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Pregnant During Internship

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by AspiringPsychologist2016, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. AspiringPsychologist2016


    Dec 6, 2016
    I'm currently on internship at an APA-Accredited university counseling center and recently learned that I am pregnant. My spouse and I are thrilled, and at the same time, I'm also considering how to address this at my internship. I will likely be 22-24 weeks along when internship is scheduled to end, and will not be completing a postdoc during the next training year and I've defended my dissertation.

    If you are or have been pregnant while on internship:
    How/when did you tell your training director? How did your TD respond? Did the pregnancy impact your ability to complete any internship activities (if at all)? Is there anything else you wish you'd known at the time?

    If you are a TD (especially within a UCC setting, or are familiar with UCCs):
    Are there specific ways you prefer an intern address a pregnancy during internship?

    Thank you!
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  3. singasongofjoy

    singasongofjoy Psychologist 2+ Year Member

    Dec 4, 2014
    I'm not a TD nor was I pregnant on internship (though I was on postdoc). If you're only going to be 22-24 weeks along when internship is over, I don't see why it's a big deal. Assuming there are no complications you will only be going to the doctor once a month, and you can schedule first thing in the AM to avoid interfering too much with internship. Especially in a UCC setting I can't imagine there's anything you wouldn't be able to do. ON postdoc, I told my supervisors as soon as I found out everything checked out at the 8 week ultrasound (I had some reason to be concerned it wouldn't be viable). I think they appreciated the early heads up.... but also, they had just offered me a job after postdoc so it seemed extra important to give them time to plan around my maternity leave since I"d be taking leave just a couple months after starting the job. I was extremely nervous about it but they were so supportive even though it's obvious it threw a little wrinkle into things.

    In your situation, I would go ahead and tell them as soon as you feel comfortable, and I wouldn't worry about it. Then if you're occasionally disappearin for extra bathroom breaks (no one told me you had to pee all the time in first trimester too) or feeling a little queasy and need to carry around tums and ginger ale, no one will be giving you funny looks :) The one thing I wish I had been told was just how exhausted I was first trimester, starting around week 12. Like, go out to my car and take a nap during lunch tired, and go to bed as soon as I got home, too tired to even eat any dinner; lie down on the floor and take a nap after climbing up a flight of stairs, wet paintbrush in hand (true story). I had taken on some additional responsibility and ended up missing some soft deadlines. So that's the one thing you might need to get prepared for. Don't sign up for any additional obligations that you can possibly avoid during first trimester, especially if they are in the evenings. But otherwise you should be fine with continuing your usual work, unless you're one of those unlucky folks who gets extremely nauseous, in which case you'll address that with your supervisors when relevant.

    The folks I know who were pregnant on internship and then ended up missing part of internship for complications (or birth) just extended their internship by however many weeks necessary to meet the requirements and it was no big deal. In some cases that meant they did not finish internship by the deadline for their school's graduation date so they did not officially graduate until the next semester, but again no big deal.

    Also, congrats!!
  4. Justanothergrad

    Justanothergrad Counseling Psychologist Psychologist Faculty 5+ Year Member

    Mar 2, 2013
    Congrats. That's very exciting!

    Just go tell your TD. It's not (or shouldn't be) a big deal with how far along you are, or even if you were having the baby during internship (bias alert: I would never go somewhere that wouldn't support someone who was pregnant and I asked about that because it's so telling of support- even as a guy). Of those I've known who had a baby during and other times, they said internship was great timing.
    singasongofjoy likes this.
  5. "Babies? We don't need no stinkin' babies!" :D
    Seriously though, congratulations! Something that is actually more important than all these other hoops we have to jump through. Don't see how it should adversely affect your internship experience. We all have various things going on in our life at different times which can impact our work. Learning how to manage that in adaptive ways is part of the training. Don't be too surprised if not all supervisors react positively though, but then again dealing with difficult supervisors is also part of the training.
    singasongofjoy likes this.
  6. EmotRegulation

    EmotRegulation Psychologist Faculty 5+ Year Member

    Apr 11, 2012
    Some of this depends on your relationship with the training folks. You likely won't show until after the first trimester (especiallly if this is your first baby), so you have time if you want to wait. Of course, if something does happen (fingers crossed that it won't!) then you will have to figure out if/how to talk about that. I was pregnant (not on internship) a few years ago and told people at 12 weeks and then found out the pregnancy wasn't viable and had to RE-tell everyone that I wasn't pregnant anymore. I got a lot of support, but I personally would have preferred to not have to tell people that we were no longer pregnant (which is why I waited until 14 weeks the next time to announce). There are no "you MUST do this" kind of answers here. Is the TD someone who will go to bat for trainees and will support you professionally and maybe personally? If so, telling them sooner might be useful. If not, then I sure wouldn't. Know yourself and your own needs and let that help guide your decision on when to tell.

    But really, pregnancy shouldn't influence your ability to do treatment. Hopefully they aren't making you clean cat litter boxes or do heaving lifting manual labor at your internship site, or force feeding you brie. Provided you have time to pee and/or puke, you should be able to continue your duties just fine. :)
  7. Justanothergrad

    Justanothergrad Counseling Psychologist Psychologist Faculty 5+ Year Member

    Mar 2, 2013

    There were internship sites that offered to feed me ridiculous amounts of brie and I wasn't aware of them?? Man.. so much regret
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
  8. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center Psychologist 7+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2010
    Congratulations on your pregnancy!

    As others have noted, there are no guarantees, but the odds are that your ability to work will be minimally affected if you'll only be in your second trimester by the end of internship.

    If you have a supportive relationship with your TD then I would tell him/her when you feel comfortable. If you do not have a good relationship then I think it's a good idea to disclose anyway on the possible chance you might need accommodation or time off unexpectedly. Some time around the 12-week mark is a reasonable threshold for disclosure, but there are no absolutes. Act in good faith, and document your conversations.

    Ohhhhh, this! I managed to avoid morning sickness but the fatigue hit like a ton of bricks. Just take it easy and don't overcommit. Fortunately it gets better by the second trimester for most!
  9. AspiringPsychologist2016


    Dec 6, 2016
    Thank you all -- this is really helpful! This is a first baby, and so far I'm just exhausted more easily than usual and nauseous most mornings. The relationship I have with the TD (or that the TD has with any of the interns, honestly) is mediocre, but not great, so I'm not particularly looking forward to that conversation. At this point, I'm planning on talking with the TD when I'm 16-17 weeks, as long as I'm not showing terribly prior to then. I'll be hitting my 500 direct hours 3-4 months prior to ending internship, so I'll definitely take the advice of not taking on unnecessary extra tasks. Thank you again!

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