can we have another discussion on timing of pregnancy plus is it really doable?

bailey728

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Hello all~

I'm new to the board and have really enjoyed reading the posts here, particularly in the non-traditional forum. I am looking for some advice and thought some of you might be able to help. To give you some background on myself....

I am 31. After many years in health-related jobs, considering vet school all the while, I have decided that I'd like to pursue vet medicine. I am currently working on pre-reqs and plan to apply to school either in 2007 or 2008, which means if accepted I would start school in either 2008 or 2009.

Of course this decision has come at a time when my husband and I are trying to also figure out when to have children. I have some questions / concerns about timing pregnancy that have been touched on in previous threads but I couldn't get a satisfactory answer from them since they focused mainly on residencies, and I wanted to raise the question again for some advice.

Many of the posts I've read say that no time is the perfect time so just jump in and do it. They all seem to say that if you really work at it, you can handle both school and pregnancy/early child care. However, I am terrified of starting school, getting pregnant and then realizing that I cannot handle both school and an infant. I've read many books and talked to many people about having children and keep hearing that caring for a newborn is unbelievably exhausting mentally and physically to the point that even if home and not working a woman barely has enough energy to take a shower. If this is true for most women, how in the world could you throw schooling into the equation?

Aside from this concern (which I'm assuming is most relevant when the baby is very young and everyone is adjusting to each other), I am concerned about juggling everything time-wise and money-wise. Time-wise I am concerned about being in school for many many hours a day, then having to study, adding clinical hours into the mix when those rotations start. I am concerned I wouldn't have enough time for my child; that my husband would start resenting me (we have discussed all this and he is being very supportive especially since he has been urging me to go back to school, but experience is different from talking about something); that we would shift as so many couple seem to do unconsciously and unwillingly into gender stereotypes and that even though I would be the one with less time that I would be expected to take on the majority of child care.

My husband works full-time, and we would not have much family support in terms of babysitting because all of our parents still work full-time too. So I am concerned about finances, because I would need to quit my job to go back to school full-time. So we would be stretching one paycheck to cover all of our expenses, which would include day care.

I still have at least 2 years before going back to school and part of me thinks it would be better to have a child now and start school when he/she is 1-2 years old. But I'm not quite ready to have a child right now and I don't want to rush having children to squeeze it into other plans. On the other hand, I don't want to put off having kids until I'm in school and then think "what have I done??" timing-wise.

I am at a point in my life when I don't want to give up one for the other, but I am finding myself alternately thinking "I can do both, I just have to work very hard", and feeling disillusioned and disappointed wondering if it's really possible without a super-human amount of resilience and energy. I'm also feeling rather bitter at myself for having taken so long to realize I want to both go back to school and think about having kids. Seems like life would be much easier if either (1) we had kids who were already in school when I start back to school myself, or (2) I was younger so I could delay having children until I finished school. I know I can't dwell on this because it can't be helped, but I'm finding myself seriously wondering if I can handle both at the same time.

Does anyone have any constructive thoughts or advice they can share? Or maybe just some encouragement?

Thanks to anyone who read my long post! Sorry if it was disjointed and rambling. :rolleyes:
 

rianah

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You can expect med school (or anything else if you want to succeed in it) to be hard work. I am in the same boat as you but I am pushing ahead with both. It will be 2-3 yrs. before i start med school but hopefully i will manage to have a kid by then. I don't expect it to be easy but I am used to working hard (I did my M.S while working FT as an engineer (not an easy laid back job). So, a lot depends on your personality. If you are willing to make it work, you will. I truly think the choices we make in life are very much individual. There is no one clearcut answer. Like some one else on this forum always says - if you want something badly enough, you will get it.

I advise you against putting off the baby thing if you really want kids though, it gets harder for women as we age. (not in a physical sense but bilogically)

bailey728 said:
Hello all~

I'm new to the board and have really enjoyed reading the posts here, particularly in the non-traditional forum. I am looking for some advice and thought some of you might be able to help. To give you some background on myself....

I am 31. After many years in health-related jobs, considering vet school all the while, I have decided that I'd like to pursue vet medicine. I am currently working on pre-reqs and plan to apply to school either in 2007 or 2008, which means if accepted I would start school in either 2008 or 2009.

