Children and Med School

Looking for advice from those of you with children. I was planning on applying to med school for admissions in Fall 2004, but I am thinking of applying for Fall 2005 so I can apply for schools at the same time my fiance is applying for post-docs. Right now, I am getting a masters degree at the same place that he is getting his PhD. Originally, I was going to do a two-year masters, but I have funding for three years, so I could continue my masters until I start med school.
I am also thinking of waiting to start because I would like to have children - it seems really difficult to have children during medical school or residency. If I postponed applying and I had a baby before I entered medical school, I could spend quality time with my baby and would have a flexible schedule and money without having to work. I am very committed to going to med school - however, some of my family believes that once I have a child, I will lose my ambition to go to medical school…They think I should wait until I enter medical school or finish before I have kids. I'm a little worried about how old I'll be after I finish too. What do you think?

Hi! It seems to me that having kids before med school or early in the process may be easier than waiting until late school or residency. I’m applying to med school this year and have 3 school-age kids. The physical demands of being on call plus the demands of a normal pregnancy and infant sound like a tough combination.
To be honest, though, having children throws in a whole new set of variables and you may have to make adjustments to your timeline if you have kids before school. I say this because having kids has slowed my progress as a post bacc. But then, I wouldn’t trade them for the world!
There will always be naysayers. That seems especially true in the premed/medical realm. People often don’t understand why we would even want to do this! So do what works for you and your husband and don’t let the turkeys get you down! biggrin.gif
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It will not be easy to have children while in med school or in your residency, esp since you will be the one bearing the children. However, it can be done…I have known of many many female residents with children from both their residency years and med school days…and from before med school. Success is all about having a willing and supportive partner who can & will take up the slack when you need them to do so…or to be independently wealthy so that you can afford a live-in nanny.
My wife & I chose to wait until my senior year to reproduce. The first three years would have been way to time consuming for me to be an adequate father – I adamantly refuse to be a father in absentia!!! The 4th year, esp the second half, is a cake-walk academically – but there can be extensive travel associated with interview season: late-Oct thru early-Feb.
All residencies must comply with the Fam Med Leave laws and they all, from what I have seen include, paid maternity leave. However, be aware that taking more than the allowable time off from your residency will likely mandate that you extend your training by the amount of time that you miss. The programs do not set this. The amount of allowable time off is determined by the RRCs (Residency Regulatory Committees)…these folks delineate all of the requirements for accreditation of each residency type.
Med schools may vary in their policies and complaince with FML. Since you are a student & not an employee, they are not required to comply with the FML laws. I would be careful about these policies from the admissions people. Even though it is not legal to do so, the knowledge that you are planning to have a family whilst a student in their program may color their perception of you & your application. For many programs, this will not be a problem. But, I suspect that it could be a problem at some institutions – so, I would be cautious in who & how I approached obtaining this info. Furthermore, you can look at this way…if a program is going to be so crass as to discount you for having a child, then it is less likely to be receptive to nontraditional candidates and likely to not be place where you'd feel warm, fuzzy & accepted.
If you are not an active applicant, you could always make an inquiry now, prior to ever applying. This way there is no chance that this info could be included in your app profile.

Thanks for the replies. My partner and I feel ready to have children now, but I am 25 and my biological clock could wait a little while. I've been feeling some pressure from family members to wait until I am in medical school to have children. On the other hand, I'm not sure if I can be a good mother and a good medical student at the same time. My partner is willing to take up the slack, but I'm sure I will feel guilty about not being around my kids as much as I would like.
Anyway, it is great knowing that there are others out there with children who are pre-meds and medical students. Thanks!

I know someone who had TWO kids in medical school - one timed to arrive near the end of first year (so that she could then enjoy the baby all summer), the other arrived at the end of her third year - also a good time, as the fourth year schedule can be made pretty flexible in most places.
Everyone comes up with ways to handle it - and you won't know til you're in the situation what will work for you. Keep an open mind about things like taking a year off, for example - don't assume that you'll do things one way or another, and you'll be fine.