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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?

PeshwariNaan Thu 08-Nov-12 11:04:11

I'm doing it, but I'm in a US program so much different than your situation. My program is 7-9 years, I'm beginning year 8 and have been writing up for four years now. (Our program requires 5 years of teaching, 2 years of coursework at the beginning and 1 year of oral examination prep.) I've actually finished all my writing - each chapter takes about a year to be individually approved by committee - and will need to revise and submit a final draft with intro and conclusion after baby is born. I'm crossing my fingers that my committee will play along with me and not make it too difficult. Revision always takes bloody ages.

(If anyone here is considering an American PhD, don't do it. Seriously.)

Anyway, yours sounds much more do-able, I'm sure someone who's doing a nice and sensible UK PhD will be along to reassure you and give you better advice. Just wanted to say "good luck" and would appreciate any good wishes thrown my way, too. thanks

PeshwariNaan Thu 08-Nov-12 11:06:02

By the way, your timeline will totally depend on what type of program you're in, and your schedule will need to be approved as do-able by your supervisors. It's great that you have funding, though.

mopsytop Thu 08-Nov-12 11:11:35

I'm doing it! Finished fieldwork, was supposed to be finished writing up before baby, but was v. ill during pregnancy and had to take term off. Just finishing writing up after nearly 1 year of mat leave. If baby is in nursery and you can get into work 2-3 days a week is doable but just factors in things like your baby getting every bug going in nursery and having to take time off - I have had to take off at least 1/3 of all my days due to baby being ill. It's hard work! But doable.

Baby will go into nursery with DC1 (who goes 3 FT days a week) and the fieldwork is social science not lab based.

mopsytop Thu 08-Nov-12 11:39:24

Me too. I would have had major difficulties doing the fieldwork while pregnant as I was so ill, luckily had finished it first. Just bear in mind that working until end of May is not necessarily going to happen and plan contingency. You might just be too tired or whatever - I ended up with high bp and was constantly in and out of hospital for monitoring, for example, which meant I couldn't work very well.

That is a very good point - I will plan contingency, I didn't find out until last Friday so haven't had long to get my head around the news! Ultimately though the health of the baby and myself comes first (and second) and then my family, my PhD is important but I can only do my best. And life has a tendency to throw unexpected issues into the mix!

mopsytop Thu 08-Nov-12 11:55:30

I think the most important thing is not only to get as much done before the baby arrives as you can, but also to have a very clear (written down) plan of what remains to do, in as much detail as possible, so you can pick up the threads again easily when you go back. It is so doable, I am doing it! It is obviously taking me a lot longer but you have to fit kids into your career at some stage, if you want to have them, and whatever stage you do it at, it will impact your career somewhat. Doing it during grad school is not a bad idea at all, really.

Splinters Thu 08-Nov-12 12:04:59

I am! 24+5 with my first baby and in the third year of my doctorate on a history topic. I've done all my archival research and am desperately trying to get it all catalogued so I know what I've got to work with when I finish maternity leave.. Was also v ill over the summer though, so somewhat behind.

Well although it was a bit of a shock it had been discussed and we are able to afford the double nursery fees as DC1 will be eligible for some free funding by the time I finish mat leave and when DC2 starts.

I am a 'mature' student and although we had intended to wait until I was almost finished/viva stage then that would have made me 37 and the risks of complications do increase whereas now I am that bit younger and hopefully teh pg will be as easy as my first.

And yy to the good outline plan of what is left to do

leanabh2013 Thu 08-Nov-12 12:44:16

Me, sort of! I'm a research masters student who should be going on to PhD next year. Like you, we planned the pregnancy as I'm 32 and so would be 36 if I waited to finish a PhD (and I work too, so no certainty that I'd manage in 3 years). Really glad to see this thread, as I thought I must be completely mad, but if I am, I'm in good company! The plan is to do as much groundwork before May as possible and then write up the following year and go into the next year's funding cycle.

I had to tell the university very early, as unfortunately I've been really unwell (I'm only 11 weeks now, and they've known for 3 or 4 weeks as I'm NEVER EVER off and they were worried), and I have to say they have been fab. I can understand your reservations though: as a funded student myself, I was worried about what they might say. My scholarship is from the university and so I don't have to worry about stopping and starting, but it might be worth you making preliminary enquiries (if you haven't already) if you are research council funded, as they might have specific policies. I think the great thing about a research degree is that it is just that: you are ultimately in charge and so it isn't such a big deal to pick it up and put it down as long as you are organised, which you obviously are! I've got a couple of taught bits in my MRes, and they are a pain at the moment, as I'm missing classes while I cuddle the loo/try to stay upright etc. I've decided to do much the same as you: bump will hatch in May, I'll probably stop until Christmas, but go back sooner if I can. I'll have 9 months off my part-time teaching job though so that I can phase the return more manageably.