Of course this decision has come at a time when my husband and I are trying to also figure out when to have children. I have some questions / concerns about timing pregnancy that have been touched on in previous threads but I couldn't get a satisfactory answer from them since they focused mainly on residencies, and I wanted to raise the question again for some advice.

Many of the posts I've read say that no time is the perfect time so just jump in and do it. They all seem to say that if you really work at it, you can handle both school and pregnancy/early child care. However, I am terrified of starting school, getting pregnant and then realizing that I cannot handle both school and an infant. I've read many books and talked to many people about having children and keep hearing that caring for a newborn is unbelievably exhausting mentally and physically to the point that even if home and not working a woman barely has enough energy to take a shower. If this is true for most women, how in the world could you throw schooling into the equation?

Aside from this concern (which I'm assuming is most relevant when the baby is very young and everyone is adjusting to each other), I am concerned about juggling everything time-wise and money-wise. Time-wise I am concerned about being in school for many many hours a day, then having to study, adding clinical hours into the mix when those rotations start. I am concerned I wouldn't have enough time for my child; that my husband would start resenting me (we have discussed all this and he is being very supportive especially since he has been urging me to go back to school, but experience is different from talking about something); that we would shift as so many couple seem to do unconsciously and unwillingly into gender stereotypes and that even though I would be the one with less time that I would be expected to take on the majority of child care.

My husband works full-time, and we would not have much family support in terms of babysitting because all of our parents still work full-time too. So I am concerned about finances, because I would need to quit my job to go back to school full-time. So we would be stretching one paycheck to cover all of our expenses, which would include day care.

I still have at least 2 years before going back to school and part of me thinks it would be better to have a child now and start school when he/she is 1-2 years old. But I'm not quite ready to have a child right now and I don't want to rush having children to squeeze it into other plans. On the other hand, I don't want to put off having kids until I'm in school and then think "what have I done??" timing-wise.

I am at a point in my life when I don't want to give up one for the other, but I am finding myself alternately thinking "I can do both, I just have to work very hard", and feeling disillusioned and disappointed wondering if it's really possible without a super-human amount of resilience and energy. I'm also feeling rather bitter at myself for having taken so long to realize I want to both go back to school and think about having kids. Seems like life would be much easier if either (1) we had kids who were already in school when I start back to school myself, or (2) I was younger so I could delay having children until I finished school. I know I can't dwell on this because it can't be helped, but I'm finding myself seriously wondering if I can handle both at the same time.

Does anyone have any constructive thoughts or advice they can share? Or maybe just some encouragement?

Thanks to anyone who read my long post! Sorry if it was disjointed and rambling. :rolleyes:
 

Caboose

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Hey Bailey - rambling makes posts more fun because they keep my mind more active than a book report. I give you a B - you could have really been less organized/dijointed, just try harder next time. :) Look! A bird!

This is my opinion, (that's my disclaimer), but I wouldn't do both at one time. Having kids might be doable for some people in medical/vet school, (I salute them because I sure as hell need more time to study), but actually being pregnant waddling through the halls on a 14 hour shift on elephant ankles would be impossible for me. Nursing every 3 hours and lactating during my tests when someone whines next to me is appealing and all... I do know of one woman who made it into medical school and got pregnant her first year. The school was very cool about it and gave her that year off to see if she could just pick it up in the next round of students the following year. They had already invested time and money on her... and they weren't asses. Not sure what your target vet school is like - maybe you can be blunt and just ask admissions how they have handled student pregnancy before. ...probably not endorsing it or anything.

Never regret things like not getting things done in time. It's like referencing your inner child who thought you should have a career, kids, a house and your sanity at 25. We all know that the sanity part never truly happens anyway. I look at everything being a part of who you are - even the simplest event - so regret is too complicated to be logical. If I would have started earlier, I would have dropped the ball because I wouldn't have the motivation AND I would have missed SO much.

So let's say you had to choose, (this is how I run through things in my brain), which would you look back on with more sense of loss? No baby or no license?

I've been living with my sis, who's 36 works full time and has a husband. My nephew is amazingly dependent and he's 18 months already. He can't even mow the lawn. His pop stays home all day and takes care of him, but now he's going back to school. It's tough to work around his schedule, there's a lot of baby passing and he's about to go into a daycare. I'm traditional, so when I see brand new babies in those places I get sad. I realize that people have their dreams, but I'd drop all of this in a second for my kid to grow up in the sort of home I want him/her in, you know? It's spendy and time for his homework hasn't been taken into account. Seems like a disaster to me - I couldn't take it like that; I'd wait for preschool.

