SINGLE moms in med school??

Discussion in 'Women in Healthcare' started by metz73, Nov 13, 2007.

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  1. metz73


    Nov 13, 2007
    Just wondering if there were any single moms in med school reading this...i just got accepted and am starting freak out about how little time i am going to be able to spend with my daughter (she'll be 4 next year when i start)...

    freaking out to the point where i'm not sure i even wanna go anymore...i thought about it before i applied, but there was always the chance i wouldn't get in, so maybe that prevented me from fully realizing my concern...

    just looking for some advice i guess...anything would be appreciated!!:oops:
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  3. efex101

    efex101 attending Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Apr 19, 2002
    Not sure about what school you got into...but some schools only have 1/2 day of lectures during years 1 and 2...but after that you *will* need substantial daycare/nanny as third year clerkships at "most" schools are very time intense.
  4. Arabella

    Arabella 2+ Year Member

    Sep 29, 2007
    Well I am not yet applying to med school but I will be in the same boat. My girls will be 7 and 5 when I start med school. Fortunately they will both be in school, but I may need a nanny/babysitter for late nights.

    My cousin told me that the #2 person in his graduating class (from med school) was a mother of 2 girls. I don't know if she was a single mom, but raising children is a tough job with or without a husband.

    Best of luck and grats on your acceptance! Let me know how you manage! I'm sure you'll do great!

  5. randomedstudent

    randomedstudent Member 7+ Year Member

    May 4, 2006
    We had a couple single moms in my class. They did just fine - but they had substantial help from their parents. If you don't have family members near you who can babysit you will need to find a 24 hour daycare for 3rd and 4th years. Your schedule will be erratic, unpredictable, and will change with each rotation. You will be on call, meaning be in the hospital overnight, which will necessitate a 24 hour daycare, again, unless you have family/friends to help. You will not always be able to predict when you will leave each day. Even when you're not on call, you might think you will be finished at 3 and end up being there until 5 or 6. It is certainly doable, but it will difficult to be sure. But don't let this discourage you from pursuing medicine as a career! Many people have issues which some would say would not be compatible with med school (ie. certain disabilities, etc.) and are able to overcome.
  6. LADoc00

    LADoc00 There is no substitute for victory. 10+ Year Member

    Sep 9, 2004
    I would let it discourage me. Med school is nothing compared to residency, where you really have to worrry.

    Single moms going the process alone is a recipe for disaster.
  7. erikalindsay

    erikalindsay caffeinated 5+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2007
  8. PunkmedGirl

    PunkmedGirl Freshman Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 23, 2007
    Hello Everyone!!!!!!!!

    DONT GIVE UP!!!!!!!!!!! if this is what you really want. I am also a single mother preparing for medical school. I understand your fears and concerns, but baby LOOK at the AMAZING women who have done it before US!!!!!!!! Not just in MEDICINE but in any challenging career that involves hard work. IM sure you wont be alone when you go to med school...i bet any amount of money you will find someone who is in the same situation but maybe can offer some help. if this is what you want DONT GIVE UP!!!!!!!!

    PS IF this wasn't meant for you (IMHO) you wouldnt have gotten ACCEPTED to any SCHOOL!!!!!! ACcept your blessing and make the best of it

    Sasha S likes this.
  9. phomp

    phomp yellow... 7+ Year Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    hi metz! just wanna say i'm in a similar situation here (applying..though i haven't gotten any acceptances yet...but still apprehensive nonetheless). would love to commiserate!
  10. DoctorMunchkin

    DoctorMunchkin 2+ Year Member

    Dec 7, 2007

    New member here. I am currently in my 4th year of surgical residency with 2 girls, 13 and 2. My husband and I went through some rough times my first couple of years of med school and sometimes things were not as supportive as I would have liked. My oldest was 4 when I started. Yes there were times when I felt guilty when I didn't see her. Yes, there were times when I could not see her school plays or go on field trips. There are still times when I can't spend as much time with either of them as I want. But, I made it. It is possible.

