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PhD & Pregnant - been there done that/doing that?

(98 Posts)

15 months to go (but reliably informed funding extended for 2 more years)
Data collection started this August through to May
Baby due mid June (unlikely to be early)
Already have 1 DC
Bat shit crazy?

Plan is to inform the (all male) supervisory team after 20wk scan so Feb time I think, to work v hard until end of May, then to take 7 months off with some mat pay, then return with 6 months of funding but switch to PT spread over a year to write up. Doable?

For those of you who have told your supervisory team how did they take and can I ask how you phrased your news and request for leave?

Equimum Fri 09-Nov-12 14:03:13

I'm nearly 34 weeks and start leave on the 1st December. When I go on leave I'll have completed two months of my second year and am planning to return in June (when six months funded leave finishes). I've finished my data collection so am using my last few weeks to make sure all the transcribing etc is complete and I've got notes of where my thinking is at the moment.

Like others have said, I initially intended to be really productive while pregnant but that has gone out the window. I've found it really hard to concentrate for most of my pregnancy and to be honest, I'm far more focused on baby now. Luckily, my supervisors have been very supportive and are really positive about me returning to study with a small baby next year.

Askja Fri 09-Nov-12 14:18:52

Me too! Had DD1 in my third year after (just!) managing to get all the lab work done. Took 6 months off (although I did do a conference talk after 4 months) and then went back part-time. Now pregnant with DD2 and really need to finish writing up before she arrives - eek!

It is doable... but hard work. Would recommend doing a bit of writing/a talk or something as soon as you can to keep the brain working during mat leave. Supportive partner/family/friends to help with childcare during the writing up are invaluable.

wilderumpus Fri 09-Nov-12 18:07:05

me, meee! Am 13 weeks with DC 2 (DS born in the second year of PhD; mc'ed earlier this year) and submitting next month! eek!

baby no.1 I practically went to part time and daydreamed a lot... but with this one I HAVE to submit and am dreaming of being 20 weeks at xmas having submitted, with nothing to do but eat chocolate and get crochet!

is totally manageable and so much easier once the baby isnt such a baby any more smile i found I liked having my sense of self and brain back BUT for me having the mat leave break without any work whatsoever was absolutely amazing; I did not feel any imperitive to keep my hand (brain) in at all! smile

supervisor I told straight away with DS and was warned I would hardly be able to parent him with my PhD-baby too (this was bollocks) and this time I haven't said anything yet! better do tho in case my viva ends up being when am in serious baby brain/nesting mode grin

exciting to meet other PhD mommas and hear your stories!

wilderumpus Fri 09-Nov-12 18:08:34

ps I was esrc funded and this didn't create any issues, in fact the mat leave package was very generous so you'd be a fool not to take it!!!

ICompletelyKnowAboutGuineaPigs Fri 09-Nov-12 18:27:59

Is is sad that I git ridiculously excited by this thread - especially as I scanned down the list and saw I am not alone!

I'm in the final year of my PhD and havingDC3 next April (sometimes I think I actually am insane!)

I started my UG degree as a mature student pg with DS and did my MA whilst pg with DD - obviously I only feel comfortable studying whilst pregnant grin !

My supervisors have come up with a plan of action regarding what I need to achieve before maternity leave which I am desperately scrabbling working towards and this should leave me in a good position to pick it back up for my remaining 5 months.

It's so good to know I'm not the only one doing a PhD and having babies, everyone in my department is young, free and (mainly) single and sit at their desks from early morning to late evening which makes me feel very lazy inadequate.

Back to the thread, please don;t leave me fellow Phd'ers!

I am now utterly terrified of the supervisory team finding out and how I am going to tell them. I am (I think) now 10 weeks and I am sodding exhausted, I was intending on working this morning but have managed an hour lying in bed with the laptop propped up on my knees. Don't get me wrong, we are very very happy that we are having another but I am sure I wasn't this tired last time!

As for teh PhD students which sit there from 8am to 8pm, I know a few who are 75-80% of the time of FB and others who have so much time they get very caught up on tangents, if there is one thing which can be said to be true about my research its that I do not get caught up in tangents!!!

wilderumpus Sun 11-Nov-12 12:54:00

another the tiredness will lift soon ( I know you know this but it is nice to be reminded!) smile

I know how you feel. am getting my first draft in for next week so now really is crunch time, and with DH home it is good to try and work while he looks after DS... BUT yesterday I was SO tired and had terrible pg brain fog (am 13+5)! I couldn't work, all I could do was lie on the settee/in my study (!). I felt awful about it. Today is better tho... is how it goes isn't it?!