Resentment is so easy in those situations. You could resent him just as easily, I think. I resent everyone. Damn you people.

Financially, you'd be stretching, but you coud get more school loans if you wanted to, so that enters into the equation as well.

I think you need to really see what one or the other would be like before you can say, you know? If it were me, I'd take as much time as possible observing and talking to people in similar situations. I'd take a weekend or two to hang out with friends who have kiddos at different stages and have to work. Then I'd go to the college and sit in in a few classes, start chatting with the students and find out just how intense the classes really are. How many hours do they study?

I don't feel ready for anything until I get into it. The supreme example would be that I will never, ever be entirely ready for children until I have 'em. If I were in your shoes, and mine are the same shade, I'd keep going with the education and not worry about it too much until time passes and fog clears. Gathering information is a good step though, hey?

Caboose.

 
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obrn

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If you aren't ready to have a child now, even if that makes the timing work better in the long run, then don't. While there are many women who enjoy pregnancy and have no difficulties, there are many others who don't enjoy being pregnant at all and have quite a rough time of it (although that doesn't mean they don't love the outcome any less). If you're not ready yet, you need to wait. But when it comes to planning to have a child while in school, just remember to think about all of the game plans (what will you do if you're on bedrest for several weeks/months, etc) so that if the unexpected happens, you're at least a little prepared.

It's never an easy question, but you'll find the solution that is right for you. Good luck!
 

kate_g

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One thing you might want to check on... The vet school might not allow you to attend certain classes pregnant. I think third and fourth year, when you do mostly lab/clinical stuff, would be the time to worry about. There's fear of transmission of certain diseases (e.g. toxoplasma) that could harm your fetus, and also a real physical danger (e.g. kick by a horse) in some activities. Plus if you're actually mounting your own slides and stuff in labs, you'll be working with nasty chemicals that are probably contraindicated in pregnancy.

Those fears might not be 100% justified - I know people who work professionally in labs and with animals that worked right up until the day they went into labor - but still they're very entrenched in people's minds. So I wouldn't be surprised if some schools actually have rules/policies about not being able to take certain classes or participate in certain activities while pregnant.

That said, I know a couple people who have had a kid in vet school, but took a year off to do it. I don't think they felt penalized or anything, like taking that extra year prevented them from getting a good job or otherwise held them back. (You'll see stuff from some med school types worrying that taking a year off for any reason will keep them out of the residency of their dreams - I can't tell you that 100% won't happen in the vet world, I can just tell you the couple of people I know didn't seem to worry about it much.)

You might want to post over on the vet forum and ask current students and graduates about people who got pregnant in their class, and how they handled it.

Having no experience myself, my gut feeling is to agree with others who say DON'T have a kid for timing reasons if you don't otherwise feel ready. But, in the first or second year might be the best time if you want to try to keep going to school as much as possible. If you're going to take a year or a semester off, I guess it matters less when it happens.

Good luck! And I'm in a similar place - 30 y.o., considering vet school, not really wanting to wait until 36 to think about kids, not really wanting to be an "old" mom... But not ready to consider morning sickness on morning rounds...
 

rxlynn

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Hi - I am a 39 year old mom of 2 who is starting in pharmacy school this fall. I think all the concerns you are expressing are very common for women who are thinking about pregnancy. I actually had a very difficult time deciding to have children at all - I had a MS in chemistry, a full-time job I loved, etc. and I did not want to fall back into a traditional marriage. But, we made the decision to have kids, and (on most days) I am glad.

I think the popular media tends to overemphasize the rigors of early infant care to some extent. I can certainly say that I never went without a shower in the morning ever while I was taking care of infants by myself (I had 12 weeks off with baby #1 and 10 weeks off with baby #2). I wouldn't say that my first baby was a particularly easy baby, either. If you are an organized, time efficient person on most days you will be able to get through just fine. That's not to say that there won't be difficult days - I think for us, the worst has been when the unexpected comes up. So, my advice is to think through carefully things like, what's going to happen when the baby has to go to the doctor unexpectedly? what will you do about daycare if child is sick and can't go? those types of things. Speaking of daycare, how do you and your husband feel about that issue? What type of care is available in your area, and how expensive is it? We personally did not want to put an infant into a group daycare situation, and through various ways were able to keep them out of a group situation until 14 months of age. You might not have that choice if you are in school and don't have a lot of money for childcare.

