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Pregnancy during internship year

sushilover

Full Member
Nov 14, 2012
44
0
    Hi everyone,

    Congrats to all who matched last week! I had a very eventful week, as I found out on the Sunday after the match that I am pregnant. I'm very excited but nervous as to how this will effect my internship and how my training director will deal with it. Assuming there are no complications, I would be due early November and start internship the beginning of September. I would probably plan to tell my TD sometime in June.

    Has anyone else given birth during internship and how did you handle it? Were your supervisors understanding and accommodating? How much time did you take off? I have 3 weeks vacation in addition to holidays, but that is still not that much time to recover from even a normal pregnancy, so I'm a bit worried. Thanks!
     

    PHD12

    Full Member
    Nov 21, 2012
    934
    6
    1. Psychologist
      Hi everyone,

      Congrats to all who matched last week! I had a very eventful week, as I found out on the Sunday after the match that I am pregnant. I'm very excited but nervous as to how this will effect my internship and how my training director will deal with it. Assuming there are no complications, I would be due early November and start internship the beginning of September. I would probably plan to tell my TD sometime in June.

      Has anyone else given birth during internship and how did you handle it? Were your supervisors understanding and accommodating? How much time did you take off? I have 3 weeks vacation in addition to holidays, but that is still not that much time to recover from even a normal pregnancy, so I'm a bit worried. Thanks!

      I know someone who was due on internship and she took unpaid leave for a couple of months and then completed her internship a few months later than everyone. Your site has probably dealt with this before since they are taking on women in their 20's-30's.
       

      sushilover

      Full Member
      Nov 14, 2012
      44
      0
        I know someone who was due on internship and she took unpaid leave for a couple of months and then completed her internship a few months later than everyone. Your site has probably dealt with this before since they are taking on women in their 20's-30's.
        Thanks. I am hoping not to take that much time off since I want to do a formal post-doc (I'm neuropsych oriented), so I am also worried about how I would negotiate a later start date for post-doc too. I realize this pregnancy isn't ideal timing, but after struggling with infertility, I'll take what I can get.
         
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        psypsypsy

        Member
        10+ Year Member
        Jan 29, 2006
        124
        1
        1. Post Doc
          I know one person from my program who did this, and she said the site was supportive, and that, like PHD12 said, she finished up a couple of months after everyone. She had arranged a postdoc at the same location, so it worked out, but I imagine it is tricky for postdocs with more official dates because you'll likely have to stay longer to complete the required hours.

          A couple of pieces of info to check on is your insurance and benefits at where you're going. I've heard rumors that at certain sites, interns are categorized as temporary employees, and thus the time-off and maternity leave rules are different than for more permanent employees. I think you should get the 6 weeks mandatory FMLA (unpaid) leave, although again, double check.

          Second, I'd let your internship know a few weeks prior to the start of your internship at the latest (which it sounds like you're doing!). Assuming there are multiple rotations, they may put you on a lighter rotation when you're likely to be just returning, or change the numbers of interns doing which rotations while you're likely to be out. They'll definitely appreciate the heads up on planning for that, and will make it smoother for them, and your fellow interns who will be covering you while you're gone.

          Congratulations!
           
          Last edited:

          docma

          Full Member
          10+ Year Member
          Oct 27, 2007
          791
          260
            As a TD who has dealt with this I'd say this: be candid about the circumstances with as much lead time as possible because you will be accomodated but how that is done can be tricky, depending on the situation. For example, I would not wait until June but do wait until you have cleared the first trimester and be honest that you have coped with infertility so are telling them as soon as you were certain that this was happening and are eager to work out how everyone's needs can be accomodated. You should not assume that extending can be done easily; as there will be an incoming class--so get clear what your state requires for licensure as a minimum number of pre-doc hours. Consult with your school re how to negotiate too, as they may have some expertise. And congratulations...
             

            sushilover

            Full Member
            Nov 14, 2012
            44
            0
              As a TD who has dealt with this I'd say this: be candid about the circumstances with as much lead time as possible because you will be accomodated but how that is done can be tricky, depending on the situation. For example, I would not wait until June but do wait until you have cleared the first trimester and be honest that you have coped with infertility so are telling them as soon as you were certain that this was happening and are eager to work out how everyone's needs can be accomodated. You should not assume that extending can be done easily; as there will be an incoming class--so get clear what your state requires for licensure as a minimum number of pre-doc hours. Consult with your school re how to negotiate too, as they may have some expertise. And congratulations...

