Monday, December 7, 2015

MiM Mail: Am I crazy?

I am a 31-year-old, hospital-based speech therapist in TX who will apply to medical school in 2016. As a newlywed several years ago, we found out my husband is gene-positive for Huntington's disease. Obviously it's a devastating diagnosis, but, fortunately, no one in his family has shown any symptoms prior to age 65.

I have always wanted to be a physician and my husband has been incredibly encouraging of my dream. We completed preimplantation genetic diagnosis with IVF and have 4 healthy embryos.

Now I/we have been hyper-analyzing when to implant. I've thought about everything from this January to M4. If we shoot for Jan/Feb/March, I could have nearly a year with my little one before med school starts. But I could look pregnant during my interview. Should I wait to ensure acceptance? Am I crazy to consider pregnancy now?

I would love your opinions!



  1. I'm not a doctor, but in your situation I would not delay pregnancy because of worries about looking pregnant in an interview.

  2. This was me last year and I chose to be pregnant and deliver #2 before MS1. Two things - being pregnant during interviews for me was not a problem. I did quite a few interviews at varying stages of pregnancy. My last interview was in late March and I was 6 months along, but no one seemed to notice or at least didn't ask me about it. I wouldn't let fear of looking pregnant stop you. I would think most people would be relieved that your child would be older when you start school versus having a child during first or second year. The travel part was not the most convenient and also modifying my suits to fit was a little challenging, but in hindsight it really wasn't that big of a deal. Granted, I had a normal uneventful pregnancy, so keeping in mind that pregnancies can be variable and thus to be cognizant that the unplanned can occur. The other thing I wanted to mention was that becoming a parent and starting med school are two very big life changes. The more time you have to figure one out and then tackle the other, the better. I felt I had the parenting thing down since I have a 4 year old. I couldn't imagine learning how to be a parent and adjusting to med school life at the same time.

  3. I also would not put off pregnancy. If a program has an issue with you because of the pregnancy, they likely also will not be the most supportive of your family when you're in the trenches working so hard.

  4. I am an MS3 with a 4 year old. Before med school, I thought that maybe I'd want to try for #2 during 4th year but now that I'm to that time where I would need to think about becoming pregnant, it's seriously the last thing I want to do. I just want to finish medical school and then maybe consider it in residency...or not. This schooling stuff is exhausting! :)

    I have classmates who have gotten pregnant during medical school, one who I know is taking a year off school to be with the baby. And I know people who had babies in 4th year and it worked out for them. So having babies in medical school is certainly possible. I will say that I spent 2 years with my son before medical school and am thankful for that time.
    My personal opinion is to just do it now but really, no matter what you decide, you can make it work.

    Also, I talked to a resident once who was pregnant for her interviews to residency and she made the point that if the program isn't friendly to her having a family, then it's not the right program for her. I think it's good advice and can be carried over to medical school. You will find schools that are very friendly (mine is and you can see parents in all years of training and the administration helps us connect with interviewees with children) and there are others that are not, so it's better to be able to ask and get guidance and find you match because it will make life better. Best of luck to you!

  5. Go for it now. I am also an MS3 with a 4 year old and am glad I did it this way.

  6. I will elaborate. There is no better time than BEFORE medical school. I started with a 10 month old (expanded for my own medical reasons). That was ideal (starting with a 10 month old, that is). And it really helps to go through all of medical school with a kid. As I look at decisions about what I might want to do as far as specialty, I have a sense of what reality with a kid is. And the first two years of medical school (for me, anyway) were quite flexible. We were able to watch video recording of lectures from home, if we chose. I actually went to class quite a bit … but the flexibility for a childhood illness or lost night of sleep was awesome. … It was absolutely easier than if I had had a child while working full-time. Things are more complicated now, as an MS3 … but I have the benefit of an older child who (mostly) sleeps and who has some resilience. And I knew this was coming and was prepared. You don't know what to prepare for before you have a child. This is just so much better! I can't imagine having gone through what I did in my pregnancy and delivery and early postpartum period while in school! … People do it, but avoid it if you can. (Might be easier with a second child, or so I tell myself).

  7. Oh - and there is no discrimination against pregnant med students that I have ever heard of. Quite possibly for residency interviews (though I may well interview pregnant). But it would be rare in med school and as others have said, those places are to be avoided anyway. I was pumping on the interview trail so I had to be very open about my schedule. Schools were very accommodating and I got in to 5 of the 7 places I interviewed at, wait listed at 1 (rejected from 1). I hardly think those stats reflect a bias against a nursing new mom.


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