One other thought - Doctors pretty much think now that fertility declines every year after 27. There are obviously plenty of 30 (and even some 40-year olds) having children, but there are also lots of people that age who are unable to conceive without a lot of medical intervention. Also, if you are over 35 you will have to consider things like amniocentesis and other genetic testing - not that you have to do the tests, but you do have to consider the implications or testing vs. not.

Know that you won't be alone out here - there are plenty of us trying to parent and educate at the same time.
If you think of any specific questions, feel free to PM me.
 

mommy2three

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rxlynn said:
I think the popular media tends to overemphasize the rigors of early infant care to some extent.... If you are an organized, time efficient person on most days you will be able to get through just fine. That's not to say that there won't be difficult days - I think for us, the worst has been when the unexpected comes up. .
i have to agree with the above statements entirely :)

as someone who has btdt and been back in a classroom in undergrad only 5 days after giving birth and surviving a 19credit hour semester with a newborn i can honestly say that it CAN be done :). the key is your family unit and how cohesive you are.
i will not lie and say that it is not difficult at times because it is...the first few weeks are especially brutal but then it smooths out as they start sleeping more during the night. with all of our kiddos my hubby and i alternated the night feedings so that at least one of us would be getting a block of uninterrupted sleep (he would get up for the first, i would do the next and then if there was another he would take that one).
the key for me, for us really, has been our willingness to push everything else aside. when it comes to the wire and things are crazy and there is a lot on our plates we only do what needs to be done, anything that is not pressing or needed gets pushed off until after that set of exams are over. we work together with the kiddos but when one of us has an important exam looming (dh is a phd student) the other bears more responsibility for the kiddos enabling the one who needs to study a chance to do so.
as far as daycare, does your ug institution have on campus childcare?? these are often cheaper than other sites in the area and have the added convience that you only need to register for the hours you need. other than that, some churches have child care services that are often cheaper than traditional centers (like kindercare). i would check out various centers in yoru area to figure out the cost per week and go from there.
monetary concerns...i completely hear you there. when my first was born and i became a sahm our intake halved....literally. yes the adjustment was rough but we learned to deal with it...we learned to budget efficiently and were able to get by. make a budget...figure out if you can get by on one salary then go from there. you will be amazed at what corners you can cut if/when you need to.
best wishes.
 

oxeye

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I'm happy that I had kids before medical school because I wanted to be with them full time when they were little. BUT, I was also ready to have kids. While this is working out great for me so far, I wouldn't recommend having kids before you are ready just because you think it might be the best time for it.

You do need to decide if you can handle waiting to have kids until you are done with school - and risking the decline in fertility that comes with increasing age. Or do you think you could handle an infant and school at the same time? Lots of women do it - I'm not sure I would have liked it much.

Unfortunately, I don't think anyone can answer this for you. The best decision for me was to have kids first. I wanted to be around when they were infants, breastfeed but not have to pump, and this worked out the best because of that. They'll be close to school age when I start school. That doesn't mean it's the right choice for you, though.

Best of luck to you.
 

MiesVanDerMom

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Caboose said:
he's 18 months already. He can't even mow the lawn. His pop stays home all day and takes care of him, but now he's going back to school. It's tough to work around his schedule, there's a lot of baby passing and he's about to go into a daycare. I'm traditional, so when I see brand new babies in those places I get sad. I realize that people have their dreams, but I'd drop all of this in a second for my kid to grow up in the sort of home I want him/her in, you know? It's spendy and time for his homework hasn't been taken into account. Seems like a disaster to me - I couldn't take it like that; I'd wait for preschool.

My 18 month old niece is in daycare and loves it. I'll be enrolling mine whenI start med school and they'll be 20 months, and 3 years old. I think once they hit a year they're good for daycare and when they're younger they're perfectly happy with a nanny. I loved my stay-at-home mom but my husband loved his nanny (and has a great relationship with his mom). Toddlers LOVE being around other toddlers. I know my son will be much happier in daycare, much less bored. And all the special needs parents I talk to say the kids develop better once they're around kids their age.