    Here are a few things;
    1- make certain this is what you want. This is not a road for the faint of heart, whether you have children or not.
    2- If you decide you want it, make sure you have support. I could never have done it without my mother and a good daycare. A couple of good friends really helped, too.
    3- Look at your studies like a job. Set dedicated, uninterrupted time. Don't study at home unless the kids are asleep. I can't get crap done at home, even now. I have to stay at the hospital or go to some quiet hide out where no one can find me.
    4- If you want it, set your mind to it and don't listen to anyone else. It is possible, people can do it. Some old school attendings, usually male, will say you can't. It is possible, you just have to be creative.

    If you do the math, I had my second child during my second year in residency. Again, not the best of planning. (Unplanned, but not unwelcomed.) Do-able, but you have to be creative.

    If you think you can do it, you can. My husband and I have (obviously) worked things out. Don't listen to other people, believe in yourself and just do it. I knew I wanted to be a doctor from the time I was in second grade. If you have a similar dedication, you will work it and make it happen. I know there was at least 1 or two other single moms in my class. Just because you have a kid does not mean that your life and your dreams are over. :)

    Hope it helps. The kids will grow and thrive no matter what. You are setting a good example for them by following through on your dreams and pursuing an education. Keep it up.:thumbup:
    Sasha S and MACattack15 like this.
  11. purefyr


    Jan 17, 2008
    I am a licensed massage therapist which does not take as long as a doctor but it is a walk of trust you need to build a support system to help will feel a purpose......
  12. lilninja

    lilninja Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 8, 2001
    and it's even tougher to be a single mom, so add that all together and you really need some help to get through it. it helps if you have slightly older children, as opposed to infants, but it's still hard. One of my friends/classmates is a single mom of one toddler and she is struggling to graduate right now - childcare issues are tough enough when you have two parents, so if you're a single parent, you need to have someone to help you (parent, nanny, etc.). Daycare might be enough for the preclinical years, but certainly not for the clinics. Which means if you need to hire a nanny (or two, really), financial issues will play a large part too. Like another posted mentioned, this will all be good practice for residency, during which you'll need some solid round-the clock childcare.

    Congrats on being accepted and good luck!
  13. HouseHead

    HouseHead Powdered Floor Queen 10+ Year Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    Depending on your school, you can spend very little time away from home during years 1 & 2 if there is a scribe service (I only went for mandatory labs and exams).

    Years 3 & 4 are a different story. My mom is the in-home caretaker for my daughter, which made it a lot easier to return to 3rd year after she was born (doesn't hurt that my husband is able to work from home whenever he needs to). If I had to have a regular, 9-5ish nanny, it would cost more than $30k per year for a decent one where I live. You might want to start doing the research on childcare in your area and see if you will be able to swing it. Unless you have savings or are able to take out a lot of private loans, it might be hard to afford the childcare during the clinical years unless you have family to help out. I've heard some hospitals do have 24 hour daycare, but I think that's pretty rare.

    By the time you hit residency, your daughter will be 8, well into school age. You will then have a *little* more money, but much longer hours for 3-7 years.

    If you feel that you will not be happy unless you are a doctor, you can do it. If there is something else in life that you could do and be happy, do that instead (same thing they tell everyone considering doing surgery :D).
  14. Smitty3L

    Smitty3L Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 31, 2002
    So, I'm tired and didn't read all of the responses to this, but I wanted to add my story. My daughter was 8 months old when I started my first year of med school. For the entire first year I also watched my nephew, who is close to my daughter's age, in the morning. I only went to class when it was required, not too often. I was married at the time, but believe me I was effectively a single parent, dad was never home and never helped in anyway.

    Filed for divorce the summer between first and second year. I'm now in my second year and still going through the divorce which has turned very nasty, private investigators, child abuse allegations, it's been very stressful. However I have continued to do fine in school. According to my class rank I'm just above average, somewhere above the 50th percentile, 3.5 GPA and was able to do some research over the summer.

