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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,<br>
I'm new here and am a grad student. I've read just about everything I can find about starting a family in grad school, and most people seem to recommend it as a preferable time to have babies (at least preferable compared to having kids while trying to establish tenure in a job). After almost 3 years of marriage, my husband and I are ready to ttc our first, but when I asked my friends (some of them who have kids!!) they discouraged us from going for it unless the baby would be born during the summer. Now, I certainly agree that it would be ideal to have the baby over the summer, but I'm wondering if any of you have insight into what it's like to give birth smack dab in the middle of a semester? How did you handle it? How much time did you take off? I will still be in coursework and teaching one class that meets twice a week. (I'm not pregnant yet, but if I get pregnant in the next 3 months, I would be giving birth mid-semester.)<br><br>
I plan to CD, exclusively breastfeed, co-sleep, babywear, etc... my husband will be working.<br>
Thx.
 

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I ended up with a due date of Dec. 2, and I had the baby 2 weeks before the end of the semester... baby was born Nov. 29, finals week started Dec. 10.<br><br>
It ended up working out just fine for us - I did talk to all my professors ahead of time and was able to give them a heads-up that I may miss an exam or a final. They were all cool with me making up tests.<br><br>
However... I thought I'd be able to attend most of my classes in the week or two after the baby was born, and that did not work out at all. I made it to THREE classes in the 2 weeks after the baby was born. That was it. I had two professors that sent me take-home exams, bless them, and I worked on those while the baby napped. I took one final during finals week.<br><br>
I worked on finishing as many of my projects as I could before the baby came, and after she arrived, I still had one to complete. I ended up bringing the baby in a sling to the computer lab at school, and parking there for an afternoon - nursing and typing and getting it done.<br><br>
It was hard. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I was so wiped out and tired and disorganized after the baby arrived. Nursing got off to a difficult start, too, so that made it hard to work on school when I was so stressed about every feeding. I was really glad the semester was almost over because I don't know if I could have made it through much more. I am currently taking this semester off. When DD2 was about 2-3 months old, that's when I felt I would be OK going back to school if I had to. But I don't have to yet.<br><br>
I wouldn't let the school schedule affect your TTC, but think about what you'll do when you find out a due date. If the baby is coming early or in the middle of a semester, I would highly recommend taking the semester off. If the baby's coming late, you can maybe make it work out. If baby is coming in the summer, that works out just great!<br><br>
Good luck to you...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
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<div style="font-style:italic;">If the baby is coming early or in the middle of a semester, I would highly recommend taking the semester off. If the baby's coming late, you can maybe make it work out. If baby is coming in the summer, that works out just great! Good luck to you...</div>
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Thanks for your insights. I really appreciate it.<br><br>
I agree that a lot of this should/will be decided when a due date is known. I'm not sure what the school's policy is on maternity leave... I don't know how one goes about getting 'time off' from classes without screwing up funding... but I know I will have to continue teaching somehow. Fortunately, my class only meets twice a week and then only for an hour, and I am sure that with planning I can get quite a bit of it covered.<br><br>
I am glad that if I do get pregnant, I'd be due during the Spring semester<br>
and not having to return after Christmas break or anything. Who knows, maybe I'll have a kid right in the middle of May and have it be perfect!<br><br>
Thanks again.
 

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My last baby was born midsemester, right at the start of spring break. I had pg complications so my classes were all online. If you have to be on campus during this time, I'd recommend taking a lighter semester or taking the semester off. It was very difficult for me to recover from the birth and get my school stuff done at the same time.
 

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I had my first baby when I was finishing an MA five years ago. Being pregnant in grad school is easy... (except for fitting in little desks at 9 months). But having your first newborn is not easy. I finished my MA, but found it was a lot easier to be a working mom than a student mom with kids.<br><br>
Now, 5 years later, with two kids, I just started back. It's my first year of a PhD program and it's a lot harder than I expected. I think people who find it easy to be a grad student with kids either have a lot of support (like a SAH spouse or parents nearby) or are in a very flexible or stress-free academic program.<br><br>
I love having kids and I love going to school, but I don't think I'd ever recommend it to anyone as an ideal time. I was prepared for the changes in my body, but the intellectual and emotional changes were unexpected... when you're holding your baby suddenly all those plans about finishing your dissertation don't seem so important.<br><br>
That said... I'd imagine that the best time to have a baby would be around New Years or the beginning of summer so that you could combine summer vacation with a semester of leave.
 

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Personally, I would strongly recommend waiting until you're done with classes and exams--your life will be much more flexible once you're onto the dissertation stage (if this is how your program works). In any case, ds was born over Dec break, which meant that I had a semester (I got myself the easiest TA assignment that semester, so only had to do grading) plus the summer with ds before I had to go back to teaching/writing. He was 8 months by then and I felt much more comfortable doing daycare at that point.<br><br>
That said, we're going to try to have #2 early next summer, April or May. At this point I can't really afford to take another semester off; my mom may come over from South Africa and take care of the babe.
 