Babies are work, but in all honesty, being away at work/school during the day can actually make taking care of a baby much easier. The thing is, when you're home with baby all day it's not like you're getting houseowrk done or something, maybe some errands I guess. You're mainly just taking care of the baby all day. Having time away from baby could definately be a good thing.

The advice I've heard for med school (dont know about vet school) is that year 2 is a good time to be pregnant and then you can take a year "off" and do research while the baby is small. also, if the break between years 2 and 3 were a couple months, you could do it that way. For med, year 4 is another good time to be preggo, possibly take a year off before residency, possibly not. Some women have really easy pregnancies and others not, you can't predict it. For me, pregnancy while working and going to school was easier because it kept me distracted from the symptoms. I wasn't able to breastfeed my boys because they have a rare metabollic disorder, so I don't know about that end of it.

I wouldn't worry about being pregnant with #1 while going to school (although watch out for those seats connected to the desks! I had those in Physics..) It's being pregnant with #2 that is tough (since #1 is around, demanding of you...). Best of luck :luck: It will work out for you I am sure. :)
 

Doula-2-OB

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I think it depends on the parent you want to be. When you think about having kids and what type of parent you want to be, what do you see? What are you willing to compromise?

I'm the mom of two boys - 9 and 5. I nursed them both for a long time, my 5yo still sleeps with me, and we're currently trying to conceive. I'm pre-med so I figure by the time I'm headed off to med school the youngest would be 3 or 4 years old- preschool/kindergarten are right around the corner. I won't put my kids in day care at a young age, because that's the parent *I* want to be, but no one can answer that for YOU.

And also know that whatever you decide today might stay the same after the baby comes, but it also might change drastically. ;)

Head in the direction you think is going to be best and be flexible when (because you know they will) things change along the way. :)
 

Teee

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I thought the thread title was pregnancy "plug", have.to.step.away.from.the.mice
 

NonTradMed

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It's a hard decision for you to make. I'll be 31 when I graduate from med school so it's something for me to think about as well. However, dont' have a baby unless you're ready for one. Seriously discuss it with your SO over a period of time to gauge his support. The biological clock is ticking for us gals so not having a baby by the time we're 35 may mean not having a baby period. Adoption and IVF are alternative options for the future....

I don't know much abuot taking care of infants other than that it's hard, but be aware that people's tolerance of what constitutes as 'hard' varies. My parents lived in China in the early 80's when I was a young child. This meant clothes diapers which needed to be HANDWASHED everyday b/c we had no washing machines, homemade baby food because Gerber hadn't come into the country yet, freshly made meals because we have no fridge, and a one room studio shared with a grandma b/c we lived in Beijing during a major housing crunch. Oh yeah, it also meant if I had a high fever, 'rushing the ER' required my father to pedel on his bike as fast as he can while my mom held onto me for dear life while sitting side saddle on the bike. One more thing, no baby carriages meant everywhere I went, I had to be physically carried. THAT was hard to do. A lot of Chinese parents of my parents' generation often laugh at what is considered 'hard' by American standards with the instant forumlas, disposable diapers, baby carriages and access to cars....taking care of a baby in developing nations as an intense physical experience compared to here. So based on what my parents have said, that taking care of infants in this country is not truly 'hard', but merely time consuming. Also, I was surrounded by a lot of Chinese immigrants growing up. Many were students in their late 20's/early 30's who came here to attend graduate school. Quite a few already had kids or had them while in school. Granted, a phD program is more flexible than professional school since a big chunk of it is research, but most managed with careful planning and supportive spouses. I guess what I'm trying to say is, what your experiencing isn't new, and taking care of babies while in school, while tough, has been done before and done successfully. Good luck on whatever you decide.
 
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bailey728

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Wow thank you all for your posts! I haven't had a chance to check the board for awhile - this was a nice surprise. Thanks for taking the time to let me know what you think - what all of you wrote was very helpful in giving me things to consider. I especially appreciated reading posts from people on both sides of the issue (wait vs can do both) as well as those of you with personal experience.

I agree with those who posted to say don't have kids now if I'm not ready. I knew that already, I think I'm just getting freaked out about juggling everything at once and was trying to find some way to make the timing easier. I definitely think I do not want to wait until I'm out of school completely to have kids though. We'd like to have 2 and I just don't want to have to deal with fertility problems because I waited too long.

