Married Life

Get Pregnant in Grad School?

Hey everyone! First post on TN but I'm coming here from TK so I'm not entirely new, just newly married! We just got back from the honeymoon and I'm here to ask the age old question: when is it right to have kids.
I researched it a lot over the past two years and the best idea I heard so far is aim for grad school if you are going. H and I have one more year of undergrad left then he is going for his MA and I am going for my Ph.D. We both work at Walmart right now.
Financially: admitedly we are not very sound right now but H suffered an injury at work a few months back (due to managers negligence, he fell through the drop ceiling about 12 feet) and is pursuing legal action. We are not banking on making money but lawyer is confident that we will settle on a good figure.
Debt wise we are not bad off, mostly school loans.

Pros of grad school baby: teachers are more forgiving and lenient then career employers (if I waited until I got in my job field), I can spend more time with the baby, summers are still open so more time with baby, by the time I graduate baby will be going into preschool so getting a job is much easier (no babysitter)

Cons: (there are always cons) ability to focus on school and baby. I am a really good student so at worst I will be an average student, which I wouldn't mourn over.

Has anyone else done this? What do you think?

Re: Get Pregnant in Grad School?

  • I wouldn't bet on having kids for at least 3 or 4 years, given your recent marital status and student status.

    You and he also probably do not have full health insurance coverage. MalMart is King when it comes to stiffing their employees and keeping them on the poverty line. You and he are probably not full time either -- and if you are, that is not livable wage for ONE person, let alone 2.

    Don't even think of having kids without marriage stability, health insurance coverage and a couple of well paying jobs.
  • I also would NOT count on a settlement of any kind to bolster your nest egg.

    Your H got hurt on the job. Fell through a ceiling? his health problems very well will be ongoing and he'll be need ing lots of medical attention, if that's son.

    No kids also UNTIL the both of you are well in body, also. GL.
    kacalcagnoGilliC
  • I also would NOT count on a settlement of any kind to bolster your nest egg.

    Your H got hurt on the job. Fell through a ceiling? his health problems very well will be ongoing and he'll be need ing lots of medical attention, if that's son.

    No kids also UNTIL the both of you are well in body, also. GL.
  • I wouldn't bet on having kids for at least 3 or 4 years, given your recent marital status and student status.

    You and he also probably do not have full health insurance coverage. MalMart is King when it comes to stiffing their employees and keeping them on the poverty line. You and he are probably not full time either -- and if you are, that is not livable wage for ONE person, let alone 2.

    Don't even think of having kids without marriage stability, health insurance coverage and a couple of well paying jobs.

    He is full time and I am part time. I am going on his full coverage health plan now (I only had partial but as full time he gets full coverage) and in all honesty the pay isn't as bad as everyone says it is. Our Walmart is great for promotions and we get a bonus every three months. I don't think we could find better jobs right now if we wanted to!
  • DaBearsBrideDaBearsBride
    10 Comments 5 Love Its
    member
    edited August 2013

    I also would NOT count on a settlement of any kind to bolster your nest egg.

    Your H got hurt on the job. Fell through a ceiling? his health problems very well will be ongoing and he'll be need ing lots of medical attention, if that's son.

    No kids also UNTIL the both of you are well in body, also. GL.

    He did fall through the ceiling (admitedly it has been almost a year ago, didn't realize that) but he suffered no substantial injuries. He had muscle pain in his back but had been in PT for a while and is doing well now ( thank goodness )
    And we definitely are not counting on the money from settling, I just mentioned it because it could help defray unforseen costs like diapers and bby equipment
  • Yeeeah, I don't know of any grad student who actually had more free time than they did when working a full-time job.  Especially in a PhD program.  Profs are also way less lenient than employers, because grad students don't have the same legal protections that employees do.  Really, I have no idea where you got the idea that any of this was the case at all.
    image
  • Yeeeah, I don't know of any grad student who actually had more free time than they did when working a full-time job.  Especially in a PhD program.  Profs are also way less lenient than employers, because grad students don't have the same legal protections that employees do.  Really, I have no idea where you got the idea that any of this was the case at all.

    I just meant it in the sense that I could take online courses if I felt the need to stay home, I wouldn't jeopardize my career by my employer viewing me differently after baby (I don't care if my school treats me different becauase school is temporary, career is lifelong and while I know there are safeguards are in place against discrimination it will still happen)

    I like the feedback I am getting and am taking it all into consideration. More viewpoints are welcomed!
  • Hm...you need to do your research. Grad students don't get summers off. You either get really really bad pay, or NO pay, because research assistant and teaching assistant positions are finite. That is strongly affected by your field. What is your proposed field? What are the employment prospects when you finish? A post-doc where you get really really bad pay for a few more years?