              Thanks and I appreciate your feedback as a training director. I would only be 4 months pregnant in mid June, and given my infertility issues I don't really feel comfortable telling most people much before that time. But I definitely think it is a good idea to consult with my school's training director first. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a smooth pregnancy so I can take off the least amount of time necessary!
               

              sushilover

              Full Member
              Nov 14, 2012
              44
              0
                I know one person from my program who did this, and she said the site was supportive, and that, like PHD12 said, she finished up a couple of months after everyone. She had arranged a postdoc at the same location, so it worked out, but I imagine it is tricky for postdocs with more official dates because you'll likely have to stay longer to complete the required hours.

                A couple of pieces of info to check on is your insurance and benefits at where you're going. I've heard rumors that at certain sites, interns are categorized as temporary employees, and thus the time-off and maternity leave rules are different than for more permanent employees. I think you should get the 6 weeks mandatory FMLA (unpaid) leave, although again, double check.

                Second, I'd let your internship know a few weeks prior to the start of your internship at the latest (which it sounds like you're doing!). Assuming there are multiple rotations, they may put you on a lighter rotation when you're likely to be just returning, or change the numbers of interns doing which rotations while you're likely to be out. They'll definitely appreciate the heads up on planning for that, and will make it smoother for them, and your fellow interns who will be covering you while you're gone.

                Congratulations!
                Fortunately my internship insurance covers pregnancy appointments and hospital birth 100%, so I really lucked out there. I had though that as interns, we do not qualify for FMLA, but I will certainly look into it, thanks for the suggestion!
                 

                psypsypsy

                Member
                10+ Year Member
                Jan 29, 2006
                124
                1
                1. Post Doc
                  Fortunately my internship insurance covers pregnancy appointments and hospital birth 100%, so I really lucked out there. I had though that as interns, we do not qualify for FMLA, but I will certainly look into it, thanks for the suggestion!

                  Yup, sorry, I looked that up after I posted...I guess interns officially don't qualify for FMLA. But again, your institution may still provide an equivalent for you, depending on their policies, so I'd look into it!
                   

                  CheetahGirl

                  Clinical Psychologist
                  10+ Year Member
                  Feb 15, 2007
                  1,448
                  908
                  formerly from Atlanta, GA
                  1. Psychologist
                    Congratulations on the match! Congratulations on the pregnancy!

                    Not what you want to hear, but there's no way you would postpone your internship year...working on dissertation only maybe? I know you said something about doing a post-doc and I know the match is a horrible process, but realistically, you may be under-estimating how difficult a first-time birth and newborn is on a mom for the first 8-weeks (minimum). You will be sleep-deprived and not as sharp as you'd want to be. However, if you're taking all that into consideration and have strong emotional, social and financial support to care for you & your little honey, then keep your focus on finishing your training.

                    I had a child (not my first child) in a demanding year of my training (but not internship year) and I returned to my work 2-weeks later. But I am the exception, not the rule. I knew what to expect and had a lot of experience with the demands of newborn & the effects on me. I breastfed exclusively and thankfully had a close family member move in with my family to take care of the baby when I was not there (but I did wake up for all the night feedings). I'm also big on attachment theory, so I would not have had it any other way. Maybe this is too much information for a public forum...but, that's why we're anonymous. :cool:

                    The prior suggestion of taking unpaid time off sounds good. I took 4-months off w/ maternity leave + unpaid time with each of my prior children when I was working a full-time job. You could propose that you would stay on 4 months past the internship end-date. And your little bunny will be older then, so all will be better & more stable for you both. However, I don't know how that would fit into your post-doc training unless there are post-docs positions at your internship site, and you can "seamlessly glide into one" after you've done a stellar job there on internship.

                    I totally support your spirit because I LIVE keeping the balance between motherhood and career-goals every day. Good luck with everything and definitely reach out to others during this time... you are not alone. Remember we were all born to mothers who may or may not have had a lot on their plate at the time. You can have your baby food and eat it too! You just have to figure out what's best for you and those around you (including your little sweetpea & new internship site). :luck:
                     

                    sushilover

                    Full Member
                    Nov 14, 2012
                    44
                    0
                      Congratulations on the match! Congratulations on the pregnancy!

                      Not what you want to hear, but there's no way you would postpone your internship year...working on dissertation only maybe? I know you said something about doing a post-doc and I know the match is a horrible process, but realistically, you may be under-estimating how difficult a first-time birth and newborn is on a mom for the first 8-weeks (minimum). You will be sleep-deprived and not as sharp as you'd want to be. However, if you're taking all that into consideration and have strong emotional, social and financial support to care for you & your little honey, then keep your focus on finishing your training.

