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Philipanad's questions about PhD/fellowship/pregnancy

Philipanad's questions about PhD/fellowship/pregnancy

Old Mar 30th 2021, 8:54 am
  #1  
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Default Philipanad's questions about PhD/fellowship/pregnancy

Im in the US. Were not as progressive as a lot of other nations regarding maternity leave rights and our grad programs are a bit different.

Ive already put off grad school long enough. Im 28 and my husband is 30. We decided a few years ago to try and have kids and found that you cant simply blink and get pregnant. I put off starting my PhD in the hopes that wed get pregnant quickly. When it didnt happen, we decided to continue trying and Id apply. Bingo, one week after I apply, I get pregnant. I dont really see why it would be necessary for me to go through the entire application process again and wait a year. 4 months should be more than a sufficient maternity leave.

The programs I am applying for have 2 years of classes followed by 2-4 or more years of full-time research. I cant very well register for classes when Ill be giving birth in the middle of the semester. Thats why Im hoping theyll allow me to start a semester late. Id rather start a semester late than wait an entire year.

I am painfully aware of my chances for a miscarriage every minute of every day. I wouldnt have to tell them until I accept their offer in mid-April. Ill be far enough along by then that the risk of miscarriage will have decreased significantly.

Does anyone know how US fellowships handle a leave of absence? Does anyone have advice on how to breach the subject with my program?
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Old Mar 31st 2021, 5:09 am
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Default Re: Philipanad's questions about PhD/fellowship/pregnancy

Have you looked up what the maternity leave policies are at the schools you've applied to? That might tell you something; if nothing concrete, it would give you a taste of how they handle parental leave and family life. If you get accepted at several, it may even be a key data point in your decision. It seems like you might be in science? If so, look up whether there are women in science and engineering groups, see if they have returnships or return-to-work programs. At 28, you aren't straight out of undergrad, so some programs may apply to you.

Did you have any specific PIs in mind at the institutions? Look them up carefully. How well you're going to do with a young family is going to depend almost entirely on how supportive the PI is. Look up their groups, see if you can wrangle a conversation with any of them.

Otherwise, I agree you shouldn't tell the institutions anything until you accept a place. Starting a semester late wouldn't normally be a big problem, except that you may miss a class they only do once a year that is a prerequisite for the second semester's classes.
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