    Also, grad students are SO MUCH BUSIER than undergrads. Not a little busies, a lot busies. There are much more stringent grade requirements too. In the program I went through you needed a 3.5 to count a class toward your degree and an average GPA of 3.0. If you're already a mediocre student don't expect this to be easier. Expect it to be harder.

    I knew two woman who successfully had kids during grad school. Of all the women I knew in my 6 years getting the PhD, 1 year in a university as a post-doc, and 2 years in a university managing a research project of PhD students and post-docs. 2 women who made it work successfully. 

    If you're serious about this check out the book "Getting What You Came For". It's the best representation of the attitude and commitment required for a PhD, as well as great advice about how to navigate the obstacle course experience.
    DaBearsBride
  • I agree with PPs. IMO, I'd have to be insane to have a baby during grad school! It's usually a really intense workload. What are you going to get your degree in? I mean, what would you do if you had a baby and then realized you couldn't handle the workload and childcare? You'd have to quit school, possibly after already spending a few years at working at your phd. I just don't think it's worth the risk, unless you're worried about your age.
    Anniversary
  • in my opinion its a BAD idea. it sounds like you are young enough that you dont need to rush to have children. I have an MBA. The professors are not easier on anyone- whether it be because of children or a full time job or whatever it may be.  They treat all students the same.  Also there are a lot of group things that go on, do you really think you fellow students are going to be happy that they have to pick up your slack b/c you don't have the time?  It will not go over well. They will not have sympathy.  I don't know where you got the notion that the professor or even other students would.

    what if you do become pregnant while in school and the pregnancy isnt easy- you are sick, you wind up on bed rest? Then what happens to school?

    And a PhD, have you done research on just how hard and time consuming this is? It is your whole life, some people cant even work at all while completing a PhD, let alone raise a baby.

    Both you and your husband want advanced degrees, this is going to put even more financial stress on you. Advanced degrees are more expensive than undergrad.

    Focus on your current degree and complete it. Focus on helping your DH recover from his injury. Focus on your finances and getting to a place you are comfortable with.  Then maybe re-assess where you guys are in your life and talk about starting a family.

    imageimage




  • I don't know when the best time to have a baby is, but the 2 women in my grad program who got pregnant both had to drop out.
  • Finish your degree, get a job, and then think about having kids. So many people go out of order and I've seen lots of girls drop out of college because they got pregnant. Don't take the risk. 

    A baby requires tons of times. You'll also have to pay for a sitter while your in class, which can cost quite a bit.
  • How old are you? Assuming you are traditional undergraduate students, you guys are 21-23ish? There is PLENTY of time for you to have babies after you finish school and get settled in a career. I just finished my first year of grad school, and I am at least 3x busier now than I was in undergrad.

    The cost of diapers and baby equipment (which is not 'unforeseen' in my opinion, as you know if you have a baby you need these things) is going to be a LOT of money -- something that you shouldn't chance not being able to afford if you don't win your lawsuit.

    Also, I think that a baby shouldn't be chosen by a pro/con list. When you and your husband feel ready, when you both feel that you want a child, then start figuring out if logistically it is a good time.
    PrincessVegan
  • DrZoidDrZoid
    10 Comments 5 Love Its
    member
    edited August 2013
    No way would I have a baby in grad school. Grad school is all consuming. Its hard enough to get it all done when you are single, never mind marriage and a baby.

    Also, generic advice is: wait a few years after marriage to have a baby. Make the marriage rock solid and enjoy each other for a while. Make sure your finances are solid too. We're waiting until we are debt free. I know a lot of people don't, but that's the only way I would be comfortable trying to get pregnant.
    image image
  • Yeah, I just finished grad school and actually the whole time during grad school I was thinking "as long as we don't get pregnant before I graduate, I don't care when we have kids."  

    First off, most classes are late at night.  This is usually after you'd have a long day at work.  Do your schedules work out so that you could both cover the care for your kid?  If it doesn't, then you're hiring someone (which sounds like something you likely cannot afford) and if it does, well then you two are never seeing each other. 

    Second, I don't think grad school professors are more sympathetic than employers.  I don't know where you got that notion, but most professors are tougher because it's supposed to be tougher.  A lot less leniency on late papers, missing classes, etc.  Don't bank on that.  Also, don't bank on online classes.  I took two online classes (through DePaul here in Chicago) that were junk.  I didn't learn anything from those two.  Sure, it was nice not having to meet in person, but I did not learn a thing from those classes.  