    The flexibility that my school affords during 1st and 2nd year have made school very very doable for me as a single parent. I get to spend so much time with my daughter, much more than I would if I was working a regular job. However, that will change with the start of my 3rd year. Lately my thoughts have been on what the heck I'm going to do if I choose to do my residency out of state where I have no family, I suppose a nanny is the only real option.

    In short: Just wanted you and all other single moms out there to hear from a single mom who is thriving in med school with a toddler, a psycho ex-husband who has basically stalked and harrassed me, plenty of financial stress since the divorce, and currently being treated for depression. It's very doable!
  15. LADoc00

    LADoc00 There is no substitute for victory. 10+ Year Member

    Sep 9, 2004
    How is that "doable"? Your a depressed stalked harrassed broke single mom probably barely crawling through your preclin classes where stuff is incredible weak sauce compared to internship which makes for a very awkward pep talk to others in your boat IMO.
  16. Smitty3L

    Smitty3L Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 31, 2002
    I would be a "depressed stalked harrassed broke single mom" whether or not I was in medical school. The point is that I'm not barely crawling through the preclinical classes, I'm doing quite well. Objectively better than most in my class based on my rank. How is it not "doable"?

    The hard part for me is trying to balance time between student and mom duties. During clerkship/residency I will be forced to push that balance more away from mom duties. I do not anticipate the med student part of of my responsibilities to suffer more at a time when they are getting much more of my time and attention.

    I'm sure that my situation is worse than most, and I'm doing well. That was the point of my post, I hope it gives other moms the confidence that they can do both.

    I would also like to pass this on. One of my professors told me to never let anyone make me think that I will be less of a mother because I'm going through medical school, to remember that I'm a role model for my daughter and that she will grow up and be proud of her mother's accomplishments
  17. Luxian

    Luxian 5+ Year Member

    Dec 13, 2006
    I took your post as positive. No worries! And thank you. It's actually very nice to hear not just a positive voice, but someone who has been there. It sounds like you are doing well by your child and doing remarkably academically considering all the other stresses. Just hold on there. In a couple of years you'll still be working hard, but you'll be paid!! Life will get better.

    (I don't have kids of my own yet, but since I'm in my 30s it looks like I'll be starting while I'm in med school. All of these stories help me get a handle on just what that would mean!)
  18. phomp

    phomp yellow... 7+ Year Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    thanks smitty...its amazing how motherhood really increases your capacity to tolerate hardships. i'm starting med school this fall as a single mom so its great to see that you're doing well despite some big challenges.
  19. darkangel77

    darkangel77 Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 26, 2005
    Not speaking for myself here, but for my own mom...

    My mom was a single mom of 2 when she went off to med school four years ago. Granted, I was in college already and my brother was in high school, but nonetheless, she was still a single mom, who hadn't been in school for 30 years, in med school, even if it was a Caribbean one :) I was living in a dorm and she had my brother stay with her sister and mom.

    She would always write or call us, and came back to visit whenever she had a break. She just studied hard while she was in school, and now she's doing her clinicals. And she's happier than ever (she never went to med school because at the time, she was already married to my dad and had me). So, it's definitely possible!
  20. Hi Metz

    Thank you! I was up late studying and feeling 'lonely' and uninspired and wanted to know of any other single mothers out there going through med school. I did a google search on single mothers and med school and got to this post. I also read the other post that was referred to here, and which has sadly been closed due to abusive comments from other posters.

    I just wanted to let you know that there are single mothers out here doing med school. I was a teen mom who failed high school, and although I was in a great job I felt somewhat empty, and I realised that I hadn't pursued my ultimate dream of becoming a doctor. Again I googled it(!) and found that it was possible to do. It was damn hard, and I never really thought for a moment I could get in but thought that I didn't want to be 80 and not have at least tried! and much to my shock here I am. I still sometimes muse during inopportune moments (such as when being lectured to on bone marrow components and/or medical ethics) that I shouldn't really be here and it was some sadistic error or computer glitch and that any moment someone will be advising me that I wasn't successful! but that moment hasn't happened, and I am nearly halfway through my first year so it must be all good!

