Last week, Red Humor mentioned Dr. Sibert's blog post about how you shouldn't have a baby during residency. Is anyone else getting the feeling that Dr. Sibert is just trying to make people angry at this point?
Anyway, I was going to write a post going through several domains (pumping, maternity leave, pregnancy, etc.) and decide which was easier: doing it as an attending or doing it as a residency.
But I'll save some time for both of us. Attending wins all around. To the point where I got mad at myself for not having waited the first time around. Of course, everything is easier the second time around because you know what to expect. And I happened to have an easier second child than first child and a flexible job.
That said, I think having a baby during residency was a good experience in many ways and I obviously do not regret it. So in the interest of being positive, I present to you.....
Reasons to have a kid during residency instead of waiting:
1) Because apparently, it isn't so great to have kids after age 40. And yes, you may finish residency before you're 40, so maybe that argument doesn't hold water. Except say you're 25, which was the average age of matriculating students at my med school. You go through med school and four years of residency. Now you're 33. And because you're already in your 30s, it takes you a little longer to get pregnant, so you get pregnant at 34, first baby born age 35 (now advanced maternal age). And you want three kids. I won't do the math, but you can see how you're creeping into the 40s territory, when there's a higher risk of complications, birth defects, and infertility. (I could go on about this. I won't. But I could.)
2) It's unlikely when you get out in the real world that you will have like 20 people to share coverage for your leave. Coverage is much harder to come by in the real world.
3) If you're gonna have preggo brain or "milk brain" (it's real!), is it better to have it when you've got an attending looking over your shoulder or when it's your first year in real practice?
4) Everyone talks about "getting the career stuff out of the way" before having kids. Because you want to enjoy your kids. But how about enjoying your career? The second you get out in the real world and start building your career, do you want it broken up by maternity leaves and sleepless nights?
5) Gives you a great excuse to hightail it when attending comes up with a really stupid reason why they want you to stay.
6) Helps you to grow up and gain maturity and perspective, which, let's face it, a lot of residents really need.
7) It makes residency (which can be horrible) more tolerable.
8) Being a parent gives you a way to relate to attendings. And while some of them might give you smack for taking a maternity leave, I felt like I got a lot more respect for being a mom.
9) Because what else are you going to put a picture of at the end of your powerpoint lecture? Your cat??
10) Dr. Sibert herself had a baby prior to residency and thinks that was A-OK. So what's the hard part then? Being pregnant? Arranging maternity leave? Dr. Sibert says yes, but I say no! The hard part is having a freaking child to take care of. Is having a baby as a med student better than doing it as a PGY2 like I did? I'd again say NO. I got through my whole internship without having to worry about my kid missing me. Isn't that the hardest part??
11) In many fields, being an attending can be harder than being a resident. Especially if you do as Dr. Sibert suggests and don't work parttime.
12) Similar to one reason why women have kids close together in age: you're already sleeping badly, so why not?
13) I'm in my early thirties and I think I'm done! I never have to go through pregnancy and childbirth again! It's so liberating. (Sometimes depressing. But also liberating!)
So there you go. 13 great reasons to have a baby in residency. But ultimately, as we know, it's a very personal decision and you shouldn't let some idiot on a blog tell you what to do with your life.