If you don't mind me asking, how old was your first child when you went back to university? My SIL is doing an undergrad degree, but her boy is 4 and so free nursery care has kicked in for them. I'm a bit worried about how I'll juggle it all, especially if we have another before I'm done!

Thanks again for starting this thread!

Quodlibet Thu 08-Nov-12 12:48:59

I am! Although I am in the final furlong of writing up and the very early stages of pregnancy. Just hope that morning sickness stays away/is manageable enough that I can plough through the final draft, as my funding has run out so I am already on borrowed financial time.

What is very hard is concentrating on your writing when you've just discovered you are up the duff, and obviously therefore need to read half the internet.

leanabh2013 My DC1 will be nearly 3 when bump lands (all being well), they started nursery when I started the PhD so they were about 6mo but we staggered the first month by a lot of juggling. DH gets childcare vouchers which helps and we are v lucky he is ain a well paying job otherwise we could never afford for me to do a PhD.

quodlibet thats almost mandatory the reading of the internet. atm just focus on what buggy you want, names, due date, star sign, baby clothes, baby cot and that should keep you busy grin

mopsytop Thu 08-Nov-12 14:26:43

ha quod I was the exact same! In fact I joined mumsnet the day I found out I was pregnant! Still here nearly a year later!

leanabh if you are research council funded you get a year's mat leave. And a big chunk of it is paid. I timed it really badly, had my baba as my funding ran out. Doh! In my defence, I thought I'd be finished by that time, I didn't bargain on a) getting pregnant the first month we started trying! oops and b) being so ill for so many months.

Splinters Thu 08-Nov-12 14:44:59

Oh my, the internet. But I have to be on MN, it's so educational! Just a shame it's absolutely nowt to do with my thesis.

Research council funding is amazing. I already knew I was extremely lucky to have it -- but a year off, six months of it paid, no questions asked.. And actually it's good knowing that I am required to come back and finish afterwards. Because I do want my doctorate, after all this!

Kopparbergkate Thu 08-Nov-12 15:28:30

if you're mad, I'm mad too! Will be 18months in to a science phd when I have DC2, a year's mat leave (thank you EPSRC!) and then finish up in a couple of years hopefully...

Great - thats seven of us! Which is six more than I knew about before I posted the thread. I can it seems have up to a year off with 6 months funded but will probably curtail that to 8-9 months off as otherwise I feel I will become too detached from the study.

dontcarehow Thu 08-Nov-12 17:47:20

i'd second the contingency plans, make the most of times when you feel good to get as much work/planning done as possible. my working hours went down from 9 hours a day to being lucky to manage 3 at the height of morning sickness. its better now i feel better, but i still find it difficult to concentrate. and also reading everything on the internet! but i put that down to the inquisitiveness of the academic mind. i'm almost finished writing up though so not much advice for preparing for the return. good luck!

BigFairy Thu 08-Nov-12 17:52:12

I'm having a baby (my first) in the third year of my funded PhD. I expect it will be hard to finish after taking a year off, but it's not all bad as I get the first 6 months of my maternity leave funded, which seems like a good deal and I mainly work from home and it's very flexible. I've decided to take the maximum leave I'm allowed partly as I want to and partly as since I mainly work from home, I'm sure I could ease back into work unofficially should I find I want to, and as I'm not on track to finish on time, that would be a good thing. I reckon I'll take about 2 years to finish assuming I change to part time, then it'll be time to have another baby. I really hope to finish before having a second though!

LauraPalmerPlusOne Thu 08-Nov-12 18:20:07

I'm doing one, too. In fact, I'll be 38 weeks at my one-year upgrade viva. (Luckily, I've got a panel full of sensitive men... wink)

Several of us were on a PhD & Pregnancy thread a few months ago...but I think we all became too busy to keep it up!

mopsytop Thu 08-Nov-12 19:31:08

Good tip to keep yourself in the game while on leave is to write your postdoc/job spiel. It really makes you think about your research and how to present it, which keeps if fresh in your mind ...