    Last, you do no sound well financially.  I have student loans and my ideal would be to not have kids until I pay those off.  I would bet that if you have a child during grad school, you will take out more loans, so you can work less and have more time with the baby.  

    Also, ditto that your husband needs to be in better health.  I have a cousin that, through a freak accident, cannot use one of her arms and has had to undergo perpetual surgeries to remedy a possibly unfixable problem - they do have times when they have to find caregivers because she, as the mother, is unable to be alone with the child.  I think you need to wait a while to make sure his problem is completely done - because imagine if he has to have a surgery and is laid up for a few months.  How is that going to work?  

    I don't think it will at all work out to be the little dream you've cooked up in your head.  You're young - wait until your husband is better, wait until you've finished school.  Then you will have nothing BUT the baby to focus on and it will be so much worth it.  
  • Yeeeah, I don't know of any grad student who actually had more free time than they did when working a full-time job.  Especially in a PhD program.  Profs are also way less lenient than employers, because grad students don't have the same legal protections that employees do.  Really, I have no idea where you got the idea that any of this was the case at all.
    I just meant it in the sense that I could take online courses if I felt the need to stay home, I wouldn't jeopardize my career by my employer viewing me differently after baby (I don't care if my school treats me different becauase school is temporary, career is lifelong and while I know there are safeguards are in place against discrimination it will still happen) I like the feedback I am getting and am taking it all into consideration. More viewpoints are welcomed!
    If you're in a PhD program, it matters a LOT how they think of you.  A PhD isn't like a bachelor's - it's not as though you take the classes and pass them, and then they have to give you a degree.  A lot of it is political, based on your committee's opinion of who you are as a student, whether you are ready to be an independent in your field, and whether at the time you defend you are truly the world's foremost expert in the topic of your dissertation (because that is what a PhD means). 

    Honest?  I kind of see you flunking out of grad school, with this kind of attitude.
    image
    DrZoid
  • lopezalonsolopezalonso
    Fourth Anniversary First Comment
    member
    edited August 2013
    I am currently in the 5th year of my PhD program and I recently found out that I am expecting. The baby is due next semester when I'll already be done with classes and am almost done with my data collection for my dissertation. I'll still have to go on maternity leave from my 2 day a week externship (like internships for psych people -- our residency equivalent is called internship and I'll be interviewing for that this Dec-Jan) but I won't have as much to do as I have done in previous years. This is mostly due to the fact that I will finish my course load before the baby gets here. I expect things to still be pretty hectic but more manageable now that I am later into the PhD program.

    I highly recommend that you give yourself time to get acclimated to graduate school. Doctoral programs are super intense... much more than you expect. For me, the first year was very manageable and the second year got twice as hard. Know what you're in for before making this decision. A lot of girls in my program have had children but some have had to postpone a semester or a year because you can't always time things perfectly. For the most part, they also had spouses that were well off and they could afford taking longer to graduate. Give your hubby time to get through school and get a job before moving on to kids. There's a lot to consider like having quality married time for yourselves, finances, the huge demands of grad school, etc. 

    It totally is manageable but in a nutshell, try grad school out for at least a year and reassess. 
  • Be very careful about your expectations for grad school.  As other posters have mentioned, half of the battle towards a PhD. is getting your committee and especially your advisor to trust you to get the work done.  In my program, that often means being on campus 12 hours straight every day (lunch and dinner at my desk), and if you are not seen working about 60 hours a week (either late nights or weekends) you are deemed not good enough.  The girls I know who wanted to have a baby needed to take a semester off school and then rely on the husband to support all three of them, and then getting back into school was really slow going.  They eventually dropped out because it was impossible to balance the committee's expectations of your work day and the baby's needs.
    ReturnOfKuus
  • Hey everyone! First post on TN but I'm coming here from TK so I'm not entirely new, just newly married! We just got back from the honeymoon and I'm here to ask the age old question: when is it right to have kids. I researched it a lot over the past two years and the best idea I heard so far is aim for grad school if you are going. H and I have one more year of undergrad left then he is going for his MA and I am going for my Ph.D. We both work at Walmart right now. Financially: admitedly we are not very sound right now but H suffered an injury at work a few months back (due to managers negligence, he fell through the drop ceiling about 12 feet) and is pursuing legal action. We are not banking on making money but lawyer is confident that we will settle on a good figure. Debt wise we are not bad off, mostly school loans. Pros of grad school baby: teachers are more forgiving and lenient then career employers (if I waited until I got in my job field), I can spend more time with the baby, summers are still open so more time with baby, by the time I graduate baby will be going into preschool so getting a job is much easier (no babysitter) Cons: (there are always cons) ability to focus on school and baby. I am a really good student so at worst I will be an average student, which I wouldn't mourn over. Has anyone else done this? What do you think?
    I totally agree with everyone who said grad school will keep you very very busy. I finished my master's a few months ago, and just recently started a new job. I can tell you that it is such a relief to have so much time in my day back again. I felt like I didn't have a single spare moment when I was in grad school. Even during the summer, because I spent that time taking an extra class and completing an internship that was required for my program. I remember several women in my program who were pregnant...I remember thinking that they looked so stressed, both in terms of time and finances. I definitely didn't want to be them in that situation. But that's me. Everyone's different, I suppose.

