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When to have a baby- psych residency

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by PsychApplicant18, Nov 12, 2017.

  1. PsychApplicant18


    Oct 10, 2017
    When is the best time to have a baby during psych residency? Is it possible to do in second year or would one most likely have to wait until third year? Is there a way to ask residents about this during interviews without messing up your chances?
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  3. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Thank You for Smoking Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    May 22, 2008
    Deep in the heart of Texas
    Depends on the curriculum and schedule at whatever program you end up at, though I assume that most programs will be more flexible in the later years than earlier.

    We’ve had folks in our program have babies at all points in the process, from intern year through PGY-4. PGY-3 seems to be the most common since we have no inpatient, weekend, or call duties and the hours are typical office hours.
    PsychApplicant18 likes this.
  4. OldPsychDoc

    OldPsychDoc Senior Curmudgeon Physician Moderator Emeritus SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Dec 2, 2004
    Left of Center
    With residency, as with Life itself--there is no "good" time.
    When life happens, you roll with the punches. There may be times when it inconveniences your program or colleagues more or less, but there's only so much you can control in life. If you think it may be an issue, look around for residents who've taken parental leave in the last couple of years and ask them how supportive the program was or not.

    (I'm aware of one program recently who had an intern show up for orientation and go into labor the next day. The rules of the Match and interviewing expressly forbid programs from asking things like "Are you now or do you ever intend to be with child?" so it's not like a program could take that into account. I understand that said resident started internship on maternity leave, and did just fine upon returning a few weeks later.)
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017
  5. boogaaloo

    boogaaloo Banned Banned Account on Hold

    Nov 13, 2017
    Psych residency is SO chill that you can literally have four babies in four years and still do well on your rotations.
    michaelrack and QueenJames like this.
  6. OldPsychDoc

    OldPsychDoc Senior Curmudgeon Physician Moderator Emeritus SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Dec 2, 2004
    Left of Center
  7. birchswing

    birchswing Patient/Interested in Psychiatry 5+ Year Member

    Nov 17, 2011
    Just curious since residencies have a predetermined length of 4 years and no ostensible economic motivation to foster employee loyalty, do they offer more than FMLA of 12 weeks for maternity?

    None of this applies to me in any way, but curious for some reason.
    PsychApplicant18 likes this.
  8. Blitz2006

    Blitz2006 10+ Year Member

    Nov 20, 2006
    Not all residencies are chill. There are residencies that have q4 24 hour on inpatient, 2-3 months of nightfloat in intern year. But yes, it is chill compared to GSurg/OBGYN, etc., but can still be very stressful at times.
    Mad Jack likes this.
  9. Bubba888


    Oct 20, 2017
    I'm not a resident yet but I have kids. If I were to do it over again and had no other factors in deciding when to start our family I would have done it in 3rd year or beyond. By then a lot of the call is done and there is a more consistent schedule. I didn't realize before I had kids how much I would stress about not spending enough time with them. In the beginning I lay awake at night calculating hours in my head for each rotation I had coming. Everyone is different though and people have kids in much more time consuming programs.
    bme94, valid username and Blitz2006 like this.
  10. Bartelby

    Bartelby 10+ Year Member

    Mar 15, 2007
    In general PGY3 or 4 is the easiest time for prolonged leave, but as OPD says you can roll with it any time. After maternity or paternity leave though, having time to raise the child would be easier in 3rd or 4th year in most programs. At any point, you will really need support whether that is a partner with more flexibility, family help, hired help, or some combination of all of the above.

    Take a look at the maternity and paternity leave policies of the program. Some programs are much more generous than others, and you should factor this into your decision. If you are able to find out through the grapevine how programs have dealt with residents taking maternity or paternity leave in the past, that would also be very helpful. Some programs are just going to be more supportive.

    I would probably avoid bringing this up in your interviews. Programs are not allowed to ask whether you are planning to have a child, but if you put that out there it could make it a point of consideration and a potential source of bias against you.
  11. Shikima

    Shikima Physician 10+ Year Member

    Oct 15, 2006
    Totally have your baby in 3rd year because it's a chill year. Clinic only.
    Blitz2006 likes this.
  12. MacDonaldTriad

    MacDonaldTriad 2+ Year Member

    Look, no matter how birth friendly your program is, your classmates will be taking your call. The culture around this isn't in the administration's control as much as you might think. The work load is constant and the number of Indians doing the bulk of the work with chief's watching is fixed. If you can find a PGY-I who will plan a baby during PGY-II, go ahead and leave during PGY-II as long as that happens every year, all things will be equal, because there will be an out of cycle PGY-II who should be a PGY-III. The effect size is more minimal by PGY-III and almost gone by PGY-IV. The friendliness of the happy news for PGY-IIs and PGY-Is depends upon you classmate's tolerance more than anything else leadership can do. If we had a shelf of relief psychiatrists to draw from, this might be better, but if such a war chest existed, no one ever told me about it. This is the reality and all programs struggle with this. Larger programs of course do better at absorbing such events; and yes, life happens so don't feel too guilty about it. Repercussions will be driven by your peers, not your mentors that much. Your mentors will try and minimize the repercussions with variable success.
    NCgirl85 likes this.
  13. PsychApplicant18