BeadyEyes Fri 09-Nov-12 11:03:00

Marking my place - just found out I'm pregnant, and am in the last 6 months of my PhD! (yikes)....

Splinters Fri 09-Nov-12 11:35:00

Like BigFairy I'm having a year off starting in January, but definitely planning to get back into work in the authumn term next year -- will still be able to use libraries, go to seminars etc while on leave. Really hope my great plan works out (I've ordered a quiet baby)!

june2013 Fri 09-Nov-12 12:28:59

Such a reassuring thread! I'm not far gone (8weeks) and haven't told my supervisor yet. Just at the beginning of my programme, hoping to finish year one in 9 months before I go off 6months...

Women's officer at university was REALLY helpful for support, info and resources. I recommend it if there's one where you are!

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!

wilderumpus Wed 14-Nov-12 11:38:54

quod I feel your pain and am glad I have someone to share it with!! Mine was meant to be in for last tues and won't be in until weds. I am really enjoying it though, it feels very satisfying to me getting it all squeaky clean. I really hope I don't have much re-writing to do either, it will be a shock if I do... Will you have some time off between sending it off (I have to print mine and post it!) and getting it back? I cannot WAIT to have a few days of nothing to do!

oh and I am going to go to my mc appt tomorrow; DH has the morning off and i haven't cancelled it and it is pretty important. Realised phD is taking over my brain too much and other aspects of life do count too! confused

megandraper Wed 14-Nov-12 11:50:34

I have had 3 babies since beginning my PhD. Have 2 more years (part-time) to go... Whenever I see my (male) supervisors, I think their eyes go worriedly to my waistline (tbh I look pregnant regardless now...)

I'm going baggy clothes hunting on Saturday morning, I'm hoping as its winter then I can hide until 16 weeks (after Christmas break) but might ask the RC funding coordinator for advice before then on when I have to let the funding body know. I don't work with chemicals or in a lab so I'm hoping to work until 38 weeks.

beady hope you get some answers and all is well

Quodlibet Wed 14-Nov-12 23:49:35

I HAVE EMAILED IT! (OK, without a conclusion as yet but figure I'll be better placed to write that after my supervisor feedback).

Right, tomorrow I am just being a lazy pregnant lady who is enjoying herself and nothing else. Sharing the news with the folks tomorrow too.

wilderumpus Thu 15-Nov-12 10:25:49

quod congrats! I am nearly, nearly there, will be done by tues at the latest, I am SO envious of how relaxed you must feel smile

Interesting that you have left the concl until after feedback... maybe I'll do that too <remembers time I handed in a whole chapter to be told that actually, I didn't need it at all>

quod well done - swooning in envy wink

how are we all this beautiful Monday morning?

Its a five day FT week for me this week having secured extra childcare. I am shattered and queasy but a Twix has at least fixed the nausea

Literature Review, and first chapter needs completing by end of term along with a new evaluation technique for my data - possible? Maybe. Christmas is at the back of my mind though and I'm almost 11 weeks - its flying by.

dontcarehow Wed 21-Nov-12 20:16:32

just thinking, does anyone know if we get any kind of maternity allowance if we've been on a phd stipend for the last 3 years? i'm guessin i dont since i've not been paying national insurance, well at least not consistently.

redwellybluewelly Thu 22-Nov-12 14:13:18

depends if you are research council funded or not I think

redwellybluewelly Sat 15-Dec-12 23:15:52


How is everyone? winding down for end of term?

ruthietoothie Sun 16-Dec-12 12:21:43

Hi everyone, what a great thread! Fab to know there's so many of us out there trying to combine the old phd with pg / motherhood.

I'll throw my hat in the ring too. I've already had one baby during phd and now in early stages of second pregnancy (got equivalent of about 15 months ft remaining). I'm worried that it's particularly bad timing as I'll probably go off on mat leave just as I'm about to start the main writing up (hope it doesn't loom over me too much while I'm off)

Also nervous about telling sups though expect they'll be ok about it. Last time told them one said 'there goes my completion rate', which was obviously the last thing I wanted to hear.

In some ways I do think phd and motherhood combines quite well, especially as can be flexible with when and how you work. Think hardest thing is trying to write when had hardly any sleep and I did find it hard to get back into 'academic ways' after being off.