    Anyway I am on the other side of the country from my family and friends, moving to a city where I knew no-one, having given up my good job and uprooted my 2 kids aged 7 and 13, as med school isn't available in my state, but I do get to return home for my 3rd year so I am really looking forward to that!. My life is insanely busy - all studying or attending lectures. No social life whatsoever (so no chance of getting out of my single mom status during med school!). As to the kids? I have found that I can juggle stuff around and attend more things at their school than I usually would have been able to if I was still working. I am a much happier person (albeit incredibly tired but happy!) and dare I say that it has not affected my kids in any adverse way. My eldest has always had poor grades at school only just passing and I have found to my delight that she got her first A, even though it is her first year in high school. Her grades have improved and I believe that it may have to do with her extra studying - she sees me study and feels guilty. She has her own desk that she sits at, and me at mine and we study together. My youngest does much more drawing and reading (computer is banned as I am always on it downloading lecture notes and reading my ebook textbooks!) and so is the TV as it distracts me so there is no other alternative!

    So yes - go for it. I am happier for it, my kids are happier for it, and I am fulfilling my goals and dreams which can only benefit my kids in the long run. The negatives? be prepared for bone crunching tiredness, being absolutely butt poor (I get no support for the kids from their dads) and am living off 'welfare' which has me below the poverty line. Also be prepared for the lack of social life (read that as no dating!) - after 2 failed long-term relationships (including a marriage) I am OK with that! And also be prepared for times like I am experiencing tonight - the feeling when the kids are in bed and you are studying late into the night of being the only person in the world to be doing this! that is why I turned to google, and look what I found!

    Please feel free to PM me. I will respond when possible (I am sure that you will understand time is not my friend!)

    Best of luck with it all, to you and to other single moms out there.
    Vezza likes this.
  21. Dorise04

    Dorise04 Undergrad student 5+ Year Member

    Mar 28, 2005

    ^ You need to find some business of your own.....You must be a lonely, and bitter person.:scared:

    OP: Do what your heart feels right and the Lord will take care the rest. It is going to be hard and stressful no doubt but YOU can do it. Believe in yourself and if you want it badly...GO get it!

    I hope everything works out for you and follow your heart:love:
    Good luck
  22. socolagirl


    Jul 23, 2008
    First being a mom is the best. It gives you something to distract from all of the tension of med school, reminds you there is life out there. Being a single mom just makes it a little more challenging. I can promise you, you will be better at juggling, multi-tasking and staying up late for call than any of your classmates. Med school is nothing compared to motherhood and anyone who thinks otherwise obviously has no kids and should not have any!

    I am now in the Golden Year of 4th year, and my son is 5 and we get to do a lot together and I have not missed a tee ball game, birthday party or other major event in his life. I just had to juggle and plan ahead, you will be amazed at how willing faculty are to work with you.

    I just chose him over drinking binges and late night "study sessions" that weren't productive. Ummm life choices.

    Best of Luck

    PS Pediatrics rotation, you can sleep through it and ace it, you have hands on!!
    Vezza likes this.
  23. athensdoctobe


    Aug 7, 2008
    I just entered my 4th year of med school last month, and I have a daughter that's almost two years old. It's just the two of us at home. Med school is definitely more challenging with a child- I am glad that I stuck it out though. My daughter is the most wonderful thing in my life, and she is the light of my day- especially after spending long hours in the hospital. I hope you decide to go to med school. You must remember that it's quality of time spent with your child-- not quantity of time. At least that's what I tell myself after being on call for 30 hours :) Being a parent will put you far ahead a lot of your peers in med school, when it comes to dealing with different patient populations especially. Good luck!
    Vezza likes this.
  24. crstabel

    crstabel Junior Member 5+ Year Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    Yes, you can do it. I do not regret my decision - medicine is a calling for me and I have managed to get through w/out family support. I would suggest you not minimize the importance of supportive FAMILY who you can count on with kids in the equation.
    Good luck to you.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
    Vezza likes this.
  25. neurowill


