (start date would have been months after dd1 was born). Dd2 was born almost 4 months into a new job (after another stint in school).  I was forced to resign when I went back at 6 weeks pp.  They were not willing to work with me on pumping and hourly restrictions.

 


That is totally the kind of stuff I am thinking about right now, thanks!

 

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Originally Posted by Anna Phor View Post

 

I'm not sure if there's a huge physical difference between having a kid at 28 and having one at 34. Maybe the sleep deprivation is easier when you are younger, though! 


Also depends if you want to have more than one, too.


Sleep? What is this sleep of which you speak? Is it the dark time that happens when we run out of coffee at the lab? The dark time is scary caffix.gif. (I kid, I kid.)  I do think about how much easier it would be financially to wait until I am secure in a position, but I also know there is no guarantee that will happen, yk?

 


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#8 of 16 Old 06-21-2011, 01:16 PM
 
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We started about 2 years after I finished my PhD at 30 years old and had worked for about 2 years, I had wanted to start trying to have children since I was 25 or so but felt it was a bad idea due to my PhD. However it took us 3 year to finally conceive, so I had our 3rd at 39 years old. Therefore my advice is always to rather start earlier than later. Optimal time for career is very fuzzy, optimal time for your body is very clear. You will figure it out how to combine your career with kids.

 

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#9 of 16 Old 06-26-2011, 06:37 PM
 
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I thought I needed to wait until I had my career path perfectly planned and was on an upward trajectory. I had my dream job that I worked very hard for by the time I was 30...then I became a mom and figured out that there more more important things in the world than my career (I NEVER would have believed this pre-motherhood!) and after about 6 months back at work full time with a 45 minute commute each way, I applied for and got a more flexible, part-time job closer to home that has absolutely nothing to do with my previous career.

 

I'm not sure if this means I wish we had started having children earlier though...just that it really didn't make a lick of difference to me where I was on my career path once I decided that being a mom was more important to me.  I do think that the time I put in to building my resume pre-parenthood will help me jump back in if and when I'm ready...I hope! :-)

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#10 of 16 Old 06-27-2011, 01:53 PM
 
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I had #1 the summer before starting a masters program. It was great in the sense that I didn't have to worry about an employer's opinion and the student schedule was flexible so I got more kid time during the day. It was terrible in that diving into a hard-core competitive program while I was just figuring out how to be a parent was a total nightmare (plus we had to move 2k miles for the school), it made me much less able to compete job-wise during a very critical career transition period, and being a student plus participating in on campus recruiting was a 24/7 job unlike the 50-60 hr/wk job I had before (and after).

 

I had #2 as a surprise just before graduation (21 mo's after #1). Also good because I didn't have to worry about an employer but took me completely out of 2nd year job hunt which was not so good.

 

I approach my career much differently with two kids than I did childless. Maybe it will change when they're older (2 and 4 now) but honestly, I'm not sure all the time and money I put into my career before was quite worth it. I would still be in my line of work and still work, but not have spent so much money on my two degrees. And I would have enjoyed my child-free life more instead of slaving away for some far off monetary goal! :) Not that anyone asked, but for what it's worth. Advice to my younger self ...


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#11 of 16 Old 06-28-2011, 06:48 AM
 
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I came on here this morning for this exact question. I've got about 8 classes left of my undergrad after this coming fall semester, so, give or take a year depending on how things line up. I've got DD who is about to be 4, and am repartnered and would love another little one (or two!). I'm totally lost as to how to plan it out - my thoughts are these:

-start now, and have number two before/right after undergrad is finished, so as not to be dealing with whatever issues could arise being pregnant in a MA program in which I'm hoping to have a GAship. I don't want to jeopardize my assistantship by requiring extra time, especially time *off*, as funding is going to be essential in me completing an MA at all. so, i feel it would be better to have the baby pre-MA program rather than during. 

-wait until after, which would put DD1 at about, what, 7-8 years old. I *really* don't want to have such a gap between my kids. Not that it isn't do-able, or desirable, I'd just rather have them closer together. And, that also poses the question of PhD programs which will hypothetically require me to move, at least somewhat. I have to stay nearby for DD1's dad, but there are a few schools within two hours of here that have good programs for my field (which is Writing/Composition, fwiw). I will likely look for jobs with an MA, and a PhD is not necessarily a definite plan, though it is highly likely.

 

That said, I think that sooner is going to be better than later, but then I'm also concerned with prolonging my undergrad longer than I need to as well. I should be finishing after a Fall semester and would like to start grad school in the Winter semester if possible, though I'm not sure how often they award GAships mid-year. That *could* mean a break between my BS and MA if I can't start in the winter, which would be prime time for having a baby, yeah? But, if my undergrad takes that extra semester, I'd still be in classes, and I won't know until much nearer to that time period (aka, less than 9 months...eyesroll.gif) how the timing will work out.

 

What would you do?

 

And to the OP, I hope this thread has been helpful to you! It seems like you've gotten a lot of great replies!


