Oh the Irony

2+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2015
27
19
Status
Psychologist
I am new to posting, but have been following SDN since grad school and always find the advice very helpful so am hoping for some help here. My husband and I are both in psychology--he is currently on internship and I am on postdoc and we live in different states. We did the year apart thing last year too and that was fine but then within the first month of starting postdoc we discovered, much to our surprise, that we are expecting our first child. Rather than be super excited as I'd like to be, I find myself torn between my values. I always imagined my partner being alongside me through the pregnancy to share in it, but our distance only allows us to see each other a couple times per month (neither internship or postdoc have tons of schedule flexibility of course). I am struggling with whether to stay at my postdoc or move back to live with my husband (since he obviously can't leave internship without sacrificing his degree). I will add that I know absolutely no one in the state I just moved to--the closest emergency contact I could come up with for my doctor is about 250 miles away. I just don't know what my options would be if I do not complete my postdoc, since licensure hours would not be earned. I could, however, considered being licensed in a state with no postdoc requirement (like Washington or Alabama), and that would allow me to have at least an unrestricted license to work in a VA (though I would not meet most state licensure requirements without on the job experience). Has anyone else ever dealt with this particular issue or know a colleague who has? I would really like to get to the celebrating part of this news and move on from the job logistics worries!
 

MamaPhD

Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
7+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2010
2,099
1,962
Status
Psychologist
I don't have any brilliant advice for you but wanted to offer my sympathies. I would guess you're in a better position to defer your postdoc than for your husband to defer internship. With a degree in hand, it's usually easier. However, that is only an assumption on my part. I don't know the specifics of your situation, your respective career prospects, etc. But resist the urge to act on this right away. In the near future both of you should contact your supervisors, explain your situation, and brainstorm possibilities for leave, postponing part of your training, etc. Knowing all your options should help you develop a plan.

It's easy for people to suggest that you radically interrupt your career, but in my experience people find that a lot easier when a woman is on the receiving end of that advice. Think through what makes sense for your family. It's OK to have a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C for a little while. Welcome to "having it all." ;)
 

Pragma

Neuropsychologist
7+ Year Member
Dec 29, 2011
3,306
682
Status
Psychologist
I've seen people have children on postdoc often. Usually they take unpaid leave. I am not sure what your financial situation is like, but I wonder if you might be able to take a longer maternity leave to be with your husband right around the birth of the child, with the plan to come back after he completes his internship. Might not be feasible, but I have seen people take time off of postdoc and make it up later. Just one thought.
 

PsychPhDStudent

7+ Year Member
Sep 5, 2009
1,041
238
Status
Post Doc
First, congrats! Second, man...that is a hard situation. I imagine deferring postdoc (or hunting for one near your husband) is probably the more prudent option than having him stop his internship. I don't think that leaving your own postdoc or deferring it means you can't ever do a postdoc.

(I know this doesn't answer your request for hearing from folks who have been in this situation. I just appreciate the dilemma between going this "alone" vs. feeling like you're sacrificing your career. I just don't think that bending the path a little bit is going to be that incredibly detrimental to your career. I hope everyone is similarly hopeful and understanding.)
 
Last edited:

PsyDr

Psychologist
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Dec 18, 2005
2,964
2,702
Status
Psychologist
I'm an obsessive compulsive workaholic and even I know the right answer is to be with your husband right.
 
Mar 24, 2014
4,393
3,842
Rural Area Medical Facilty
Status
Psychologist
I would also vote for defer postdoc and move where support is. You can always be a psychologist now that you have the degree but you only can have kids when you're young. Also, when the kiddos are young they are pretty demanding of attention, it is really difficult to be both a great psychologist and a great parent at the same time. Especially if both parents are trying to do that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bmedclinic
OP
O