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it depends on so many things - your specific program, the temperament of your baby, etc.<br><br>
i started a m.a. program when i was pregnant with dd, and transferred into a ph.d. program when she was 18 months old (different school). no problem - she was easy from the get go - the type to lie on a blanket and play with toys while i read sitting next to her. later, she loved nothing more than to take out her books, paper, and crayons, and do "work" with me had ds at the end of the spring of my third year in the program. despite having an easy fourth year (bc of transfer credits) - one class in the fall, two in the spring, working 20 hours a week on a grant - it was the hardest year of my entire life. ds was just a demanding kid who didn't sleep. i got through it, including finishing my thesis, passing comps, and getting three chapters of my dissertation written, but it darn near killed me. so many women in my program say that they look up to me, that they don't understand how i'm getting though in time, with two kids, that i make it look easy. it's not by any stretch of the imagination.<br><br>
there is no good or "easy" time, though, if you are looking to go into academia. i agree with pp's suggestions to wait a bit until maybe the dissertation year. i would try to shoot for the end of the spring semester also - ds was born in april, so i missed only two weeks of classes - and had all my work for those classes completed well before his due date. we had the whole summer together - no classes, no grant work (my univ has an 8 wk leave policy which i supplemented with comp time i had accrued on my grant), which was lovely!
 

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I just had a baby 3 months ago, and I'm finishing my Ph.D.. Based on my experience, I would strongly recommend waiting until you're writing your dissertation to have a baby. However, I also understand that when the baby urge hits, it's hard to resist. In any case, because I was writing my dissertation, I could make my own schedule and didn't have to worry about timing quite as much. And, having a dissertation to work on actually saves my sanity because I had to think about something other than just my dd for a little bit. (I wear her while I work - we have a bar in our house where I put my computer and type while she sleeps...in fact, she's sleeping right now and I should be working on my dissertation.) But, I also have the support of dh, who just got his first tenure track job, so financial concerns aren't quite as intense. Check the maternity leave policy in terms of teaching - at my school they gave 6 weeks of paid leave from teaching. I would say that it also depends on your field because it would be a lot more difficult if I needed to consider lab time. (I'm in English.)<br><br>
I spent a long time trying to decide whether it was a good time to have a baby, so I know how stressful it can be just trying to make the decision. Try not to drive yourself crazy about it - whatever happens, you'll find a way to make it work.
 

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No.<br><br>
I work FT and do grad school PT and resent every second of school and would quit but I am very close to the end. The hardest part is the time I take away from my child to do class work.. There simply isn't enough time in the day for me not to do class work during my child's waking hours. She is almost 3 and I have been at this since she was a baby. I would never do this again.<br><br>
Maggie
 

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Hi. I'm in grad school and I'm having a baby in September. This means I won't have funding in the fall, which is a bummer, but I didn't want to say I was going to teach after having a baby right around week three. (If my class met once a week instead of three times a week, I might have considered it, though!) Also, it's forcing me to look into freelance writing, which is awesome. Also, as a dissertator, I don't have to pay tuition, just a tiny enrollment fee.<br><br>
I have to third or whatever the suggestion to wait until you're done with exams or AT LEAST until you're done with classes. When I think back to what it was like when I took classes AND taught, and think about trying to go through pregnancy then, I want to cry. Seriously. Maybe you'll have an easy pregnancy, but you might also be tired and sick. And that's even before the baby comes. I didn't think I was going to make it through this semester because the grading, I just didn't care enough about it to do it. Who can grade papers when there's puking to do, or when there're cloth diapers to ogle online? I'm so excited to think about having nothing in the fall but the baby and my dissertation, even if it means we have so many student loans we'll never be able to buy a house.<br><br>
Oh, but I know what it's like to long for the baby, and to obsessively research whether to go for it, or wait, or what. Good luck to you.
 

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If by any chance you mean "professional school" (like med school or law school) rather than working on a Ph.D. like many of the previous posters have mentioned, I think havving a baby during school is not only manageable, it's far preferable to having a LO in those first few crazy years of 100-hour work weeks.
 

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I feel that is has been both easy and hard to have my kids whilein grad school I had my first dd in the beginning of my program in the middle of March. I wa son bed rest for three months so I missed a majority of the semester. I ended up with two cool profs and one who did not give me an incomplete so I now have an "E" on my transcript. THe second babe was born in early NOvember. I took the semester off since it was alost impossible for me to return to school after dd#1 was born; I had the best of intentions but it is very different ot be pregnant and going to school than to be going with a nb. That being said, I am glad I had the chance to stay home but as a pp said there are just not enough hours in the day to study like one shoud. I was alos a Graduate Assistant. Now I am almost odne wiht my courses (2 more weeks!!!) and I will graduate after I complete my internship in the fall. It was hard but amazing to have kids. Mine are now 25 months and 6 months so they are close together and that is what made it tough...but rewarding...HTH!
 

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Hi<br><br>
I wanted to chip in my bit .. I work FT and have joined a PT MBA. I am very close to finishing my 1st year at school. Since DS 1 is three and we did not want to delay DC2, we decided to add the pregnancy to the current year. I did not think it would be too much of an issue till the birth--But I guess I had it wrong. I just finished my first trimester, and must admit the last 6-7 weeks have been bad. I have been fighting extreme tiredness leaving me with no energy to study. Ofcourse that is reflecting in my performance on the tests at school. But I have decided to be light on my self.<br><br>
My advice would be that it is possible but yes your mind will be more clear to concentrate on just the baby when you are done with school. But are you willing to wait that long? Only you can answer that! Besto with your decision.
 

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I had my baby last June, exactly one month from when I walked. I finished all of my course work before he was born but the last couple of weeks were really hard. I was really distracted and had a hard time focusing on acedmia. All I could think about was the baby. I was supposed to finish my thesis before he was born. Here it is a year later and I'm still working on it.<br><br>
I feel that I was lucky to have him once I was done with my coursework and the semester, however, finishing up my thesis has proved challenging. Maybe it is because he is my first, but it is hard to pull myself away from him to complete it. My profs are all understanding, but at times they do expect me to do some things that once would have been easy, but now are quite unrealistic.
 
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