Medical school or first kid first?

Hi everyone,

I’m 31, married, had a successful previous career. EDIT: I’m female.

I’m planning to apply to medical school in Europe (raised there and family there): medical school there is 6 years long, as opposed to 4 years.

I’d also like to have 3-5 children.

What do you think?

Should I start popping out babies and apply to med school on the way?

Or have the children first, close together, and then do med school when they are at preschool?

Or go for medical school and then start having children while I am there?

I’d welcome the views of fellow ‘old’ ‘nontrads’ as life experience counts for a lot.

I also understand that ultimately this is a very personal decision but I would still very much welcome your views and experiences.

Thank you!

I’m assuming you’re female from your “popping out babies” thing…

I’m a male. I started school with 1 kid, and we had kid #2 late in my 1st year of school. It has been manageable for me, but it’s because my wife has taken a massive brunt of the child-rearing responsibilities.

A girl in my class had a 3 month old when we started. She had baby #2 over the summer between 1st and 2nd year. She was all about continuing on with the class, but some of our deans (female) sat down with her and convinced her to take a year off to take care of her children.

I guess the bottom line is, the decision rests solely on how well you think you can manage balancing the rigors of medical school with taking care of a baby. A lot of it will be deciding on how you want to raise the child (ie breastfeed vs formula, babysitter vs family member, finances to afford the tools you need to help you out, etc) and what your support network looks like. In reality, it won’t get any easier the more kids you have other than having an idea of how you want to bring up the little ones (but you’ll also have older ones to care for). People before you have done it, so it’s definitely doable whatever course you take.

It’s obviously a very personal decision, but I would suggest starting to have kids now if you want them. It’s never easy raising a child, and while it can certainly be done while in medical school, school will make things more difficult. My kids are 3 and 5, and I think it would have been very difficult being in school with a newborn (especially one who didn’t sleep like my daughter). Plus, in particular with the first kid those first few months are pretty special, and I’m glad I was able to take a lot of time off of work to be home with my wife and newborn daughter.

That said, I have several classmates (both male and female) that have had children during the school year and are making it work. I don’t know about school in Europe, but at least where I am, we have a lot of flexibility during the first two years, so I’m actually at home quite a lot (I only end up actually going to school 1-2 days/week). So that helps make it easier managing things with the family. When we move into clinical rotations next year, things will get a little more difficult in terms of time management.

Thank you both bennard and kennymac for the helpful information and for sharing you experiences.