Oh the Irony

2+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2015
27
19
Status
Psychologist
I really truly appreciate the time you all took to respond. I have consulted with a very small number of friends who are also in the field and received similar advice about considering all available options before I make a decision and also about the importance of being with my family during this life-changing experience. I was worried that they were just telling me what I wanted to hear when they all assured me that I could do a postdoc somewhere else next year and get right back on track. The finances would be challenging, as we all know that internship stipends aren't making anyone rich, but we could definitely make it work for a year. Could I stay here and push through on my own with once a month visits from my husband and then pick up my postdoc after the baby comes? Yes. I've never quit anything I've started even when it came at a pretty undesirable cost (like last year's separation from my husband when I went to internship). But should I? I don't know. This very well may be the only child I choose to have and so my husband would miss out on all the big pregnancy moments (first kick, doctor's visits, etc) and I just don't know if I can live with that to fulfill a one year contract.
 

erg923

Regional Clinical Officer, Centene Corporation
10+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2007
9,926
3,678
Louisville, KY
Status
Psychologist
Could I stay here and push through on my own with once a month visits from my husband and then pick up my postdoc after the baby comes? Yes. I've never quit anything I've started even when it came at a pretty undesirable cost (like last year's separation from my husband when I went to internship).
I know I may get a bunch of flack for this, but I, as the husband/father-to-be, would NOT be ok with that. I think it robs you both of one of the sacred aspects of life and marriage. I think being a mother, and inevitably being the one that bears the child, comes with inherent sacrifices. That It doesn't mean it easy, but it just the way things are.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Oh the Irony

PsychPhDStudent

7+ Year Member
Sep 5, 2009
1,041
238
Status
Post Doc
I know I may get a bunch of flack for this, but I, as the husband/father-to-be, would NOT be ok with that. I think it robs you both of one of the sacred aspects of life and marriage. I think being a mother, and inevitably being the one that bears the child, comes with inherent sacrifices. That It doesn't mean it easy, but it just the way things are.
Depends on the couple. Kudos on sharing your thoughts. We may not necessarily agree, but we don't have to (unless we're married)! Before our forced-by-psychology distance situation, we agreed that if there were to be an accidental pregnancy, my husband would move to me since I'd be the one sacrificing my health/comfort/maternity leave. Not both in the field, though, so different situation. Internship is the bigger mess to reschedule.

We also used many, many forms of birth control during that time.

Best of luck to you OtI. I wish you the best with whatever you and your partner choose.
 
Last edited:
Nov 21, 2011
165
16
Status
Post Doc
Tough situation!! I'm just throwing a thought out there in case it's a possibility to be considered at all. If you stay at your postdoc for a bit to accrue more hours, you could use some of your salary to schedule more trips for your husband to see you or vice versa. You mentioned you could make it on an internship salary for a year, which puts your income, if you stay, as "bonus" in a sense. While I do think you could start another postdoc later as others have said, getting some postdoc hours under your belt might make it more feasible if you wanted to just start a job after your time off (and be supervised for a bit until you meet the required hours for licensure).
 

cara susanna

10+ Year Member
Feb 10, 2008
5,641
1,934
Midwest
Status
Psychologist
Would it be possible to find or arrange a post doc or residency position near your husband? Perhaps he has some connections through his internship supervisors? I also think it's a good idea to talk to the people at your current site and see what flexibility there is. You never know.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Therapist4Chnge
Mar 24, 2014
4,393
3,842
Rural Area Medical Facilty
Status
Psychologist
Based on what we know about the neurobiology of attachment, it is probably a good idea for the mother to spend as much time as possible early on with the infant. It is especially important in utero :p. After that, the parental roles can be much more fluid.

On a related note, I think our society has parents too involved with older children, especially adolescents, and not involved enough with younger children, especially infants.
 

MamaPhD

Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
7+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2010
2,099
1,962
Status
Psychologist
Could I stay here and push through on my own with once a month visits from my husband and then pick up my postdoc after the baby comes? Yes. I've never quit anything I've started even when it came at a pretty undesirable cost (like last year's separation from my husband when I went to internship). But should I? I don't know.
Eh, IMO not being a "quitter" is overrated. Kind of like perfect attendance. Surely there are circumstances that would all but force you to leave a job, and maybe for the first time you've encountered one. Leaving a job is a strategic option. Your decision comes down to which option has the most value to you, short-term and long-term. Given the excitement and uncertainties of a first pregnancy, I understand your desire to be with your husband from this point forward. But you'd also be well justified in figuring out the best strategy to get what you can out of your existing circumstances.