    Dec 16, 2012

    Question for you. It may be too personal, if so, I apologize. Very recently single mother of a soon-to-be six month old boy. I don't see it being possible to work a full time (or even part time job) during medical school to pay/ contribute to bills during those years. Are you/ were you working during medical school since the divorce? Or will you be taking care of living expenses with loans? I am currently finishing up my pre-med science requirements and trying to figure out the logistics of things.
  26. neurowill


    Dec 16, 2012

    Question for you. I am a very newly single mother of a soon-to-be six month old. Logistically speaking, I dont see it being possible to work a part/ full time job during medical school (with things for my son and school). Were you/ are you taking care of those living expenses through student loans? I do not have any family (none at all other than my son). Trying to figure out how I can work this out.

    Thank you!
  27. AshCake


    Dec 30, 2012
    I'd like to thank every one of you who posted a positive and encouraging response. I am currently an undergrad pre-med student with three kids. Since having kids I was discouraged about school and didn't go, but I have a burning passion within me to become a doctor. It's all I dreamed of doing since I was a little girl. I know I have the intellectual ability, but am not 100% sure of what I can do without a good support system. I am still determined to try my best to realize my dreams and all of your posts brought joy to my heart. I am truly inspired to keep on pushing! Thank you all so much. You guys are awesome!:love:
    Vezza likes this.
  28. Ponderingmededu


    Mar 25, 2013
    Hey I hope this forum is still current! I am a single mom of a five year old boy going to school for nursing. More recently I don't feel like being a nurse will be enough I want more. I have been considering premed, but I have SO many questions! Can a single mom make it? Am I smart enough to make it through the classes? How am I going to pay for it if I'm already broke? Do I have the support I need? Can I work part time, take care of my son and go to med school? If no how do I pay for my living expenses? Finally, will my son despise me or turn out bad if I'm not always there? A lot of questions but if anyone can answer these for me and possibly ease my mind that would be splendid!
    Thank you for this blog!
    P.s. from my phone I apologize for any errors.
  29. SpecterGT260

    SpecterGT260 Catdoucheus 2+ Year Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    I am not aware of any single moms. That said, single or not, the reality is that during this time you will not be spending time with your daughter in the capacity you do right now. You will need to study quite a bit for the first two years. Maybe you will be able to manage this while still getting "quality" time in.... it's possible. 3rd year specifically you will need quite a bit of help. The school may have policies to help people out who are in your situation, but that doesn't really mean much. Departments are not going to change around their whole flow to accommodate the medical student with special circumstances. The way it will manifest is IF you are allowed the time to be home for your daughter you will see less and learn less and this will be reflected in your evals which will impact your ability to match successfully. Residency is a whole other ballgame depending on the specialty and some will be even less likely to accommodate your schedule. Medicine is an "opt in" set of circumstances and people are generally expected to be responsible for their decision as well as all others that may impact it. "Medicine" doesn't happen in a vacuum in one's life.

    Please note, I didn't say any of this is impossible. Just pointing out where the biggest conflicts will be.
  30. mmmmd

    mmmmd tasty 2+ Year Member

    Dec 9, 2011
    My mom did this. She was pregnant with my brother at age 18, so he would have been ~4 by the time she started medical school. It is possible, not easy, but entirely worth it. Let me know if you need someone to talk to and maybe I could hook y'all up. :thumbup:

    p.s. thank you, moms! :love:
  31. mama23


    Aug 14, 2013
    I just found your thread and I wanted to ask how was your school experience? I am a single mom and applying now for next year. Where did you go? Was it family friendly? Any advice?

    Thank you!
  32. ferning

    ferning SDN Lifetime Donor Lifetime Donor 2+ Year Member

    Jun 22, 2013
    Is this a thread where women are looking to be single moms?

    Please PM for help with this

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