I think I will need to have many more discussions with my husband and work out all the scenarios about how we would handle things, particularly child care. My husband's job is definitely more flexible than my school schedule would be, but he travels fairly often, which we'd need to deal with. We would definitely have to use day care at some point, since we don't have much family help to rely on (side story on this below) and we'd both be working/in school. I personally don't have a problem with daycare. I would prefer to not put my child in daycare too young, but I think they are great for social development when the child is older. In answer to Mommy2three who asked if campus child care is available where I am ... there is but it is MUCH more expensive than the average daycare!! And if you use them part-time... forget it, it's almost like paying for full-time. We'll figure something out, I know that. I'm just the type of person who likes to plan things out and know what to expect so I don't get slammed with something out of nowhere that catches me off guard. So I guess the next step is to have those many discussions and try to be as prepared as possible.

Oh, about that side story.... we were at my father-in-law's house last week and out of NOWHERE he started in on me with the "when am I getting grandkids??" stomp stomp. Not one of the parents has ever brought this up before and my husband and I are pretty non-traditional so our families don't usually question us about lifestyle choices. He was getting pretty excited about the whole thing, wondering exactly when I was going to have a child and why wasn't I on the ball already. I was like wtf?? (My husband had apparently mentioned my plan of applying to vet school and father-in-law thought I was putting off having kids forever.) Anyhow, I told him if he'd like to quit his job and move in with us and be a full-time babysitter, that I'd be more than happy to "get right on that". Don't think my suggestion worked. Oh well, so much for arranging for free child-care. ;)

Thanks again everyone! And good luck to all of you in the same situation. :)
 

MiesVanDerMom

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bailey728 said:
Wow thank you all for your posts! I haven't had a chance to check the board for awhile - this was a nice surprise. Thanks for taking the time to let me know what you think - what all of you wrote was very helpful in giving me things to consider. I especially appreciated reading posts from people on both sides of the issue (wait vs can do both) as well as those of you with personal experience.

I agree with those who posted to say don't have kids now if I'm not ready. I knew that already, I think I'm just getting freaked out about juggling everything at once and was trying to find some way to make the timing easier. I definitely think I do not want to wait until I'm out of school completely to have kids though. We'd like to have 2 and I just don't want to have to deal with fertility problems because I waited too long.

I think I will need to have many more discussions with my husband and work out all the scenarios about how we would handle things, particularly child care. My husband's job is definitely more flexible than my school schedule would be, but he travels fairly often, which we'd need to deal with. We would definitely have to use day care at some point, since we don't have much family help to rely on (side story on this below) and we'd both be working/in school. I personally don't have a problem with daycare. I would prefer to not put my child in daycare too young, but I think they are great for social development when the child is older. In answer to Mommy2three who asked if campus child care is available where I am ... there is but it is MUCH more expensive than the average daycare!! And if you use them part-time... forget it, it's almost like paying for full-time. We'll figure something out, I know that. I'm just the type of person who likes to plan things out and know what to expect so I don't get slammed with something out of nowhere that catches me off guard. So I guess the next step is to have those many discussions and try to be as prepared as possible.

Oh, about that side story.... we were at my father-in-law's house last week and out of NOWHERE he started in on me with the "when am I getting grandkids??" stomp stomp. Not one of the parents has ever brought this up before and my husband and I are pretty non-traditional so our families don't usually question us about lifestyle choices. He was getting pretty excited about the whole thing, wondering exactly when I was going to have a child and why wasn't I on the ball already. I was like wtf?? (My husband had apparently mentioned my plan of applying to vet school and father-in-law thought I was putting off having kids forever.) Anyhow, I told him if he'd like to quit his job and move in with us and be a full-time babysitter, that I'd be more than happy to "get right on that". Don't think my suggestion worked. Oh well, so much for arranging for free child-care. ;)

Thanks again everyone! And good luck to all of you in the same situation. :)

oh no! once the grandparents get the baby fever, watch out! my mom is also non-traditional and promised to never pressure use (4 daughters) because she wanted us to have careers/be independent. then one day she got the baby fever. we never stopped hearing about it until I got knocked up. :laugh:
 
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