On mat allowance query, if you've been doing some teaching and been paid you might well be entitled to mat allowance, though possibly not on basis of phd stipend on its own (depends on whether it's treated as income for tax purposes)

Anyway good luck to everyone with their pregnancies and their PhDs!!

dontcarehow Sun 16-Dec-12 19:17:52

thanks guys, and hello ruthie. my funding already ran out but i did do some teaching in the first/ second year and have done odd bits of research. think i need to speak to someone, no idea who though...! i can imagine how long and complicated the conversation will be, and being passed from person to person while they work out what happens for phd students! i'll let you all know how it goes when i've spoken to them in case anyone else is in the same position

SantasWildeRumpus Mon 17-Dec-12 15:03:00

Yay the thread is back smile

I am not sure about maternity allowance if you have finished the funding time dont... you must be entitled to something from someone tho?! <helpful>

I handed in my first complete draft a couple of weeks ago and have nearly finished editing and changing it (15 pages to go!) I cannot believe it is written and edited! woot! then am doing prelims, sorting out the bibliography... final read through after xmas... then submission on the 31st smile

how you doing quod?

another how long have you got? is your lit review part of the first chapter (intro)? Am sure you'll be fine brew

am 19 weeks tomorrow and for anyone in early pg ohhhhh it gets so much easier to work in the second tri! My brain has come back! and it is lovely working and being grumpy with little happy prods in your tum grin

good luck all!

Quodlibet Mon 17-Dec-12 21:55:46

Hello all!

Santas well done! I am jealous - I am reworking my complete draft, which has required going back over some quite complex reading to define a position on a couple of key things that I wasn't clear about in my first draft. I had hoped to be nearly done by now but no, have still got the entire re-edit to do sad. It is hard going as I have been hit with the pregnancy tiredness stick and am also slightly struggling to care! I have got to try to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel.

I've got my 12 week scan next Monday so that is playing on my mind a bit too - plus haven't finished xmas shopping, agghrhgghgh.

redwellybluewelly Mon 17-Dec-12 22:07:05

I n'ced wink but I have 25weeks of pregnancy left and about three days until the end of term which is the lit review deadline

The lit review deadline will just have to sail by but the amount I have achieved in the past few weeks is nothing short of mind boggling,I have determined my data collection method, I have loads of people interested in taking part in the research and I have faint whisperings of a job at the end of the tunnel. One reason to have our second & last DC now was so that I can complete the research alongside job hunting in my sector.

Still haven;t told the supervisors though - bricking it.

Quod I hope the tiredness goes soon, are you eating enough? This pg is far far harder than my first one.

Santas Well done! I'm so envious! Both of the return of the brain function and the completed draft!

june2013 Tue 18-Dec-12 08:26:55

I love it each time this thread returns!! I am not as far into the phd as many of you (only started in sept). 14weeks today and telling my supervisor in supervision today. Fingers crossed! Ach well, at least she'll have the xmas holidays to get over it if she's not happy!!

SantasWildeRumpus Tue 18-Dec-12 10:36:25

quod re-editing is horrid isn't it. I have hated it but there is the motivating factor being nearly there! Don't you have a few months before submission?

red and quod am mostly out of tiredness but am suffering today. Brain is fine for working but everything else is suffering - no shopping in, forget everything etc.

good luck with the scan quod and telling uni june.

I told my sup (on email as we only meet a couple of times a year now) and he has completely ignored it!

Quodlibet Tue 18-Dec-12 14:57:02

I still have not told my supervisor. I need to have the thing out the way by the time the baby is here so not sure what difference it makes really! Yep, reediting is horrid - I find I can do the close attention, page-by-page changes stuff but the stuff that requires thinking and decision making takes me ages at the moment, mainly due to me getting distracted. Today though I have had a productive morning and pretty much sorted my entire bibliography, which is a weight off my mind.

Santas I have until September officially to submit, but my issue is that I am now out of funding, so sitting at home working on my PhD is essentially now costing me money - I had budgeted for being done by January. And of course earning money = less time for PhD so it all drags out longer.

june2013 Wed 19-Dec-12 10:26:11

Thanks Santas....- if only your wishes had brought me luck!

My supervisor was very surprised when I told her I was pregnant yesterday (in supervision), which is fine. She said she couldn't give me any answers (presumably to practical stuff) which is fine. I thought I'd tell her face to face in supervision to give her the time to think things over during the holiday. She asked about money pretty quickly and then said she didn't want to tell my funders (a private institution) because "they would say that you did it on purpose to get more money out of them".