Why are you so worried about telling your supervisory team? Are they quite sexist? If it will help it might be good to tell them and go armed with a new timeline of project completion? to allay their fears and show how incredibly, amazingly organised and on top of it all you are grin

am quite nervous about telling them this time... but only because they know about my mc earlier in the year and my consequent 4 months on sick leave (depression)... and I just don't like talking about being pregnant with my supervisor! He is about 70 and i love him like a granddad... and i don't want him to know about all the sex I have been having to keep getting pg! hehe blush

completely I totally echo another with the whole 8-8 and wasting time thing! And on 'writers retreats' that some of my PhD friends have been on they say you should only write/work for four hours a day anyway!

good luck working mamas! am clearly skiving smile

wilde sorry for your loss, thank you for reassurance on tiredness - yes I hope the tiredness will but we are (at the risk of outing myself) trying to totally renovate a house in time for Christmas and DH is working FT as well. Something has to give and I suspect it will be the house tbh.

I think because my team is made up of the most senior researchers (all Profs) and they have never had a student run over by more than 3 months, their expectations are crazy high. I have a mentor on campus who although doesn't work in my field is a good source of support, after a long hard struggle she goes on maternity leave imminently and I will miss her advice. I haven't yet told her, mainly because DH and I have only just processed the news (found out at 9 weeks).

Might have a wee kip then try to do some more.

wilderumpus Sun 11-Nov-12 13:27:12

aw well, that is a lot on your plate!

my sups are profs too but so kind and the kind of people who do not push at all, just quietly encourage from the background. am very lucky I think, compared to some of my colleagues who are practically bullied into meeting deadlines. If they got pg their sup would go crackers!

have a nap; lovely!

ICompletelyKnowAboutGuineaPigs Sun 11-Nov-12 16:42:14

I kind of dreaded telling my supervisors too. Not because I thought they would be unsupportive but because I have this is the third time I've had to tell one of my supervisors about being pregnant blush Neither of them have children are work all the hours in the day. I on the other hand have three days of childcare a week, teach two out of three of them and am attempting to complete a full time PhD in just one day - add to this another child and I am fairly sure that they think I am crazy!

Good to know that the 8-8ers are probably FBing rather than MNing which I definitely don't do, obviously wink

Can't wait to finish teaching in a few weeks, so desperately need to catch up on work. More importantly though I really need to finish my fieldwork but am struggling to get focus groups together. Anyone had any experience of doing 'online focus groups'? scraping the barrel I know

dontcarehow Sun 11-Nov-12 16:54:35

who do you need to interview? i tried using facebook for my MA research and it was a bit of a disaster i just wouldn't bother.

i'll hopefully be submitting by the end of the year but i'm due feb so dont know if i'll get my viva before the baby. god knows how i'll cope with a viva and a small baby!

wilderumpus Sun 11-Nov-12 17:51:57

dont is there any way you could put off the viva until a suitable time for you or is it led by them; in which case could you put off submitting until after the baby is born at all - even if it is written before then?!

completely I don't know anything about online focus groups. Are you able to say a bit more about who you are interviewing?! I did group interviews out in India when 17-20 weeks pg and used a research assistant to help me a lot? Being so preggo I couldn't travel on the public transport/be far away from food/water/bed if food poisoning struck and it was monsoon season so could have been cut off or stranded on my todd at any time! A research assistant really helped and I paid for it out of my funding money (did you say you had funding?).

When I had DS my sup told me not to bother with teaching etc and just concentrate on getting my PhD as us mums have so little time. I work three days a week... I wonder why you are teaching so much and not able to work?! (being nosy, I know all PhDs are different and personally don't intend to go into academia afterwards so teaching isn't high on my priorities).

ICompletelyKnowAboutGuineaPigs Sun 11-Nov-12 18:06:19

Wild teaching isn't high on my priorities either but unfortunately it is a condition of my funding. If it was up to me I definitely wouldn't be teaching at the moment.

Unfortunately I won't be able to use a research assistant but I am getting a quote for the transcribing as that is so time consuming. I'm interviewing practically anybody! My research doesn't indicate any particular sample group. I have people interested but trying to co-ordinate them seems to be a difficult task. Think I need to do a big push just to get it finished and out of the way.

wilderumpus Sun 11-Nov-12 18:11:19

ah bums that you have to teach. daft if you ask me, and they want you to finish confused

transcribing is SUCH a pain, you have my sympathies, good idea to try and get someone else to do it!

good luck getting your fieldwork done smile is such a milestone - and doing the fieldwork itself is such a huge learning curve (I found anyway!)