                      I had a child (not my first child) in a demanding year of my training (but not internship year) and I returned to my work 2-weeks later. But I am the exception, not the rule. I knew what to expect and had a lot of experience with the demands of newborn & the effects on me. I breastfed exclusively and thankfully had a close family member move in with my family to take care of the baby when I was not there (but I did wake up for all the night feedings). I'm also big on attachment theory, so I would not have had it any other way. Maybe this is too much information for a public forum...but, that's why we're anonymous. :cool:

                      The prior suggestion of taking unpaid time off sounds good. I took 4-months off w/ maternity leave + unpaid time with each of my prior children when I was working a full-time job. You could propose that you would stay on 4 months past the internship end-date. And your little bunny will be older then, so all will be better & more stable for you both. However, I don't know how that would fit into your post-doc training unless there are post-docs positions at your internship site, and you can "seamlessly glide into one" after you've done a stellar job there on internship.

                      I totally support your spirit because I LIVE keeping the balance between motherhood and career-goals every day. Good luck with everything and definitely reach out to others during this time... you are not alone. Remember we were all born to mothers who may or may not have had a lot on their plate at the time. You can have your baby food and eat it too! You just have to figure out what's best for you and those around you (including your little sweetpea & new internship site). :luck:

                      Thank you! I went through the match last year unsuccessfully, so deferring for another entire year is simply not an option. Unfortunately since I'm in an extremely competitive career path (peds neuropsych) and am only allowed by my school to apply to APA internships, I'm not willing to do this again. I will already have completed my dissertation by fall, so the only thing preventing me from graduating is internship. Thus, I have no choice but to make it work this year.

                      My internship does not have a post-doc, so that is not an option for me. I am going to have to hope that I can do an more informal post-doc or that somewhere would let me start a bit late. My husband is able to work from home a lot so he will be a big help, and I will just have to do the best I can. I know that I will not be on my A game when I'm sleep deprived, but it is only a year so I'll just have to do the best I can. I have already worked extensively in my field, so this year should not have too much of a learning curve, and I'm hoping that will make the transition easier. I just hope my supervisors will be understanding!
                       

                      PHD12

                      Full Member
                      Nov 21, 2012
                      934
                      6
                      1. Psychologist
                        Thank you! I went through the match last year unsuccessfully, so deferring for another entire year is simply not an option. Unfortunately since I'm in an extremely competitive career path (peds neuropsych) and am only allowed by my school to apply to APA internships, I'm not willing to do this again. I will already have completed my dissertation by fall, so the only thing preventing me from graduating is internship. Thus, I have no choice but to make it work this year.

                        My internship does not have a post-doc, so that is not an option for me. I am going to have to hope that I can do an more informal post-doc or that somewhere would let me start a bit late. My husband is able to work from home a lot so he will be a big help, and I will just have to do the best I can. I know that I will not be on my A game when I'm sleep deprived, but it is only a year so I'll just have to do the best I can. I have already worked extensively in my field, so this year should not have too much of a learning curve, and I'm hoping that will make the transition easier. I just hope my supervisors will be understanding!

                        I'm on the APPIC listserve and i've seen a couple of postdoc openings for a start date in January/February and a few with immediate openings. You can also do something informal in a private/group practice doing neuropsych testing. However, most formal positions (VA hospitals, medical centers) will have August/September start dates. You can also always wait till the next application cycle if you want a competitive neuropsych postdoc (not ideal either). Even though women make up 80% of our field, I don't think training is set up in a way that is friendly to folks with kids.
                         

                        PhDToBe

                        Full Member
                        10+ Year Member
                        Nov 15, 2009
                        410
                        103
                        1. Psychologist
                          Another option that I do not believe was suggested already is that you could try to start the internship a month or two early, which would result in your having to tell your TD about the pregnancy upfront, but could also give you time off without losing any time, too.
                           

                          sushilover

                          Full Member
                          Nov 14, 2012
                          44
                          0
                            Another option that I do not believe was suggested already is that you could try to start the internship a month or two early, which would result in your having to tell your TD about the pregnancy upfront, but could also give you time off without losing any time, too.
                            Great idea, don't know why I didn't think of that! This may be doable since my internship has a later start date to begin with, so moving it up a bit might be ok. Thanks!
                             

                            PurplePants80

                            Full Member
                            Feb 24, 2012
                            38
                            0
                              Any updates from anyone? For others out there, I just found out I'm pregnant too. It's still very early, so crossing my fingers. I've already emailed my TD about it, and he is very supportive. It looks like I'll get some form of FMLA, so I'm going to save up all my PTO, and I'll have to work whatever time I take off - PTO after the official end of internship to make up time taken off. I'm hoping to go back to the state my husband is in for post-doc (it's only 2.5 hours away, but still) but would be fine with staying if they'll take me that late. I'm super excited, this is my first time pregnant!
                               
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