Pre-med and medical student Mamas--are you out there?


I’m looking for some input from the mamas out there who are premed or in medical school (student or residents alike).

I’m in my early 30s, working as a FNP at a great clinic and desire to go to medical school. My children are 6 months and 3 years, and I have about 2 years of pre-reqs + MCAT b4 I can apply. My old fear about going to medical school was all the time it was going to take to do the pre-reqs, study for the MCAT, etc, etc. These days I’m more afraid that I’m going to mess my children up and completely miss out on crucial aspects of their upbringing if I decide to go through this process of preparing and going to medical school.

I’ve done some searches on the forums, and haven’t found much out there. Perhaps I’m looking in the wrong spots? I’ve seen some posts by the papas too, but I’m wanting the mama feedback as this is a different relationship with the children.



I’M HERE! I’M HERE! I can totally empathize with what you’re thinking and feeling in regard to pursuing medical school. I’m 34 and have a 16 month old. (I also want another child, but that’s a whole other can of worms).

I’m working on pre-reqs now and have 2 semesters after this one, the MCAT and then Apps. I’ll tell you that the decision wasn’t easy. Even now I feel some guilt leaving my son in someone else’s care for most of the day while I’m away at school and my husband is working. I try to alleviate some of those feelings by reminding myself that in the end, this truly is the right decision for us all. I’m happier woman, mommy and wife because I have finally decided to put myself on this path. Everyone knows that when mama’s happy, everyone is happy.

Also, yes, I will miss out on some things and that is sad. There is nothing I can do about that part except make the very most of the time we do spend together. Quality time is very different from quantity time.

And finally, I hope the fact that I decided to go after my dream (even if I fail) serves as an inspiration to my son when he is old enough to understand. I want him to know that I did everything in my power to do to make it happen…and that he can do that too.

I hope this is helpful. Always here if you need an ear…or an earful. haha.

Ditto the above sentiments. Tried taking three classes this quarter. Extremely bad idea. I can handle two successfully. Not three! Everything suffers at three. So, I was telling my OPM friend Maddux that I was slowing it down, wayyyy down. Stress has gone way down and I will still make my goal. Just adds another year to it. Oh well. I am thrilled that I can transfer in Fall 2011 to the big University.

PS I have said this before…I have three kids aged 3 yoa and 22 month old twins. I am a flight attendant and I fly two to three days a week so that our family has health insurance and we need the money!

Hey, there, I’m another pre-med mama. I’m finished with my pre-reqs and signed up for the MCAT in April. After that, I’m all ready to apply this next cycle! Its been a long road. I went back to school when my son was 3 months old, taking two classes/semester at night so that I could be home with him during the day. My husband is a teacher so he is off during the summer. I took full loads during the summer, to hurry along my progress, and he would stay home with our son.

Last semester, my son started day care and I attempted to go full time during the day. However, that plan was quickly put to rest by a series of mishaps that caused me to miss about two weeks of classes in September. Then, I found out that I was pregnant with baby #2, and endured extreme morning sickness for the remainder of the semester. Morning sickness + organic chem II = very bad mornings. Eventually, I dropped my two easiest classes, kept my two hardest, and did reasonably well.

So, the main problem with being a pre-med mama is that unpredictable thing happen. When you have kids, the chances of unpredictable events goes up exponentially. Going to school during the day was great because I felt like a ‘real’ student, but when my son would get sick, I would have to keep him home from day care and miss class if I didn’t have any back-up that day. So, it can be hard.

However, for me, it has provided a great balance to mommy-hood. I was able to love school and love being with my son because I never felt like I was giving anything up (I know this will change). When I was at class in the evenings, my husband had the opportunity to spend solo time with our son. As a result, he is a confident daddy who has his own routines and methods for taking care of our son.

But, I have glossed over the sacrifices. My husband was also pursuing his master’s at the same time. So, we were paying for school, with some financial aid for him and none for me (as a post-bac). We drive cheap cars that have certain ‘work-arounds’ in order to run. We live with his parents so that we can afford all this. We do not go on vacation or out for dinner very often. We live a different sort of life so that we can get to where we want to go. But, our sacrifices seem so small now as my husband graduates in June and I’m applying this next cycle. We are almost there. We do not have a tremendous amount of debt. I have help with my son when I need an hour to study or shadow a doc or volunteer or do all of the other things pre-meds have to do. Without living with his parents, this whole thing would have been so much more difficult. But, here we are, almost to the next step for me, which will likely include moving to another state.

So, good luck. My biggest piece of advice would be to build a flexible life for yourself with the support of family and your spouse. Flexibility is key. Find a balance between being a mother, a wife, and a student so that you can focus on studying without feeling like someone/something is getting neglected. Most of all, enjoy the ride. I can’t speak for the med school part, but the pre-med part can be pretty demanding, but its completely doable.


Here is the brutal, unvarnished truth: So-called “quality” time will never, ever make up for “quantity” time.

That does not mean you should/shouldn’t go to medical school. It simply means you need to count the cost before you commit yourself. My oldest is 17, and I have spent most of his life working away from home for 8-15 hours per day. I have often looked at my wife enviously because of the time she spends with our babies. They grow up with her, while I often seem to be just the guy that comes to spend the night.

Of course, my wife sacrificed her PhD training and lucrative career to stay home with our children. It wasn’t free for her, either. And being home with (and homeschooling) five children does not make for a stress-free life. She is very glad for her choices in that regard, and if she were to do it again, she would do the same thing – but let’s not pretend it came without cost.

With or without you, your babies will grow up. If you’re with them, you get to teach them how to think and how to deal with life’s challenges in a very hands-on, intimate way. You WILL give up much of that (perhaps not all) by going to medical school. But maybe your husband can pick up the slack there; the fact that my wife was with our children made me feel better about my own long work hours.

Despite how this message may sound, I am not trying to discourage you. On the contrary, I am trying to inform you so that you make your decisions with your eyes wide open. Yes, you absolutely will sacrifice time with your children while they’re growing up if you go to medical school. But that doesn’t mean going to med school is necessarily the wrong choice. Maybe it’s the best thing to do, considering you obviously have interest in it. Ultimately, you and your husband are going to have to make that call. Weigh the cost to yourself and your family, then do what’s best for all involved.

[clink, clank] <-- $0.02

Thanks everyone. I really appreciate all the thoughtful posts here. It has really given me some food for thought.



It can be done - not always easily, but we make it work. I am now am M1 (in my 30’s) with a 3 year old. It has been tough, but I have not regretted it thus far. There have been times when I questioned the decision, but mostly at crunch time before exams when the stress hits hard. My husband has had to pick up a lot of the slack that he never worried about before - housekeeping and cooking,picking up from daycare, etc. That allows me to spend some time mostly everyday with him and our child.

It can be done. When I started thinking about it I took it slow, it had been a long time since I had been in the classroom. I signed up for a class to see if I could still pass a test. I liked it and kept going.

Now here I am. Good luck with your decision.