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#12 of 16 Old 06-29-2011, 12:10 PM
 
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i had dd when i was 36, and had only recently met and married my dh (i was 35, he 8 years younger!) i have two master's degrees and have been working in my field (switching paths kind of in the middle) for around 10 years.  i honestly would not want to have a child without a partner, personally.  unless you have awesome parent-friends and strong family support, i guess.  it is hard, harder than i would have imagined, for just the two of us to raise our 1 dd, and i don't know how other folks do it. 

career-wise, i have friends who are married & completing phd programs while parenting young children , and for them, it is very difficult.  my own dh remembers his dad getting his graduate degrees and telling him tearfully that he couldn't play at that time, he had to study,etc.  i would not want to be in a phd program AND have a young child/baby.  it's too much, honestly, and anybody doing it has my respect.

if i had my druthers, i would have timed my own differently, though.  i'm at an age and length of experience where i could be moving up a little, (i'm in academia.. those next steps like dept chair/dean/director, etc) but because i have a young child & am pregnant that won't happen.  discrimination like that is illegal, but it happens.  every time.  so at this point, i am a little thwarted career-wise (which is for the best, i don't really want to spend long hours at work rather than home). 

i'd say, based on my experience and from what i've seen, the best baby-timing, career wise, if such a thing is possible, is after the graduate degree and after finding a comfortable place of employment where you intend to stay, and have worked there for at least 3-4 months (because you have to work somewhere for a year to have FMLA guaranteed to you).  i wouldn't think working a few years then having children is more helpful-- ime it's just led to a lack of mobility.  (and again, there's no way i would even think about doing it as a phd student.. in my field a master's is the terminal degree, and i would probably be ok with doing a master's and not working and a child.. but not much more than that).

 

eta: carma is right about fertility.. that's another thing to contemplate.  no guarantee it's going to work the first few times you try.  also.. i feel in that regard i waited too long for comfort, and for having multiple closely spaced children.  oh, well, you get what you get.  :)


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#13 of 16 Old 07-03-2011, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmmm I tried a multi-quote, and instead I got some stupid advert stuck in the reply box. 

 

Rosadesal, your little girl is adorable. I would really like to know what path you eventually settle on. I think I have settled on post-MA, especially based on what Hildare says about FMLA time requirements if I go for employment rather than a PhD.

 

We all have things we would rather live without, and for me it is the rather dubious benefit of having a partner. BTDT, rather not again. YMMV. shrug.gif


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#14 of 16 Old 07-05-2011, 05:37 AM
 
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yeah, i thought hildare's quote was extremely helpful. best of luck to you!!!

Quote:
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Hmmm I tried a multi-quote, and instead I got some stupid advert stuck in the reply box. 

 

Rosadesal, your little girl is adorable. I would really like to know what path you eventually settle on. I think I have settled on post-MA, especially based on what Hildare says about FMLA time requirements if I go for employment rather than a PhD.

 

We all have things we would rather live without, and for me it is the rather dubious benefit of having a partner. BTDT, rather not again. YMMV. shrug.gif



 


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#15 of 16 Old 07-05-2011, 07:18 AM
 
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Quote:
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Single parenthood is hard, very very hard, but many women become single when they thought they had all the support in the world and it gets pulled out from under them and the 'supporter' becomes this extra burden to please. Parenting clashes, fights, breakups, child support, custody arrangements, abandonment issues, yuck. I would rather plan to do it on my own, and accept a partner later if they came into my life in a meaningful way as a partner and not search for a potential co-parent. 

 


I'm an 'unexpected' solo (100% alone, NO partner support) parent, as my X left when my ds was 2 months.  Ds is now 8 years old.  While I also believe that a 'supportive partner' is not a necessity, I do believe that a strong support system is a requirement.  It is too difficult, mentally and physically, on both the child and the parent to not have a solid support system.  Now, the best part is... who makes up your support system is completely up to you!   Honestly, I don't think I can take credit for raising ds 100% alone... my amazing support network of family and friends have had just as much influence on his development (and my sanity) as I do.  

 

As for the best timing, in regards to career... with the exception of making sure FMLA and insurance benefits are all aligned, the rest will just work itself out.  

 

Best of luck to you!       

 

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#16 of 16 Old 07-12-2011, 01:41 PM
 
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My career timing was great.

 

I had long since given up on a husband, kids... was NEVER going to happen. So I was totally career focused. Took a job in another country that I loved, for more reasons than I can list.

 

Ooops. Fell madly in love at 36, married at 37, 1st child at 37.9999, 2nd child at 39.9999. I suppose that was cutting it pretty close, but considering for years I had been at peace with it never happening, I was grateful. And apparently I get pregnant just by looking at a guy the wrong way.

 

FWIW, my career had been going downhill when I got pregnant, so having kids and 1 year paid maternity leave for each was great. My oldest is now 6, my youngest is 4. My career still stinks, so it is easy for my priorities to be focused on them, with no guilt at all. Because I was older, I knew whom I was, where I was, where I was going, before I had kids; which I think has made me a very confident mom. 

 

Regarding doing it alone. DH and I are still madly in love, so it would crush me to no end to not have him here. And he is a saint, and a more patient, wise parent than I will ever be, But if he wasn't here, I know that financially I could be here for my kids, but in other ways it would be BEYOND HARD. As in just surviving, day by day, not really living. 

 

Never say never. Because you don't really know where you will be in 10 years, or even 5, or sometimes even in 1. You can plan, it would be niave not to, but you can not know 100%. 

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