Is it possible to go to med school and be able to have a family?

Hi Everyone! My name is Bethani and I am new to this site. I am 35 years old and am starting the process to get into med school. I am not married and do not have children which I do hope to have one day. I recently had a conversation with a close friend who was voicing his concern about me being able to have a family and raise children if I decided to pursue this career. I guess I never really thought about it. I just always assumed it would work out somehow. But now he has got me a little worried. Does anyone have any experience with this? or know anyone who has successfully started a family during or after med school?

Am I being unrealisticly positive?

Welcome to OPM.

The answer to your question is an unqualified yes. Many, Many people who both defer medical school and families are able to obtain both later in life. Many, many people on this site will give their testimonials to such. Indeed, there is even a site devoted to this subject One of the first people I met in OPM some 5 years ago, just got accepted to several new york city medical school and had her first child just a bit younger than you.

Now, it it easy? It presents challenges, planning, hard work, good partners, and all the rest. Basically it presents all the issues that a parent always has but even more so.

But don’t take it from me; let the many, many members of OPM who are both proud parents and physicians (or on their way to be) tell there stories.

One of my classmates has five children and works as an ultrasound tech on the weekends. She’s in school on the five-year plan, which means she took first year in two chunks. I wouldn’t say she’s sailing along like it’s nothing, but she’s passing just fine and she’s not dead yet.

I ask myself that question just about every day. When my wife and I learned that we were expecting a child, I postponed medical school and pursued another career. Our son is now a 15 y.o. highschool freshman, and I am applying to medical schools this cycle. I am learning to approach family life in a new way. I can’t be a full-time student while coaching football and serving on the school board, but I still do the cooking, help my boy with his homework, and consult with my wife on her business operations. It is priceless to me that both my spouse and my child are supporting me in so many ways.

Hi Bethani,

My first post on OPM a couple months ago was a similar question! I got some great advice, including a reply from a parent currently in med school.

I am not (yet…) a med student and not (yet…) a parent so I don’t know from my own experience. My old college roommate just finished her residency and just had her first baby, though–the timing worked out really well for her…

Here’s what my partner and I decided on this subject: Life happens. It’s impossible to plan everything so that only one major event happens at a time. (For one thing, you’d run out of time!) If I DO go to med school, and we DO start a family–that’s two wonderful things to be thankful for. And even with a suboptimal schedule, with good support, creativity, and tons of work, we thought we might have as good a chance as anyone of raising a kid well.

Just my two cents–like I said, neither a parent nor a med student at this point so take it for what it’s worth. I’ll be interested to read the responses of more experienced people.

I sure hope it’s possible. I read one post on the SDN forums from a poster who said that he resented his non-trad. student father for not being there more. I’ll be in medical school during my daughter’s formative years and I do worry about how much time I’ll be able to give her.

Thanks everyone who responded. You have all made me feel better about my decision.