Whatever you decide, there will be some gap on your CV that you'll probably have to explain to a future employer, and how they respond will be a good litmus test.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Oh the Irony

MamaPhD

Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
7+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2010
2,099
1,962
Status
Psychologist
Well, I prefaced the statement with the fact that people werent gonna like it. She came here for advice and opinions, did she not?
Very true. Perhaps it had not occurred to anyone on this thread, even the OP, that motherhood entails sacrifice until you made that point explicitly. As a mother of two, I think I'm going to go home tonight and try to reframe my life circumstances. ;)
 

erg923

Regional Clinical Officer, Centene Corporation
10+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2007
9,926
3,678
Louisville, KY
Status
Psychologist
Very true. Perhaps it had not occurred to anyone on this thread, even the OP, that motherhood entails sacrifice until you made that point explicitly. As a mother of two, I think I'm going to go home tonight and try to reframe my life circumstances. ;)
I think it bears repeating sometimes, yes. I certainly needed, and benefitted from similar reminders after the birth of my first. Its quite an adjustment.
 
  • Like
Reactions: smalltownpsych
OP
O

Oh the Irony

2+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2015
27
19
Status
Psychologist
Unfortunately, a good chunk of my stipend (like 70%) goes to living expenses...it's really tough to pay two households worth of rent and bills. So I'm not really able to save extra money for travel and even if I could extra money doesn't translate into more leave days for him so our visit schedule can't be increased. I've also started experiencing a lot of dizziness and vertigo that I'm told may resolve, but in the meantime I've had to postpone any of my trips. I think a good point was made that this may be the first time I've encountered an obstacle that takes some of the decision making out of my hands. I've never had a health issue that kept me from working before but this just may be it. As an update, I'm now on temporary bedrest so haven't been able to work anyways. It sure would be easier if I were with my husband now so I could have someone to do cooking and such for me since I'm not able to!
 

DoctorDrewOutsidetheLines

Pink Panther & Hope Diamond
Removed
Jul 17, 2015
668
516
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I'm just going to be the evil-doer here and mention the A word. You can always have children, but at this point in your career you'd be sacrificing momentum and changing your entire life. It sounds like neither you nor your husband is in a financially stable position to breed. Call me a workaholic, but pregnancies are not always a blessing and you'd be giving up a lot. Feel free to hate me now for my liberal opinion.
 

MamaPhD

Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
7+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2010
2,099
1,962
Status
Psychologist
Feel free to hate me now for my liberal opinion.
Your political beliefs are irrelevant to the conversation. The OP has given every indication that this is a desired child. Think for a moment about the meaning of the term pro-choice.

You're speculating about whether a woman you don't know is in a position to reproduce - and going to far as to suggest what she does with her pregnancy. Perhaps you have more in common with the political far right than you'd like to believe.
 
OP
O

Oh the Irony

2+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2015
27
19
Status
Psychologist
I'm liberal, but in no way shape or form considering the A word. My financial situation isn't what it could be with two incomes, but I assure you I have the means "to breed." While you're entitled to your opinion your insinuation that im not fit or ready for a child is a nasty comment. You don't know me.
 
  • Like
Reactions: smalltownpsych

erg923

Regional Clinical Officer, Centene Corporation
10+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2007
9,926
3,678
Louisville, KY
Status
Psychologist
I believe the poster is referring to the notion that pro-choice/life attitudes tend to trend along party lines. Although, how you ask the question matters a great deal.
I dont think I got that aspect of it. All I heard was some dude who is clearly not married and never had children lamenting the pain in the ass that children impose on your life. :) I was think more cold and "Grinchy", as opposed the "Clintony..."
 

