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Baby before internship / delay internship?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by livingtemple, Jun 30, 2018.

  1. livingtemple

    2+ Year Member

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    Hello all,

    First time poster here. I've scanned the existing pregnancy/baby/parent/FMLA posts but haven't seen anything on the particular situation I'll outline below, so would be grateful for ANY experience or advice.

    I'm in my mid-30s and will begin my advanced prac this August, applying to internship this upcoming fall. Husband and I are hoping to conceive soon and have our second child in early spring next year, which would put us with a newborn about 3 months before the start of internship. If I were in my 20s I'd just wait, but I'm not. We'd like to expand our family and hope to avoid major infertility issues.

    I'm wondering if anyone can speak to the experience of having a newborn at the start of internship. I'm mostly looking at academic med centers, hospitals, and think I am aiming for pediatric neuro (both my 1st and 3rd practica are highly-regarded pediatric neuro sites). I've had a newborn before :) so understand how it goes generally, obviously. But those who've interned at these kind of sites with a newborn -- can you give me a sense of what it was like?

    Relatedly, is there such a thing as delaying internship a month or two? Is this even a thing? I hope this isn't a ridiculous question, but if I could have my ideal scenario, starting internship in September instead of July, with a baby who is 6 months instead of 3 months, feels so much more doable.

    Thanks.
     
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  3. DynamicDidactic

    DynamicDidactic Ass of Prof
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    For licensure you need to be at internship for 50 weeks in a year. Since internships are structured to take a new incoming class annually and often have not very flexible budgetary obligations, it can be difficult to rework a single persons timeline, plus it interferes with your typical timeline for postdoc applications. Having said all that, I've known a few people that had a kid during internship. However, all had a kid during internship and not at the start. I think you'll have better luck working out a system if you timed the birth to be mid to late in your internship rather than at the start.
     
  4. temppsych123

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    My understanding is that start of internships tend not to be super flexible, but there are definitely internships that are already structured to start June 1, July 1, August 1, and September 1, so, if other things like training considerations were equal, you could weight your rankings to prefer places with later starts.

    I would imagine general family-friendliness considerations might give you a clue as to sites that are better fits, and current interns at sites where you interview might be able to answer those (for example, availability of rooms for pumping and/or refrigerators for storage at rotation locations).

    Might also be worth considering the overall structured-ness (for lack of a better word) of the internship. For example, I know of some sites that count on interns to make a certain number of billable hours per week, and so the expectation is that you arrive ready to go and you get a full caseload pretty much immediately upon starting, and are then expected to see X many people a week, accounting for no-shows, etc. At other sites (and/or rotations within sites), interns are more of a "bonus," so it's less critical that every intern be physically present from 9AM sharp to 5PM sharp every day, which might make life a bit easier during that early transition time! For example, I worked on a rotation where the IOP program was structured in such a way that I had my face-to-face hours in the afternoons, and I could either use the morning time before IOP to prep and write up notes from the last day of program, or I could do notes right after group (into the early evening) and then prep for the next group the night before, meaning I didn't have to be physically in the office as early (basically shifting around the workload to accommodate my preferred schedule, with approval of my supervisors).

    Anyway, just things to consider! Good luck, OP!
     
  5. Justanothergrad

    Justanothergrad Counseling Psychologist
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    I've seen some flex for this. My internship regularly ends up adjusting tour for this sort of life needs
     
  6. psychRA

    psychRA Psychologist
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    My sense is that internship is probably the least ideal time to have a baby. Even the less structured programs are fairly structured, there will be certain benchmarks to be met and training boxes to be checked, and you'll be going through it with a cohort so it will be tricky to alter the training timeline for just one person.

    With that being said, there is no "good" time to have a baby during your training, or even during your career. And since biology is inherently unfair in this case, women in psychology (and every other field) who want to get pregnant are burdened disproportionately by the challenges of balancing training and pregnancy, while men are not. Many of my colleagues found that it was trickier than anticipated to time their pregnancies - not everyone conceives right away, and often it's just not possible to plan things perfectly. Women do not have an indefinite window of time in which to conceive, and I don't think anyone should have to sacrifice their window for the sake of a training program.
     
  7. singasongofjoy

    Psychologist 2+ Year Member

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    Idk I think my internship would have been an ideal time to have a baby- not at the beginning, but later in the year. They did not bill for any intern services and supervisors were available (if mayb watching from their offices) for sessions so it didn’t crimp the number of patients seen when interns were out for babies/ illness / etc. It was a very family - and female- supportive environment despite being in an AMC. Wasn’t uncommon for interns to extend for various legit reasons. So probably depends highly on where the internship is and how it is structured. Definitely have also seen many colleagues tha they can plan the timing and then it doesn’t work out that way at all, so- there isn’t an ideal time, so I recommend not putting much thought into trying g to time it according to external factors as long as you’re financially stable enough to be able to swing having a baby.
     
  8. CompleteUnknown

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    I would keep an eye out for the vacation and sick days afforded by different sites. This information should be available on the APPIC database pages, and if not I'm sure you can message the DOT to ask about the benefits (including time off) included with the internship position.
     
  9. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
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    I would not count on a site's flexibility for a late start date; most sites can't do this for a number of reasons. More importantly, if your timeline for expanding your family is not flexible, I encourage you to be flexible in other respects to avoid boxing yourself into what may not be an ideal training scenario.

    My advice is to try to stagger work schedules with your husband and line up high quality child care for the rest. Think about the transition from the baby's perspective. I started internship with a 7-month-old, but in hindsight I think it would have been an easier transition for a 3-month-old baby. A 3-month-old is much more likely to readily accept a new caregiver, whereas by 6 or 7 months many babies are starting to develop some stranger anxiety. I found this to be true with my second baby, who took very easily to day care at 12 weeks.
     
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  10. CA_PsyD_FL_LMHC

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    I would think that mid-internship would also be a better consideration than beginning simply because of the inflexibility of some early training site requirements, as well as cohort cohesion concerns. Obviously goodness-of-fit would remove placements that are/would be intolerant of these considerations, but only if you are transparent about your plans.
     

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