Is graduate school a good time to try for a baby? Some people say yes, others say no, but this article will help you decide. Of course, it all depends on your personal situation and how much the university accommodates parental leave, but don’t be surprised if you are downright shocked by the answers to these questions. Read on to find out what’s best for you and your graduate school career!
Graduate school can often seem overwhelming at times, especially in the realm of professional skills development. New projects, new techniques, new opportunities – it all sounds so exciting, but there’s only so much time in the day. When you’re already working full-time on many other aspects of your graduate education , how can you fit in the necessary things to get pregnant and/or raise a child?
Many people claim that graduate school is the best time to have a baby. You’ll have less distractions from family life and more time for yourself and your spouse. Also, you’ll have more money while you’re in school; and even if your tuition waiver isn’t enough to support a big family, it will be there for food and medical bills, at least.
Then again, other people point out that this is NOT a good time to have a baby. You should wait until graduate school is over, because your job opportunities may be limited if you have children and go back to school. They say that having a baby will make it more difficult for you to concentrate on school work.
How to Balance Grad School and Child bearing:
1. Decide whether you want to have a baby now or later.
If your field is hands-on and you feel like you are going to have a lot of experience doing it, then this might be a good time to have a baby. If your field is mostly in the realm of theory and you’ll be working with computers, then it might not be such a good idea. Of course, if it’s your dream job, then go for it!
2. Do some research into the needs of your field.
If you’re getting a PhD in physics, it’s probably not a good time to have a baby. If you are getting an MBA, it’s probably okay.
3. Discuss the matter with your spouse.
Your spouse needs to be on board with this decision, and this is not something to take lightly, so do some research together and discuss what you want to do. Make sure you agree about it, and then work out the details together.
4. Find out how much time your school will give you for leave.
At some schools, this is one of the more important considerations. Some may give you full-time maternity leave after six months on the job and another six months to a year later. Others may only give a certain amount of time for maternity leave, sometimes only four weeks per year or five total for the duration of your degree (so two years).
Others may not offer any leave at all. It’s important to find out from your graduate school what kind of leave policy it will have for you and determine if you do or don’t want to get pregnant and have the baby during the school year.
5. Find out if your university has a program for lowering your stress levels because of having a baby.
Some universities have programs in place to help students with balancing their full-time professional life as well as their family life, especially when they are both children of graduate students (i.e., their spouses). These programs may include special courses, specialized loan funds, job offers or scholarships, and/or other special privileges.
If you are getting a PhD or an MBA at your university, do some research to see what kind of support your university has in place for graduate students with children.
6. Start to take a look around at graduate schools in your area that may be suitable for you.
See if they have received any awards for their services to students in the field of family studies, and also find out what kind of support they may offer you. If you aren’t sure where to look, try asking your school or your advisor if they know anything about it.
7. Talk to others who have gone through this before you.
Your department may have a list of students who have gone through this already. The American Association of University Women is a great resource for this kind of information, as well as the fact that they have been doing extensive research on child care services at universities. Once you are done with all these steps and decide you want to go ahead and get pregnant now, try getting your spouse on board with it, too.