DoctorDrewOutsidetheLines

Pink Panther & Hope Diamond
Removed
Jul 17, 2015
668
516
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I didn't mean any offense but by your own admission you said you were not super excited for this child. I stand by my "nasty" comment. Children should be wanted and it should be a joyous occasion for celebration. It sounded like having this child would cause undue hardship for you. You asked for diversity of opinion then attacked me for giving you one. If you've made up your mind already I don't see why you posted your personal business on SDN.
 

WisNeuro

Board Certified Neuropsychologist
10+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2009
10,334
9,096
Somewhere
Status
Psychologist
I dont think I got that aspect of it. All I heard was some dude who is clearly not married and never had children lamenting the pain in the ass that children impose on your life. :) I was think more cold and "Grinchy", as opposed the "Clintony..."
All I got from it was another offered opinion, nothing more, nothing less.
 

MamaPhD

Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
7+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2010
2,099
1,962
Status
Psychologist
If you've made up your mind already I don't see why you posted your personal business on SDN.
The OP was not asking whether she should continue the pregnancy. Of all the people who have weighed in on this thread, this seems to have escaped you alone.

I would really like to get to the celebrating part of this news and move on from the job logistics worries!
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Oh the Irony
OP
O

Oh the Irony

2+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2015
27
19
Status
Psychologist
I'm not sure where you got that I'm not excited. I explicitly say I definitely want to move on to the stage where I can indulge my excitement, but the job situation is interfering. This baby is VERY wanted!! The hardship comes from the pressure to continue a job away from my husband NOT from the pregnancy. I did not ask for opinions about what to do about the baby because I don't need to figure that out, i need to figure out my job. And in this economy it's crazy to think that going from dual earner to a single earner household wouldn't come at a financial cost for anyone, but that's not to say we will be destitute and without means.
 
  • Like
Reactions: smalltownpsych

Therapist4Chnge

Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
21,591
2,594
The Beach
Status
Psychologist
Would it be possible to find or arrange a post doc or residency position near your husband? Perhaps he has some connections through his internship supervisors? I also think it's a good idea to talk to the people at your current site and see what flexibility there is. You never know.
This is worth repeating.
 
OP
O

Oh the Irony

2+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2015
27
19
Status
Psychologist
I am definitely looking into my options for postdoc and jobs where my husband is. The problem is, it's a relatively small city so the opportunities are limited. If I can't find something there, we also figure it will be easier for us to apply to postdocs in bigger cities next year than stay put if I can't find something. He can also leave after internship. My options at my current job are pretty limited. Essentially, keep working until I deliver, then take unpaid leave for up to 2 months, then return to make up the time. Obviously that keeps us apart during the whole duration of pregnancy and, if I deliver early, I may have to go back before his internship is over and I don't know how I'd go to work full time with a newborn and no help. Also, if I stay here for my whole prenatal care I'd have to deliver here too and the 8 hour road trip with a newborn (so he could go back to work) would be quite a challenge. Finally, with taking unpaid leave after delivery and needing to come back to finish up, I have no clue how I could afford to keep my apartment. Otherwise, I'd have to pack up all my stuff (post-delivery) then move it back for just a two month stay.
 
Mar 24, 2014
4,393
3,842
Rural Area Medical Facilty
Status
Psychologist
I'm just going to be the evil-doer here and mention the A word. You can always have children, but at this point in your career you'd be sacrificing momentum and changing your entire life. It sounds like neither you nor your husband is in a financially stable position to breed. Call me a workaholic, but pregnancies are not always a blessing and you'd be giving up a lot. Feel free to hate me now for my liberal opinion.
I don't hate you for a liberal opinion, but I am going to say that it is one of the most insensitive and stupid postings I have ever seen. Not financially stable enough to breed? WTF! They are probably both going to be licensed psychologists in a few years and even if one is delayed because of the whole "breeding thing", I don't think they are going to be filling up the welfare lines and the food bank. The OP was posing a rational question about how best to balance this part of their lives and you bring this to the table. I am stunned.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Oh the Irony

WisNeuro

Board Certified Neuropsychologist
10+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2009
10,334
9,096
Somewhere
Status
Psychologist
but I am going to say that it is one of the most insensitive and stupid postings I have ever seen.
Misguided and somewhat inappropriate, probably. But, on this message board I'd say that one was really more of a middle of the pack comment rather than a superlative.
 
