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Pregnancy and postdoc...

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by Lunabin, May 17, 2008.

  1. Lunabin

    Lunabin New Member 2+ Year Member

    Jun 7, 2006
    Hi, I need some advice, motivation, reassurance, and just a good pep talk.

    As most may know, I've completed my degree and am currently in a postdoc that I despise. For a number of reasons (not entirely relevant to this post) I've decided to reapply for postdocs and do one more year.

    Well, I just got some news... Not only was I offered a position that I'd love to accept, but I'm also pregnant (it's still very early and I didn't know this when I was applying or interviewing).

    Do I tell the supervisor before I accept or should I just take the job and wait to tell?

    For some reason, I'm having an enormous guilt complex about this, and really don't know what to do. It's not like me to end any job/committment early, but I cannot stay at my current position - and I know this is part of my problem/emotional reaction to this whole situation...

    Advice, please...
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  3. wants2help


    May 17, 2008
    I am no expert, but I think a lot of what you are saying depends on you and the program. A professor of mine was speaking about my university and said that the one thing she would tell any woman entering is that they do not give pregnant women _any_ leeway. Maternity leave was short, and there are no exceptions.

    Telling your supervisor may be a risky move. How close are you? How biased is the supervisor? If you are going to accept the offer anyway, why tell? It is not essential information.

    Do not have a guilt complex. Not only does feeling guilty get you nowhere, but you also have nothing to feel guilty about.

    If you have to leave your current situation abruptly, at least leave on the best possible terms.

    Whatever you do, you should be safe if you are calm and professional about the situation. Decide and proceed with confidence, and the rest will follow.
  4. RayneeDeigh

    RayneeDeigh 5+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    I am also no expert on this subject, but my gut reaction is that you have to do the best thing for YOU. Just knowing what sometimes happens when women disclose their pregnancy early, I wouldn't tell a soul at the post-doc until you're a) already working there and b) it becomes impossible for people not to know you're pregnant when they look at you.

    Really, it's your body and you get to decide who knows and when. Nobody in their right mind could judge you for keeping a secret that only belongs to you anyway. Hopefully you'll be able to get at least half of your post-doc done, give birth, and then finish up. No it's not ideal for them, but life happens.

    Congratulations on the post-doc AND the pregnancy!

    As an aside, would you believe that some women are actually asked in interviews if they plan to have children in the near future? As if it's anyone's business.
  5. Ollie123

    Ollie123 10+ Year Member

    Feb 19, 2007
    First off, sorry to hear you aren't happy with your current post-doc:( Hope the new one is an improvement.

    First off, don't feel guilty, there is absolutely no reason for you to feel guilty regardless of what happens. Second off, I don't think its necessary to disclose UNLESS the position is purely soft money. Maybe I'm biased because I've been on the other side doing hiring at one of my previous jobs and had to turn someone down because of pregnancy. I think its unethical to turn someone down for a job because of pregnancy for any long-term position, but if we're dealing with something that is temporary (as it was at my last job) I think it can get a little blurry.

    If you're on a hard-line from a hospital or university, don't give it a second thought. My concern would be if you are on a grant. I don't know if NIH or whoever else allows people to pull money out of the grant and set it aside for payroll in the future for something like a maternity/medical/whatever else leave. The funds might be available only til xx/yy/zzzz, in which case an extended leave could throw everything off. That would be my biggest concern (and it might be moot since I don't know the inner-workings of handling grant salary support - if anyone does, please chime in). As long as there isn't some reason to believe that the money won't be there after your maternity leave, I wouldn't worry about it.
  6. michalita

    michalita New Member 2+ Year Member

    Aug 25, 2006
    New England
    Congratulations on your pregnancy! Congratulations on getting a great offer!

    I agree, do what's right for you, and you have no obligation to disclose your pregnancy to anyone at this point. Are you going to be able to complete the post-doc/meet the expectations of your assignment? If so, then you're fine. If, as some people are saying, they don't give much leeway for giving birth/recovering (I wonder what they do with other medical conditions...?), then it's something you'll have to be aware of and deal with then.

