Should I mention being pregnant in the Primary Application?

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mouseben

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I am applying for the 2009 cycle. Right now I am pregnant and the due date is only less than two months away. For this reason, I have to stop my volunteer/intern in May. If I do not mention being pregnant in my PS or somewhere, it may look bad that I stop those activities right up to the point of submitting application. If I do mention about having a baby soon, however, some people warn me that the Adcom may not like the idea of having a baby right before going to medical school, which will ultimately hurt my chance. What do you guys think? Any suggestion? Thank you. :p
 

taponthecloud

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I am applying for the 2009 cycle. Right now I am pregnant and the due date is only less than two months away. For this reason, I have to stop my volunteer/intern in May. If I do not mention being pregnant in my PS or somewhere, it may look bad that I stop those activities right up to the point of submitting application. If I do mention about having a baby soon, however, some people warn me that the Adcom may not like the idea of having a baby right before going to medical school, which will ultimately hurt my chance. What do you guys think? Any suggestion? Thank you. :p

Uhh... boy will they be in for a surprise when you're accepted. Just be honest. They're gonna ask you anyway about your ECs during the interview.
 

Cegar

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It is not necessary to write it in the PS. They wont care if you stop volunteering in may. They probably wont even notice.

It will definitely come up in any interviews though. It should not be a major hurdle, though that may depend on your interviewer.
 
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HumidBeing

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Why bring that up? You want to SELL YOURSELF in the primary. Don't bring up anything that anyone reading it might take as a negative (even if they aren't supposed to).

If you have enough volunteering & EC's to interest them, no one is going to drop your application in the reject pile just because the last date you have them listed is right about the time you submit your application.

Don't bring it up anywhere during the application process unless it's in the context of answering an appropriate question.

BTW, you are not having this baby right before med school. Your kiddo will be over a year old by the time school finally starts. At least you will have physically recuperated and will have adjusted to life as a parent.
 

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Yeah, I would not bring this up. The benefits are non-existent and the potential drawbacks are there. Best of luck.
 

mouseben

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Thank you everyone for your advice. I guess I will not mention this issue at all in my primary, and will be honest about it if being asked during the interview. :p
 

UFMed

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Why bring that up? You want to SELL YOURSELF in the primary. Don't bring up anything that anyone reading it might take as a negative (even if they aren't supposed to).

If you have enough volunteering & EC's to interest them, no one is going to drop your application in the reject pile just because the last date you have them listed is right about the time you submit your application.

Don't bring it up anywhere during the application process unless it's in the context of answering an appropriate question.

BTW, you are not having this baby right before med school. Your kiddo will be over a year old by the time school finally starts. At least you will have physically recuperated and will have adjusted to life as a parent.

I agree with HumidBeing- if you don't have to bring it up, don't. :thumbup:
 

ErinMG

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Why bring that up? You want to SELL YOURSELF in the primary. Don't bring up anything that anyone reading it might take as a negative (even if they aren't supposed to).

If you have enough volunteering & EC's to interest them, no one is going to drop your application in the reject pile just because the last date you have them listed is right about the time you submit your application.

Don't bring it up anywhere during the application process unless it's in the context of answering an appropriate question.

BTW, you are not having this baby right before med school. Your kiddo will be over a year old by the time school finally starts. At least you will have physically recuperated and will have adjusted to life as a parent.


I completely agree. I have 2 young children and did not mention it in my personal statement. I wrote about them sort of indirectly and most people assumed I was writing about a volunteer experience. For the schools that I actually mentioned it on secondaries, no interview. For schools that I did not mention it, I talked about it during my interview.

With how crazy and random the whole proces is, I would not give committees any reason to pass over you (not that children should be a reason, but often times it may be).

Good luck!
 

mouseben

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I completely agree. I have 2 young children and did not mention it in my personal statement. I wrote about them sort of indirectly and most people assumed I was writing about a volunteer experience. For the schools that I actually mentioned it on secondaries, no interview. For schools that I did not mention it, I talked about it during my interview.

