It's no secret that getting yourself through medical school can be like attending boot camp. There are huge demands on your time for studying and residency hours, not to mention the costs involved. Though coping with all of this might be tough enough, what if you also added pregnancy to the mix? Is it possible to continue with your medical education and be a new mom?
There is No Best Time to Get Pregnant
Most young couples practice family planning while they are embarking on their new careers. Sometimes, however, things don't go as planned, such as a pregnancy during the middle of medical school. While there is no right or wrong time to have a child, the realities of impending motherhood while you are still trudging through medical school can be nerve-racking.
Future decisions for your child and your family will have to be made, not to mention handling the day-to-day pregnancy issues such as morning sickness while sticking to your schedule. Where does a new mom-to-be begin?
1) Don't panic.
While this is going to be tough, it's not unmanageable. Stress can not only affect you negatively, but it's also not great for your unborn child. With careful planning, you're going to be just fine.
2) Start scheduling…everything.
Take a look at your schedule and start planning out your days, scheduling everything from sleep to studying. Make your family, colleagues, and educators aware of your new routine and ask for their help, if need be.
You will also want to ensure that you have the appropriate downtime scheduled during the last month of your pregnancy for the birth.
3) Make a budget.
Between medical school and a baby, it's hard to know which one is more expensive. In order to continue along with your education and career, you'll need to make a budget.
Sit down and calculate all of your current outgoing expenses, and how that balances with your upcoming new baby. Knowing the numbers will help you make future choices as it comes to your profession.
4) Part-time or full time?
Though you may have had your heart set on graduating by a certain date, balancing that and a baby may not make it possible. Though it's a tough decision to come to, dropping down to part-time status maybe your best option for your baby's first year.
Think about the time commitments of both motherhood and your career, and write a list of pros and cons to help yourself come to the decision that's right for you.
I didn't go to medical school but I did go to college pregnant. Online classes were my friend. If your school offers any of these – take them!
5) Choose your path.
Some new moms decide to keep their career in medicine but elect to go down a different career path so they're more available for their children. For example, becoming a family doctor or entering into psychiatry might offer a schedule more conducive to family life than being a surgeon. Take some time to look at all your options and decide where your calling lies.
Also remember, being a new mom might open you up to new benefits too, like applying for scholarships. These might be something to consider when choosing your final career path as well.
6) Ask for help
You have a lot on your plate, no doubt, and there may come times when you fall behind. There is no harm in getting some tutoring to keep you up to speed.
Medical school is certainly no picnic, and coupling that with a new baby on the way can seem close to impossible. However, new moms that take the time to plan and schedule themselves for their new arrival can do both. There is no best time to get pregnant, after all. While it may mean a little less sleep and a little more work, the outcome is sure to be great!