    Good luck! :luck:
  7. michalita

    michalita New Member 2+ Year Member

    Aug 25, 2006
    New England

    Unfortunately, I am not shocked. What would be the best way to respond to that question (especially if the answer *isn't* "no?") without appearing rude/cold/defensive?
  8. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Oct 6, 2006
    The Beach
    I don't think it is an appropriate question in most circumstances. I guess I'd deflect it with something like, "Eventually I'd like a family, but I don't see that as a problem." ...or something like that.
  9. RayneeDeigh

    RayneeDeigh 5+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    If the answer isn't no I'd probably say "well probably down the road but right now my career is my main focus" or something like that.
  10. Lunabin

    Lunabin New Member 2+ Year Member

    Jun 7, 2006
    Thank you, everyone, for your responses and support.

    I did accept the offer yesterday, though have decided to not disclose the info. That will probably happen in another 6 weeks or so.

    I will be paid by grant, though it is a substantial grant that has been in progress for at least a few years. Funding probably won't be an issue. Since this is another postdoc, I will be contracted for just one year, and should all go well, take my leave about 6-7 months into my contract.

    In regards to the "family in the future" question on interviews - I actually think it's illegal. I know employers cannot ask about your current family situation (are you married? have any kids? etc.), so asking about potential plans seems in the same line. However, in my experience, most will try to prod for such information.

    Luckily, in my interview for this job, one Dr. acknowledged that he could not ask me about it, but said this hospital/setting was very supportive of families. He had had a child while there on his postdoc (though, certainly that is very different given he is a man). I replied something like "I would just like to know it's an environment that is ammenable and supportive of employees under all sorts of circumstances."

    I really do wish I could feel okay staying at my current postdoc - but it truly is horrible! My boss is a crazy narcissist, who gets off on making my life hell! And, that would be okay if I were learning ANYTHING, or at least utilized some clinical skills - I just don't. I've been looking for postdocs all winter, and my pregnancy has just underlined my intent to get into a more supportive/less stressful environment where I might actually learn something. (This issues of horrible postdocs, practica, and internships could fuel a hole other conversation!)
  11. ClinicCase55

    ClinicCase55 2+ Year Member

    May 19, 2008

    Hmmm...did we have the same post-doc? I had a similar narcissistic, antisocial PD director! (He shot his dog!...need I say more!)

    Congrats on accepting your new post-doc. You know, when the time comes that it is noticable that you are pregnant, you might want to reassure your new "boss" that you intend to continue to work at the same level until whenever you decide to leave. I am not saying that on a professional level that this should be necessary, but unfortunately, I have seen some horrible things come out of people's mouth especially when grant money and hiring comes into play.

    I hope your new post-doc goes well and your pregnancy. Congrats on both! :)
  12. WannaBeDrMe

    WannaBeDrMe 2+ Year Member

    Apr 14, 2008
    I'm a little late to the party but wanted to offer congrats on the growing family (and soon to be belly) as well as the new post-doc.

    I also want to commend you on having the guts to go after another position. I can sort of relate as I just left my position (not post-doc, or any-doc) a month ago. The coworkers were great, very genuine and all equally hardworking, but the work just wasn't something I support... and it was such a tough decision to leave.

    I'm tried to bury any guilt I had over leaving those clients with some bit of increased confidence that at least I was one step closer to knowing my limits in the field. After 2 jobs since graduation, I've determined... 1. money matters more than I care to admit 2. work environment matters equally to the kind of work I'm experiencing and 3. I like being in charge... ha :)

    Eventually, hopefully, family friendly will be a concern of mine as well and it's comforting to hear that some placements are comfortable with embracing clinicians with that "lifestyle"

    Good luck with everything and congrats again, what a super exciting time for you!

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