IM residents/moms. Please share your experience. MS4 applicant

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Jul 30, 2015
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Internal Medicine moms-residents, could you please share your experience with having kids while in residency? What would you recommend for medical applicants who want IM residency AND to start a family? My boyfriend will be in residency by this point too.

Please share any advice or thoughts to be better orient my decision. I don't have any experience as a mom and of course as a resident so it's hard to just just imagine what to expect. I just need a better idea of what I'm getting into.

Any reply would be appreciated. thank you.

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The fact no one has written you back....

and the one who did, has no kids....

there are other "mom" threads re: residency out there, don't listen to me

if he's a resident and you don't have live in childcare (preferably cheap relatives)

your baby will be raised by a stranger someone you pay for however long you are residents, you can probably afford this between your salaries

also depends where you are in training, if at least one of you is done with hell training when the spawn emerges...

people will try to aim for a front loaded program and start doing the nasty unprotected the last year to save ovarian time

I know people that did bittys in residency, but of the couple that were both residents.... one quit
and the other residents had a partner outside of medicine
and another pair was resident/attending duo, attending could pay for nanny and work part time
another one had a lot of family and a supportive ex wife in town

ask/read in some other threads, having details like your guys' age and his specialty and year would help
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Internal Medicine moms-residents, could you please share your experience with having kids while in residency? What would you recommend for medical applicants who want IM residency AND to start a family? My boyfriend will be in residency by this point too.

Please share any advice or thoughts to be better orient my decision. I don't have any experience as a mom and of course as a resident so it's hard to just just imagine what to expect. I just need a better idea of what I'm getting into.

Any reply would be appreciated. thank you.
Hey Ive.

I hope all is well. I am a current intern with a young child (1-2 years of age). I can probably best answer your question.

First, when applying you should really do yourself justice and look at a few factors for each residency:
1. Do residents in the program have kids? This is huge. A lot of places I applied to had no support for people with children during residency except for coverage when you and your spouse were sick. From what I have been told, this can make the process very difficult. You will be shocked to see which programs have children in the program. I am currently a resident at Hopkins and I'd say 5 of the interns have kids (maybe more), versus other places I looked at like those hospitals in Boston which may have had 5 residents with families for all 3 years. Philosophies at programs vary greatly and you should ask about this during your interviews. The reason I ultimately chose this program was due to the importance Sanjay puts on families during the interview.
2. Support in the city itself. Some cities actually have amazing support for spouses. For example, the AMA has an Alliance for people who are spouses of physicians. Some cities its very developed, others it is not. I would take the time to check out this website and see if there are other locations in the USA that have good support for families. My wife is part of this group and is adjusting really well to Baltimore. Programs themselves may also have specific programs such as the JHMA (Hopkins specific program for spouses of doctors).
3. How intense is the program during the first 3 years. This is also tricky. I would say this is probably the only real challenge I have found with Hopkins in regards to family balance. You are worked pretty hard the first year and spend essentially all of it inpatient. The trade-off is your 2nd and 3rd years you really get to develop your career path and spend time doing things like research. Some programs historically are easier than others (less responsibility, less hours etc.) I would look into this if I were you when making your decision.
4. Cost of living: Another huge factor. Essentially the major downfall for places like California, NYC and Boston for people with families. I did not even apply to NYC cause I knew I would not be able to afford it. My wife currently works from home part time and we are able to make it work because the cost of living in this city is super cheap compared to other programs.
5. What your significant other does/family around. I have 3 interns in my class who have family that live in the area and help with child care. The others have family that is slightly far away but travel to help out often. I would advice looking for a program close to your family if possible because you never know if you may or may not need them.
6. Benefits: Some programs make you partially cover benefits (such as health/dental insurance) while others pay it all up front. If you are really stuck between two programs, I would consider looking at this factor when making rank lists. When I was in medical school I had to drop 11k on dental and health insurance for my family. My current program covers the costs of health insurance which is huge for families. Some programs for what they actually cover or monthly costs can really start being taxing for those who have children and who are married. Since most people with families will have to penny pinch (given cost of child care), I would really look at this.

In short, it is very possible to have kids during residency. It is really hard. There have been many days that I have come home sad that I did not get to see my child after working a long day, however, I can honestly say that the program I chose has really put up a strong support system for my significant other to thrive here. I feel that's probably the most important part. No matter what, you will work your ass off during intern year (maybe more at other programs...) but even if you work 30hrs a week, it can be miserable if your significant other does not have support. It would really be in your best interest to research support for families first before applying (and affordability).

I hope this helps.
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Hey! just read both responses!


Thank you so much for the tips! The thing is we are trying to apply through couple's match this coming semester. He's trying for dermatology or internal medicine and I'm trying for internal medicine or family (the big question, which one i should pursue). My boyfriend, who's from Puerto Rico, got his MD in Mexico, which makes him an IMG. Fortunately, he has top scores in Step 1 and 2ck (passed 2cs) and has accomplished a lot. He's in Mayo Clinic right now doing research and trying to publish....he's rotated in derm in Puerto Rico (they love him there) and in Mayo clinic last semester. So that's his efforts for derm as of now but he's considering Internal as back up since derm is such a competitive field especially for IMGs! For me, I'm not as competitive as of now (Step1 not so hot) and I'm in the midst of studying for Step2ck and trying to improve my score with this test but it's been pretty difficult for me and very stressful with all these decisions I'm trying to make...but I'm fighting the good fight! With family, I have my parents in GA and my boyfriend's family in Puerto Rico so they are all pretty spread out :/ I'm also thinking about the front loaded program and waiting to have kids maybe 2nd or 3rd year..but I'm 30 years old (tear*) so my ovarian time is running out.... but thanks so much again! I will look around for other threads! I really appreciate your response, it means a lot!