With how crazy and random the whole proces is, I would not give committees any reason to pass over you (not that children should be a reason, but often times it may be).

Good luck!

Thanks for your advice. Good luck to you too. :p
It is sad that having kids plays down role in the application. Oh, well, nobody says the whole application is fair and pleasant. Could I ask you that when you mentioned your two young kids in your interview, what kind of reaction did you get from the interviewers?
 

LizzyM

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As an interviewer, one of my jobs is to determine if this applicant is going to be a successful student.

Babies and children are no different than having an appliant come in and say, "My spouse is severely disabled but we have some help during the day so that I will be able to attend classes." Same story if it was your widowed mother who had Alzheimer's and you were living with her and taking responsibility for her meals, laundry, disorientation at night, etc. but having her in adult day care during the day. It is an added demand on your time.

The interviewer's job when something like this comes up is to explore the applicant's time management skills and the social support network and to make a judgment call as to whether this applicant has "it" together enough to manage med school as well as the other responsibilities. If it seems that the applicant is a high risk for flunking out, then it would not be wise to admit the applicant.

Of course, you can avoid the whole discussion by not giving the interviewer reason to question your social support network, etc. It isn't that babies are incompatable with school but that anything that could cause you to miss classes, miss exams and ultimately flunk out is reason for concern.
 

glamqueen

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The fact that you are pregnant is your personal business and if you aren't allowing it to affect your path to becoming a doctor - then it is not their business that you are. I agree with Lizzy M on her perspective.

I'm not sure how pregnancy is relevant to any discussion unless you are actively admitting you are unable to handle it, which in that case - you wouldn't be applying - thus you already know you can handle it.

Best of luck, and my advice would be to not reveal personal information irrelevant to becoming a doctor.
 

mouseben

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Thank you all for your kind advice and insight. I really appreciated it.
I am confident that I can handle the school work and family at the same time (of course with the help of my husband :p), but based on all your advice, I now understand that I should try not to bring up this baby topic unless it is unavoidable. :luck:
 
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glamqueen

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PS to my reply to you - as a fellow married pre-med, I had also determined that if my husband and I somehow surpassed the odds and became pregnant - nothing would stop me either from applying even with the belly. I applaud you for keeping on your path, and I also agree wholeheartedly that being pregnant is not anything that will hold you back. I wish you the best luck for this cycle! Be proud that you are attaining ALL your dreams.
 

sunny1

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As an interviewer, one of my jobs is to determine if this applicant is going to be a successful student.

Babies and children are no different than having an appliant come in and say, "My spouse is severely disabled but we have some help during the day so that I will be able to attend classes." Same story if it was your widowed mother who had Alzheimer's and you were living with her and taking responsibility for her meals, laundry, disorientation at night, etc. but having her in adult day care during the day. It is an added demand on your time.

The interviewer's job when something like this comes up is to explore the applicant's time management skills and the social support network and to make a judgment call as to whether this applicant has "it" together enough to manage med school as well as the other responsibilities. If it seems that the applicant is a high risk for flunking out, then it would not be wise to admit the applicant.

Of course, you can avoid the whole discussion by not giving the interviewer reason to question your social support network, etc. It isn't that babies are incompatable with school but that anything that could cause you to miss classes, miss exams and ultimately flunk out is reason for concern.

I'm glad to hear your perspective, LizzyM, even if it does sadden me to hear that having a child is thought to be equivalent to having a severely disabled husband or a mother with Alzheimer's. I think perhaps if the student would be a single parent or if the child has special needs, that then it might be close enough to make that comparison. But I honestly don't consider a two parent household with one "average" child to be the same as the other examples.