Mar 24, 2014
4,393
3,842
Rural Area Medical Facilty
Status
Psychologist
Misguided and somewhat inappropriate, probably. But, on this message board I'd say that one was really more of a middle of the pack comment rather than a superlative.
Wanting to incur 100s of thousands of dollars in debt to become a doctor of behavioral health is misguided and charging for it is inappropriate, probably. Suggesting that a married couple should abort their child because of poor financial timing is on a whole different level.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Oh the Irony

WisNeuro

Board Certified Neuropsychologist
10+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2009
10,334
9,096
Somewhere
Status
Psychologist
Meh, still seemed hyperbolic on a message board where OND regularly contributes. It was a utilitarian opinion. A simple clarification that it was not an option that the couple were going to consider at all would have sufficed in lieu of overreactions.
 

MamaPhD

Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
7+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2010
2,099
1,962
Status
Psychologist
Meh, still seemed hyperbolic on a message board where OND regularly contributes. It was a utilitarian opinion. A simple clarification that it was not an option that the couple were going to consider at all would have sufficed in lieu of overreactions.
When the OP writes "I would really like to get to the celebrating part of this news," only someone with a reading comprehension deficit would need such a "clarification."
 

WisNeuro

Board Certified Neuropsychologist
10+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2009
10,334
9,096
Somewhere
Status
Psychologist
Eh, we all miss things when skimming. Just seems there was a much better and effective way of handling it. I thought it was inappropriate, but that the resulting outrage was disproportionate and ineffective. Either way, neither here nor there and threadjacking from the OP's issue.
 

DoctorDrewOutsidetheLines

Pink Panther & Hope Diamond
Removed
Jul 17, 2015
668
516
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
"I find myself torn between my values."

"I am not super excited."

"Has anyone else dealt with this particular issue or known someone who has?"

I'm sorry I was skimming. Best of luck to OP however you make it work between work/life balance.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: smalltownpsych

PsychPhDStudent

7+ Year Member
Sep 5, 2009
1,041
238
Status
Post Doc
When I read this, I read this as someone who seems excited about the pregnancy but is also feeling stressed about her career/logistics. Often times (most times?) news isn't just going to result in a purely happy reaction. The fact that she's actively problem solving the obstacles is a sign to me that she has a good head on her shoulders.

To the OP, sounds like you're handling this very thoughtfully. Your future kiddo will be lucky to have parents like you.
 
OP
O

Oh the Irony

2+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2015
27
19
Status
Psychologist
I still don't know what you are skimming, but I do not say anywhere "I am not super excited." As a final clarification, what I am torn between are the values of having a productive career and being with my family. I've not yet had to choose between one or the other because they haven't conflicted until now. One final clarification--my husband and I had to work hard for this pregnancy and didn't know if/when it would happen and that's why we were surprised at the news and its timing, not because it wasn't planned.

I appreciate those commenters who are helping me to figure out my whole scope of options because it's hard to see the forest for the trees when it feels like stepping away during the postdoc phase would be catastrophic--I'm starting to realize that I've made it this far and a slight detour won't mean the end for me. I feel lucky to have worked hard to this point to develop a CV that, even with a gap year, will still show how dedicated I am to being a doctor.
 
Last edited:
OP
O

Oh the Irony

2+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2015
27
19
Status
Psychologist
*Update! Just wanted to thank you all again for helping me sort through my decision regarding my career. I thought I didn't have many options, but I somehow found the courage to choose taking a risk and putting my career plans on hold so I could be back in the same city with my husband. I'm thrilled to say that it paid off! I got a clinical position in the same location as him that will provide me with supervision that I need for licensure--so I get to have family and career all at once. What a concept :) I share because I find it nice to know that one can take what may seem like a deviation from the plan they had in mind for their careers and still land on their feet. Thanks for the words of encouragement!