Thank you so much for your response as well! Your detail explanation and guidance has been overwhelming too kind. Life is so different when you don't have a family that the things you mentioned did not even cross my mind but now make perfect sense and is so important to consider when making my residency choices! how silly of me! but thank you!!!! I'm really grateful that you took the time to help! All these factors I will definitely consider now when I choose a program! thank you again!

I guess now what it comes down to is: do I spend more time with my kids or more time in residency? I'm a very hard worker, I studied medicine in Mexico (where I met my boyfriend) for 7 semesters. The medical education in Mexico was not only hard (there are no laws that protect students from being overworked at hospitals, especially government hospitals!) but highly restrictive to self improvement and growth as a future doctor with their corrupt and non-supportive system. So I did the impossible (based on the reputation of my Mexican medical school) and transferred to Puerto Rico to become an American student and improve my chances for residency. This will make my medical education 6years instead of 4years. So, hopefully, I know hard work.

But I'm also a very nurturing person and I'm afraid once I'm a mom I'll be suffering not being with my kids like you Arkansmed. On the other hand, I've work so hard over the years to get to where I am. My final goal in all this was to become an Endocrinologist but now I'm not so sure because I know as an intern they'll be so much more sacrifices not just on me but on my future family (compared to doing residency in Family med). I want to make the right decision for my family but not have all these years of fighting go in vein. Don't get me wrong, I think Family med is a great profession and I think I would be very happy because I do thrive on interacting with a variety of patients and being a part of their healing process (of any kind). However, Endocrinology was what I wanted to specialize. Sorry if too much information, maybe the stress of studying for the step right now, but you guys were so helpful and I felt the need to share a little more.

Anyway, it was very touching and inspiring to read both of your responses! It means so much to me that you both took the time to read and respond in order to help. I've been feeling pretty lost but I have a lot more direction now, so thank you again! Have a great day!
Don't feel too old at 30. I am that age and waiting till I finish 3 yr IM residency to start having kids at 33. Depends on how many you want, I want 2 and starting then is totally fine. 35 is sort of a worrying year. Someone close to me in medicine didn't start family until attending at 40!! I don't suggest you wait until then necessarily, but you get what I mean. She loves that she is an older mom she feels she is a much better and devoted mom because of having more life experience, knowing who she is, and is at a place with career to focus more on being a great mom. She loves it.

Focus on the couples match, most important is doing what career you love, you'll do that long after kids leave home.

With couples match, balance doing the career you want, where you can get together for your relationship to thrive. As the poster said above, great things to think about as far as programs. As IMG options of cush residencies may be hard and desirable cities may be hard. You could do a year long distance for his prelim year if he gets derm.

If he does derm and you want endo, endo is less competitive fellowship (all fellowships are competitive) but you could time a baby for later in IM residency, with him being done with derm and you starting fellowship, getting pregnant his last year residency would be a great time. He would be attending when born and at least one parent with a good amount of time free, and fellowship can be hard but I think endo fellowship not as bad as IM residency or other susbspecialties.

Family isn't a bad back up, cam be more family friendly especially at family friendly residencies.

I think you guys could realistically go after you top career choices, and put off pregnancy for mid 30s. A lot of people do this, and have the best of both worlds career and family.

Don't be afraid to follow your dreams, put in the time, put off kids until you've got some residency years behind you, take it as it comes.

If your partner gets to attending before you, and you have a baby, depending where you are and cost of living and his job, if you live simply frugally, depending on loans, could afford childcare, or depending on your other family member's careers, I know one couple's mom was able to leave job and secretary, and her husband, for like a year to come help with childcare, and the couple was able to afford helping their parents financially so the gramma could do that. Grampa was able to make do at his job and the house on his own for that time without Gramma with the financial help. It was a win-win for everyone, baby with Gramma, the couple, even helping financially saved money on childcare but baby was with family, and Grampa did OK on his own with financial help and visits from wife. It was a sacrifice on Gramma and Grampa's part for a short time before everything was back to status quo.

Just ideas on how people make it work, and me saying hey, you can put things off a little. Probably not until end of fellowship but later in residency.
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Wow, this was awesome advice! I know my mom would LOOOVEEE to give up everything temporarily and come help raise my kids. I'm so happy I took this chance and posted everything here! This has been so inspirational, this is just what I needed to hear! Thank you Crayola277! I will definitely apply IM, backup fam and baby factory in business at mid thirties! And when applying for programs take into consideration what ArkansasMed said. Awesome plan! Thank you! I owe you guys so much! :)
I had a baby in my 3rd year residency…thats 6 months ago…and let me tell you, raising her, has been by far the hardest (rewarding, absolutely) feat so far - more than my intern year and medical school combined. definitely do not have a baby in your first yr…you don't want hormones in the way. Either before intern yr or earliest 2nd year. And that too, only if you have LOTs of support. I regret going through with mine in my resident, bec with work and night shifts, it was just me and my hubby..also a resident. We couldn't (and still can't) afford a nanny. None of our family could make it to help us beyond 2 weeks in total.
So i would be very very cautious.
(Now that I've graduated, I'm loving my time w her and taking my time to find work. :))
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thanks for sharing! I can't imagine the toll it must have taken on you being pregnant while working residency, and then raising your little one. I am definitely considering what you're saying. My boyfriend (who will start residency soon) and I want to start a family but we decided to hold off at least until end of third year/beginning of fourth year of residency. And I've already spoke to my mom about putting aside a couple of months to help me, which she happily agreed. Hopefully, everything will go as planned. Thank you so much again for sharing! It's inspiring to read how doctor-moms out there are making it in the medical world, as tough as it may be sometimes. Congratulations on your graduation and your baby! I wish you all well! :)