I know I've personally had to supervise an employee whose mother had Alzheimer's and it was a mess. Her schedule was completely erratic, she was falling asleep on the job, and work wasn't getting done. Particularly if the parent is combative or has issues, good luck getting a good aide to stay and put up with that stuff. Even being on intermittent FMLA didn't help.

While that may be an extreme case of someone whose parent has Alzheimer's, it just seems so different to me than having a child who is on par developmentally and physically. I'm not saying it's easy having a child of course, but they seem to me to be different levels of magnitude in terms of demand on time, energy, and ability to focus.

In the end, though, I agree it comes down to a support network and either not mentioning it or definitely selling your interviewer on your capabilities "despite" having a child.
 

LizzyM

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I'm glad to hear your perspective, LizzyM, even if it does sadden me to hear that having a child is thought to be equivalent to having a severely disabled husband or a mother with Alzheimer's.

I was trying to say that a person who needs supervision 24/7, who is unable to perform many of the activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc) and who may not be sleeping through the night is going to demand a significant amount of time from a caregiver. Even a child who is developmentally normal requires an enormous amount of care from 0-5.
 

sunny1

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Even a child who is developmentally normal requires an enormous amount of care from 0-5.

Isn't that what TV is for? ;) Just kidding...

Like I said, I'm glad to hear another person's perspective.
 

decafplease

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Since you won't be pregnant during interviews: don't mention it. Use your judgment when choosing which adcoms to tell. If I'm in a room of female pediatricians, I might mention it. If my interviewer is a 75 year old neurosurgeon, I might not.

Play it smart. You can do this and be a successful applicant and med student, but have an AWESOME explanation (as Lizzy suggested) for how you're going to manage a toddler in med school if you decide to bring it up.

As an aside, if you're married/engaged, I wouldn't wear my ring to the interviews. I've heard more than a few horror stories about young women being grilled about family commitments (which may end up with you having to disclose your motherhood). Again, play it smart. Just because one crabby adcom member doesn't think you can hack it as a mom and a med student doesn't mean that the school won't be supportive after you've been accepted. That crabby adcom member CAN, on the other hand, keep you from being accepted. Good luck and congratulations!!!
 

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I'm glad to hear your perspective, LizzyM, even if it does sadden me to hear that having a child is thought to be equivalent to having a severely disabled husband or a mother with Alzheimer's.

I'm glad someone else finds it repugnant to view childrearing in this way. You could make similar arguments for not having a kid during residency, etc. If anything, we need to be encouraging medical students to be having children as early and as often as possible. Hasn't anyone seen the movie Idiocracy?
 

HappyG0Lucky

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As an aside, if you're married/engaged, I wouldn't wear my ring to the interviews. I've heard more than a few horror stories about young women being grilled about family commitments (which may end up with you having to disclose your motherhood). Again, play it smart. Just because one crabby adcom member doesn't think you can hack it as a mom and a med student doesn't mean that the school won't be supportive after you've been accepted. That crabby adcom member CAN, on the other hand, keep you from being accepted. Good luck and congratulations!!!

I had a friend who wore her wedding ring to an interview at an unnamed school and got grilled mercilessly about how she was going to handle being a student and spending time with her husband and what would she do when she had kids? and on and on. On the other hand, a male friend of mine wrote about his wife in his PS and got only positive feedback about the fact that he was married from all his interviews. It's an infuriating double standard. I did write about my fiance in my personal statement as well and I didn't have any bad feedback...so most likely it's a few random bad interviewers but if I were applying again I probably just wouldnt' put it out there for discussion because you never know what kind of person you are going to get for an interview. That's just my $0.02. Good luck to you! I may have a baby during med school myself so I think it's awesome that you're doing both!
 

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As an interviewer, one of my jobs is to determine if this applicant is going to be a successful student.

Babies and children are no different than having an appliant come in and say, "My spouse is severely disabled but we have some help during the day so that I will be able to attend classes." Same story if it was your widowed mother who had Alzheimer's and you were living with her and taking responsibility for her meals, laundry, disorientation at night, etc. but having her in adult day care during the day. It is an added demand on your time.