    Oct 10, 2017
    I really appreciate the replies-- very honest and helpful. I wish it was something that was more openly discussed, particularly because psychiatry programs should care about outside life/ wellness, but unfortunately it feels very hush hush and not even open to be talked about at dinners with the residents.
  14. Celexa


    Oct 15, 2017
    I have interviewed at programs where this was discussed openly and spontaneously. Programs do differ in their supportiveness and in how well the schedules can absorb being down a resident. I hope you find a good fit at a program that is able to handle maternity leave well.
  15. Ironspy

    Ironspy 7+ Year Member

    Sep 29, 2008
    While I wouldn't ask about having a baby in residency during interviews per se, it's totally fair game to ask about single v. married residents v. residents with partner + kid(s). It'll give you some useful information and if they're put off by this line of questioning its not likely a place you want to be if you're considering being pregnant in residency. We've had a bunch of babies in my program and no one has imploded over it.
    PsychApplicant18 likes this.
  16. boogaaloo

    boogaaloo Banned Banned Account on Hold

    Nov 13, 2017
    Also, don't ask about this during your interviews. This is one of the two things they are not supposed to ask you, and that is so for a reason.
    valid username likes this.
  17. NontradCA

    NontradCA American Hero 5+ Year Member

    Sep 19, 2012
    Trump Tower
    I’ve had a couple interviews where it was brought up. Programs seem to be highly variable on how supportive they are. One program I’ve interviewed at had given an intern with a newborn half days and no call for the entire year.
  18. valid username

    valid username 7+ Year Member

    Aug 29, 2009
    My children were discussed in my recent interview (was fair game). The interviewer said something very telling. "I'm not at all concerned, you took them to medical school with you and they're nearly grown!"

    I definitely would NOT bring up a child for which those two things are not true.
  19. lyla

    lyla 2+ Year Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Don't bring it up during your interview. Like someone else above said, it may cause some (inevitably implicit) bias by some program directors that will only hurt you.

    Have the baby and let the program and other residents sort out the changes that will be needed to be made to the call schedule in your absentia.
    Offer to pay them back with equal call when you're back from leave.

    That's about it. Life goes on. It sucks when everyone has to take extra call, but that is life, your personal life and family should always come first. Be selfish in that regard, but pay back your peers when you are able to do so.
  20. PsychApplicant18


    Oct 10, 2017
    Thank you all again for your responses. Is it okay to mention to people that I am married or would that imply a baby may be on the way in the near future? Its hard when the interviewers ask such personal questions and knowing how to answer them on the spot.
  21. PsychApplicant18


    Oct 10, 2017
    ^curios about this as well
  22. OldPsychDoc

    OldPsychDoc Senior Curmudgeon Physician Moderator Emeritus SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Dec 2, 2004
    Left of Center
    Yes, but taking more than the minimum maternity leave generally will require you to extend your time in residency to some degree.

    It's not legal for us to ask this (or any other question about marital status, etc. I personally appreciate it when applicants volunteer such info, though--I want to know who they have as supports in their life. I only ask about S.O. if they've specifically divulged their status in personal statement, CV (lots of people put "spending time with my spouse/dogs/cats/kids" in that Other Activities field), or interview.
    We (speaking for our program at least) don't see it as a negative, and potential for parenthood has never come up in evaluation discussions or ranking. That said--I know it's awkward if you're asked one of those "illegal" questions--generally applicants don't want to be perceived as non-forthcoming. If you don't want to respond, politely deflect the question, or change the subject. Usually it's just a poorly trained volunteer interviewer. If it's malignant, I'd imagine you be getting those vibes at other points as well.
    birchswing likes this.
  23. 3lefts


    Jun 27, 2016
    Whelp! I've been asking about this in my interviews! hopefully at least one program won't hold it against me...
  24. PsychApplicant18


    Oct 10, 2017
    I really appreciate your response!
  25. Bartelby

    Bartelby 10+ Year Member

    Mar 15, 2007
    I think saying you are married would be fine. Married residents are pretty common. In some cases, programs even want to know to help recruit you. When I interviewed, one program (in a follow-up call) was interested in selling my fiancee on the city because they knew that would play a significant role in my decision.
  26. NCgirl85

    NCgirl85 10+ Year Member

    Jun 20, 2007
    3rd or 4th year is the best time to have a baby during psych residency due to less (or absent) call. That said, I unexpectedly became pregnant in PGY-1 and had my baby at the end of first year... it all worked out fine. As mentioned by others above, this is easier on your colleagues if you are at a larger program.
    Another thing to consider... I doubt that many programs (if any) offer paid maternity leave. Unfortunately this just doesn't exist in the US much. You will be guaranteed 12 weeks leave under FMLA, but may be unpaid. You should be able to take any sick leave you have accumulated, which is paid. This is why a lot of people at my program had babies in 4th year... they accumulated quite a bit of sick leave (2 weeks per year I believe) so continued getting paid during much of their time off.

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