    June 29, 2013

  • Hey everyone! First post on TN but I'm coming here from TK so I'm not entirely new, just newly married! We just got back from the honeymoon and I'm here to ask the age old question: when is it right to have kids. I researched it a lot over the past two years and the best idea I heard so far is aim for grad school if you are going. H and I have one more year of undergrad left then he is going for his MA and I am going for my Ph.D. We both work at Walmart right now. Financially: admitedly we are not very sound right now but H suffered an injury at work a few months back (due to managers negligence, he fell through the drop ceiling about 12 feet) and is pursuing legal action. We are not banking on making money but lawyer is confident that we will settle on a good figure. Debt wise we are not bad off, mostly school loans. Pros of grad school baby: teachers are more forgiving and lenient then career employers (if I waited until I got in my job field), I can spend more time with the baby, summers are still open so more time with baby, by the time I graduate baby will be going into preschool so getting a job is much easier (no babysitter) Cons: (there are always cons) ability to focus on school and baby. I am a really good student so at worst I will be an average student, which I wouldn't mourn over. Has anyone else done this? What do you think?
    I totally agree with everyone who said grad school will keep you very very busy. I finished my master's a few months ago, and just recently started a new job. I can tell you that it is such a relief to have so much time in my day back again. I felt like I didn't have a single spare moment when I was in grad school. Even during the summer, because I spent that time taking an extra class and completing an internship that was required for my program. I remember several women in my program who were pregnant...I remember thinking that they looked so stressed, both in terms of time and finances. I definitely didn't want to be them in that situation. But that's me. Everyone's different, I suppose.

    June 29, 2013

  • OP, not sure if you're still reading these, but I thought I'd add my two cents. I did a MA and those were the hardest, most stressful years of my life. You work all the time, there's no vacation or sick days, and you most certainly DO need to care what professors think of you. They can be your best allies or worst enemies. Also, having experiences having one child and currently being pregnant, I can tell you that I would 100% not have finished grad school if I had been pregnant or had kids. Pregnancy is tough and motherhood is tougher. Even if you got childcare during the day, how would you study or do assignments with a baby crying every couple of hours, all evening and night? It wouldn't be fair to your education or your baby, because they'd both be getting half-a$$ed effort. Take your time and do your schooling and parenthood the right way. They both need all the time and energy you have! Good luck!!
  • I am not sure what your field is, but often times graduate school can be even more demanding than a full-time job.  In my field (history) a full-time course load is 3-4 courses a week.  This means reading at least a book (~250-300 pages) a week per class plus doing research/reading for book reviews and end of the semester papers.  I would strongly recommend looking into the workload associated with the programs you are looking into for your degree and see if online courses are even an option.  Where I did my M.A. and now where I am at for a Ph.D. do not accept online courses.  This is specific to my situation, but it is something to consider before applying for a program. 

    Part of this is my personality, but with graduate school I find it difficult sometimes to turn it "off" because there is always something you can or should be working on. Professors also will not necessarily be more lenient.  Again, this is my field, but many look at graduate school (especially if you are in a Ph.D. program) as your "job" and treat it as such.  This is particularly true if you receive funding from the university.  Even if you get full funding and a stipend from the university, these often are only good for the academic year, which means you need to vie for summer TA or RA positions or look for employment elsewhere during the summer months.  I am currently working on my Ph.D. and my husband has one year left of law school.  We are definitely waiting until I have my degree done and have started to pay down some student loans before we think about kids because we do not have the time to care for a child right now and want to be a little more financially secure.  While having a child during graduate school is not impossible, it does slow your progress down which can mean additional tuition, possibly more loans, etc.  Just some things to think about.  Good luck!
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