The interviewer's job when something like this comes up is to explore the applicant's time management skills and the social support network and to make a judgment call as to whether this applicant has "it" together enough to manage med school as well as the other responsibilities. If it seems that the applicant is a high risk for flunking out, then it would not be wise to admit the applicant.

Of course, you can avoid the whole discussion by not giving the interviewer reason to question your social support network, etc. It isn't that babies are incompatable with school but that anything that could cause you to miss classes, miss exams and ultimately flunk out is reason for concern.

So I read this, and then went to lunch and started thinking about it, and I respectfully disagree with your assessment. Before I had my kid, I was taking care of my very disabled mother. So I can tell you from experience that taking care of my toddler is much easier than taking care of my mom, if only because my toddler is not a free agent. He is time consuming, but he doesn't have all of the rights and privledges of an adult, and so his schedule, what he eats, what he does while I'm at work, etc., are dictated by me. If he says, "NO!" (which is often), I can say "To bad, buddy."

Other evidence: My grades have improved since I had my kid and stopped taking care of my mom. I hold down a very demanding full-time job, too, which was a lot more difficult when I took care of my mom. And I would say that I am far more organized and focused than I was before becoming a mom.

Just a perspective from someone who's been on both sides of this comparison...

S.
 

mouseben

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As an aside, if you're married/engaged, I wouldn't wear my ring to the interviews. I've heard more than a few horror stories about young women being grilled about family commitments (which may end up with you having to disclose your motherhood). Again, play it smart. Just because one crabby adcom member doesn't think you can hack it as a mom and a med student doesn't mean that the school won't be supportive after you've been accepted. That crabby adcom member CAN, on the other hand, keep you from being accepted. Good luck and congratulations!!!

Thanks for the advice. I never realized wearing a ring in the interview could increase my chance of being grilled. :D Since both you and HappyG0Lucky knew such cases, I guess it is not uncommon for it to happen. Very sad facts.

I agree with many of you that having a child during medical school just means you have to be more organized and efficient. :laugh:
 

LizzyM

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So I read this, and then went to lunch and started thinking about it, and I respectfully disagree with your assessment. Before I had my kid, I was taking care of my very disabled mother. So I can tell you from experience that taking care of my toddler is much easier than taking care of my mom, if only because my toddler is not a free agent. He is time consuming, but he doesn't have all of the rights and privledges of an adult, and so his schedule, what he eats, what he does while I'm at work, etc., are dictated by me. If he says, "NO!" (which is often), I can say "To bad, buddy."

Other evidence: My grades have improved since I had my kid and stopped taking care of my mom. I hold down a very demanding full-time job, too, which was a lot more difficult when I took care of my mom. And I would say that I am far more organized and focused than I was before becoming a mom.

Just a perspective from someone who's been on both sides of this comparison...

S.

What I am trying to say is that someone who has a family obligation to a parent, spouse or offspring, has more demands on one's time than a student who has only him/her self to think about. It is valid to probe during an interview as to time management issues, social support network and the like to determine if the applicant is at high risk for failure.

The situations raised by young offspring and disabled and aged parents are are somewhat opposite... the child becomes more independent with time while the parent becomes less independent and may lose the ability to walk, speak, etc. In both cases it depends where the person is on the continuum.

I think that the psychological burden carried by the caregivers of people with degenerative diseases is greater because the disability becomes worse and the care required is continually increasing up whereas with children, we see progressive gains in independence as they develop and learn new skills.
 

LizzyM

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I'm glad someone else finds it repugnant to view childrearing in this way. You could make similar arguments for not having a kid during residency, etc. If anything, we need to be encouraging medical students to be having children as early and as often as possible. Hasn't anyone seen the movie Idiocracy?

