Saturday, April 26, 2014

MiM Mail: Timing is everything

Dear Mothers in Medicine,

I am not yet a mother or in medicine, but I’m currently trying for both. I guess I was never able to do just one thing at a time. I am 32 years old and I’m applying to medical school this year. My husband I were thrilled when we recently found out I was pregnant. Unfortunately the pregnancy ended at seven weeks. We are recovering and will hopefully be given the green light to start trying again soon. But now timing is an issue. I was hoping to have a baby that would be at least a few months old before starting school. Our chances of achieving that are getting slimmer each month. I could try to time things to have a baby at the end of MS1, but it took us a while to get pregnant the first time and I doubt our ability to conceive on demand. Surprise, surprise, these things are pretty difficult to plan.

My plan for now is to continue trying for both. If I’m lucky enough to have a healthy pregnancy that ends up having a delivery date close to my matriculation date, I suppose I will defer for a year. I wonder what all of you, having experience with both motherhood and medicine, would do in this situation? Would you stop trying for those months that would lead to a delivery around the time medical school would begin? Would you defer? Would you just not worry about it and wait for the perfect storm to occur? Thank you in advance, and thank you for all of your words of wisdom – I’ve been reading for quite a while!



  1. You can't plan these things, as you say. I would not worry about it. If you find yourself in that situation, you'll figure it out.

  2. Honestly if you are ready for a baby I wouldn't worry about timing it. Med school is actually a pretty flexible time to have a baby and most of them are very willing to help new moms by adjusting schedule etc. Good luck!

  3. It would be easier to have a baby in 1st or 2nd year than 3rd year, and if you wait until 4th year you'll just be getting older. Try for the baby and don't worry about the timing. A supportive medical school will work with you!

  4. One of my mentors gave me this pearl of advice - "There is never a perfect time to have children. If you are ready, go for it!"

    We timed our baby. We literally chose a 3 month window and magically fell pregnant in it! My son was born halfway through my pediatric training (our version of residency), after my specialist exams. This is a popular time to have babies in Australia, as senior trainees generally get better access to part-time work, day time jobs etc.

    As it turns out, we husband was transferred across the country during my maternity leave and I am no longer able to get access to part time work. But on the other hand we are now closer to family. Plus I used my maternity leave to re-assess my career preferences and realised I actually want to switch specialties. So our "timing" has not worked out as we expected!

    Moral of the story- have your baby when you are ready. Everything else can work around it :)

  5. I got pregnant during internship. I was at the bitter end and remember admitting an old guy for chest pain at 3 am and doing my H&P...he very sweetly asked when I was due and I barked "yesterday!" It is true there is no perfect time but God always seems to work it out. I think a lot of it also depends on how willing your spouse and family are to support you. My husband stayed at home that year and frequently brought my lil guy to the hospital if I had gone more than 14 or 16 hrs without seeing him.

  6. Go for it! Just know it will be grueling.

  7. I'm not sure where you're hoping to go to school, but many medical schools have online streaming for their first and second year classes, which makes having a baby during the preclinical years easier. Third year is probably not ideal, but I had a classmate who made it work. I had a baby during fourth year, which is the 'easiest.'

    I say go for it if it's what you really want. I'm not sure what your husband does, but childcare will likely be the biggest issue during third year as your schedule isn't very flexible. As someone above said, I think a good support system is key here! Good luck!

  8. Wow! I could have written this post albeit with just a few differences. I know this ost is a little old but the responses here as so helpful. I am 32 ( will turn 33 few months after I start med school in a few weeks). We planned to have a baby before med school. Got pregnant after trying just for two months! Time was working out great, was going to have the baby during the summer and will have my mom and mother-in-law take turn helping when i go to school. I was pregnant during my (late) interviews. Got into a school in my hometown! All was just working great, despite the extreme fatigue and the morning( all day) sickness. Unfortunately, during my 2nd trimester, baby-girl just stopped growing! We were all devastated ( including our 8 year old daughter). Stil recovering, and now we are facing the question again. When is a good time. My OB was all for trying again as soon as we felt emotionally ready. We are leaning toward trying to time a summer M1/M2 delivery! But the obvious question for me is related to the possible risks? associated with gross anatomy lab! Don't have a solution yet, but just wanted to tell you that you are not alone on this journey! I believe that no matter how much planning we put into it what's meant to happen shall happen!


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