NovemberAli Sun 11-Nov-12 19:38:39

Had DD1 2 weeks after submitting, was in the lab until a week before due date as was working full time and PhD was part-time. It was a bit of a crazy year, used all my annual leave to write and didn't have a social life but was worth it. Had my viva when DD was 4 months old - had to explain to examiners I might have to have a break to BF DD as she had very helpfully decided to refuse bottles grin.

Splinters Mon 12-Nov-12 10:59:10

I worried for four months over the summer about telling my supervisor (no children, rumoured to work a hundred hours a week) and finally did it in an email just before the beginning of term when I got concerned that she might hear it from someone else. I then spent five hours too scared to read her reply. When I eventually opened it it began, "Dear Splinters, That is wonderful news. Congratulations!"

Askja Mon 12-Nov-12 12:41:12

NovemberAli - that's encouraging. DD2 is due end of Jan and I still have two chapters to write. Wondering how to fit in submitting and viva before she arrives, but maybe leaving the viva 'til afterwards would be ok.

I had to tell my supervisors very early as we use irradiated samples but luckily they both have kids themselves and were very supportive.

Well I am so relieved to see even more of us here, I have my first MW appt today at 2pm which makes it all very real.

I got to my desk at 8.40 today after nursery dropoff and this is the first time I have checked MN, working socks off.

Nursery was always 3 days a week until Sept when I decided to up the game a bit and ask for 4 days. As a sweetener for my supervisory team DH and I have agreed to extend that until Easter, will be a big financial hit but exponentially more can be done on my PhD while I'm in the 2nd tri and hopefully feeling better, that means I can with any luck complete my data collection before end of May when I think realistically I will have to go onto ML.

ICKAGP I have now said I won't teach or demo for the remainder of my PhD, I don't think I want to go into academia and for me it is relatively mundane, I prefer being out on site with clients so focussing on that in a few years time.

Quodlibet Mon 12-Nov-12 13:02:11

I am also on the final furlong - supposed to be handing in my first complete draft this week, although finding out i am pregnant and consequenty having to up the ante on the housebuying search (which eats all your time) means my draft completion plan has gone on the total wonk and I'm really behind. Going to blitz as much as I can tomorrow and Wednesday and then hand in as is, as the discussion/feedback will be focusing I think. My aim is to get 2nd draft done by January and hand in with eyes on a feb completion. I cannot wait til this is off my plate!

BeadyEyes Wed 14-Nov-12 07:44:55

You guys are all amazing! I am only in very very early pregnancy (fingers crossed) and reading this gives me hope!

Assuming my pregnancy continues (things are not looking great, but that's another story), I'm planning to submit about 2 months before my due date. I can't wait to knock it off - I have major PhD fatigue and hate my thesis and its main argument! shock

I would also have to interview for postdocs (assuming I get interviews!) at about 4 months, so some nice baggy outfits may be in order...

dontcarehow Wed 14-Nov-12 09:39:41

Beady, I know exactly what you mean about hating the main argument... I'm so over it! good luck with the interviews

Eugh - yes I understand, I have two areas of research, the first 30% and the second (clearly) 70%, the first area due to various reasons has taken up the best part of two damn years so far and I am over it like just bored witless. But now have to write it up as a thesis chapter and also a paper for publication.

wilderumpus Wed 14-Nov-12 10:27:17

haha! I am so bored of mine too! and the theory, OMG if I have to say AGAIN about foucault bla bla I will POP smile

beady hope you are ok? I have had three mcs in the past year and spotting with this pg AND tried to do the PhD (was signed off for a while to cope); if there is anything you want to talk about plaese do pm me thanks

I handed in my intention to submit form this week smile exciting! However, my first complete draft is due in any day now and it looks like I will take about 5/6 more days of solid work to finish... but DS is only in childcare until tomorrow and then i have friday and the weekend in the way before I can get back to it sad

Don't think DH will appreciate me having to work over another weekend, i promised it would be finished by this weekend. Oh dear!

does anyone else find that having to finish soon is affecting how much they think about being pg? now the symptoms have calmed down a bit I am so focused on work I am not anything like as aware of the pg as with DS when i practically stopped working to read everything I could about being pg and daydreamed and slept In fact, I have a consultant appt tomorrow because of recurrent mc and i will have to cancel to work instead.

Xmas, and hand in and then I will naval gaze smile

better crack on eh?! bon courage all!

Quodlibet Wed 14-Nov-12 11:17:14

Wilderumpus I am desperately trying to finish first draft too - really I should have given it to my supers to read at the end of last week. Just editing and making things agree now but I am really quite unexcited about it all!

Just have to keep thinking if I can get it all done today and off my plate I can relax for a bit. Am desperately hoping that first draft will pass muster without my supers suddenly deciding that there's a major flaw which requires a lot of reworking as I don't know where I would summon the mental energy from!

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