No one is saying one shouldn't have children, just that you need the skills and support network to be able to manage school and home so as to avoid flunking out of medical school (or worse).
 

Chuckwalla

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I had a friend who wore her wedding ring to an interview at an unnamed school and got grilled mercilessly about how she was going to handle being a student and spending time with her husband and what would she do when she had kids? and on and on. On the other hand, a male friend of mine wrote about his wife in his PS and got only positive feedback about the fact that he was married from all his interviews. It's an infuriating double standard. I did write about my fiance in my personal statement as well and I didn't have any bad feedback...so most likely it's a few random bad interviewers but if I were applying again I probably just wouldnt' put it out there for discussion because you never know what kind of person you are going to get for an interview. That's just my $0.02. Good luck to you! I may have a baby during med school myself so I think it's awesome that you're doing both!

If you specifically say that the father of your future children will take on the brunt of the child care responsibilities then I agree. But this is often not the case so no, it is not an infuriating double standard. Women are overwhelmingly more likely to work part time because they want to spend more time with their children. In most careers this not a problem, but when it comes to medicine there is only a limited number of spots.

If a future part-time physician did not take that spot than a future full-time physician would have. People wonder why we have a doctor shortage and this is one of the reasons.
 

sunny1

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If you specifically say that the father of your future children will take on the brunt of the child care responsibilities then I agree. But this is often not the case so no, it is not an infuriating double standard. Women are overwhelmingly more likely to work part time because they want to spend more time with their children. In most careers this not a problem, but when it comes to medicine there is only a limited number of spots.

If a future part-time physician did not take that spot than a future full-time physician would have. People wonder why we have a doctor shortage and this is one of the reasons.

Oh Chuckwalla, you had to go there...

Some people like to use the so-called reasoning that female physicians will be more likely to work less hours than their male counterparts. However, this is largely a generational issue: our generation is more likely to want to find a greater balance between work life and home life compared to older generations (and less so a gender difference) in my opinion.

Maybe I should use the argument that hospitals should hire more female physicians to cut down on expenses because they are on average at least 20% cheaper to employ than male physicians even after you take into account type of practice, productivity, hours worked, experience, etc.

From 2007 alone - look them up on PubMed:
Gender differences in dermatologists' annual incomes.
Differences in the annual incomes of emergency physicians related to gender.
Gender differences in ophthalmologists' annual incomes.
Gender differences in anesthesiologists' annual incomes.
The influence of provider sex on neurologists' annual incomes.
Gender differences in diagnostic radiologists' annual incomes. (this one's from 2006)

(By the way, the differences in hours worked between genders varies by specialty but is largely in the single digit-to-low teen percent. Interestingly, female EM docs worked 3% more hours than male counterparts, while female diagnostic radiologists worked 2% fewer hours, female neurologists worked 6% fewer hours than males, female anesthesiologists 12% less hours, etc.)
 

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If you specifically say that the father of your future children will take on the brunt of the child care responsibilities then I agree. But this is often not the case so no, it is not an infuriating double standard. Women are overwhelmingly more likely to work part time because they want to spend more time with their children. In most careers this not a problem, but when it comes to medicine there is only a limited number of spots.

If a future part-time physician did not take that spot than a future full-time physician would have. People wonder why we have a doctor shortage and this is one of the reasons.

I am planning on working less to spend more time with my children. I sure pulled a quick one on the those adcoms...since I have a penis and all they must have assumed that I was going to work myself to death and pursure my own ambitions instead of taking care of my family. :laugh:

It is all about balance. I mentioned my first child in my PS (and brought up both of my children and my wife in all of my interviews when the interviewers asked about it...as they all did), but I do think that there is the possibility of bias against women who have children and attend medical school, just like their is the possibility that I could have faced bias because I am an older applicant, or because I am a veteran. This all depends on who you are interviewing with.

While you don't want to be like every other biology major pre-med...you still don't want to be too different from the flock if you know what I mean.
 
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