They would say this or YOU think this?? Which I didn't say of course. I apologised, of course. What an idiot (me). And then I came home and cried and my mum told me that taking 6 months off wld be considered a luxury in some countries and that she only took one month off. But - she said - I'm not judging, you it's GREAT that you CAN take 6 months. And then I cried some more.

I wrote an email to my supervisor last night setting out my plans - just in case I wasn't clear in supervision: I will be coming back, I'll be coming back full time, I'll be taking 6 months off, money is currently not my priority, etc etc. Now she wants to 'chat' at 5pm today. I hope she doesn't say something mean again or I will cry in front of her and I really don't want to do that. She has been so supportive in the past, I think I'm disappointed because I am in fact really surprised...

This sucks!!

SantasWildeRumpus Wed 19-Dec-12 10:46:59

quod I feel your pain. I have been at home with DS since my funding ran out, so technically a SAHM, tho he has been in childcare so I could work since he was 1 sad It has been a really contentious point in our house that I need to 'work' evenings and weekends too to make up hours but DH has seen it as a hobby since funding ran out. Gah. You are nearly there tho! Am so impressed that you will get it in early! smile

June WTF! As if the funders put their maternity leave guidelines in place begrudging you that pay or time. How can you manipulate something that is already in place. My sup (with DS) wasn't very supportive either, I think they fret that we will drop out. It's ok tho, you know what you want to do and part of the PhD process is learning that YOU are in control of your work, your time and self-management. Whether you succeed or not is entirely down to you, not your sup, so at the end of the day this kind of opinion is not influential, is just a judgement. And so we must react as we do with all judgey people - we smile and nod, smile and nod. smile smile let us know how it goes later, good luck!

I have finished all my editing now grin and am now onto housekeeping like sorting the bibliography into sections and doing my pagination etc. exciting and a bit surreal. In fact I don't feel pleased... just that the thesis is an embarrassing load of simplistic tosh. I wonder if that is normal.

parttimer79 Wed 19-Dec-12 11:17:33

Hi, I'm tentatively throwing my hat into the ring. I'm 6w3d with my first and at the start of my 2nd year of PhD.
At the moment I swing between excited and terrified that something will go wrong - it is not helping at all that my broad area of study is fertility issues...

I am lucky that my funder will allow 6 months fully paid and 6 months unpaid leave, how long I take off will depend on how I feel but I am hoping to take a full academic year as it then makes it easier to pick up both in terms of PhD and my teaching commitments.
Most other people on the thread seem further along, both in terms of babies and their PhD...not that I'm jealous! wink

Askja Wed 19-Dec-12 17:55:47

I'm tentatively getting excited as I'm due to submit this week and the end's in sight! Wondering if it was sensible to book my viva for 10 days before my due date though...

june that's awful that your supervisor should make you feel so bad. I'm pretty sure that if you were employed rather than taken advantage of a student that kind of comment would be illegal. You are doing highly skilled research for your funders - why shouldn't they give you maternity leave and pay like an employee!?

dontcarehow Thu 20-Dec-12 08:24:35

santas i feel the same, massively simplistic! just waiting for supervisor comments on my final ish draft. not looking forward to hearing their comments though!

AlphaBeta2012 Thu 20-Dec-12 08:58:09

I'm due 2nd baby in June and signed up to start PhD in September, so will have a 3mth old and 2 1/2 yr old! Glad I am not the only one! :-) University have been really good about it talking about flexible time in my first couple of years etc. When I first met with supervisor she took one look at my bump and laughed saying I wouldn't be the first or last mother to do this and in many ways it made for better PhD syudents as when we had time to sit down and study we would really get on with and accomplish twice as much as others. she also pointed out the skill of multi-tasking as well was a huge benefit!

SantasWildeRumpus Thu 20-Dec-12 09:34:24

dont am reassured you feel the same! the comments at this stage are horrible aren't they, you just want to wash your hands of it all. When you finally get the email that says 'I don't need to see it any more' it is the most amazing feeling! I felt like my stabilisers had been taken off smile However, the viva is scaring the pants off me. Am sure I will cry if they are too mean and I will say 'I know it is crap! I know!' and wander off to feed me and the baby cake.

ask erm, I wouldn't do that! I couldn't really work beyond 35 weeks with DS as my brain wouldn't cooperate, I had SPD and was good only for watching boxsets. Also, actually, I gave birth 17 days before my EDD (two days before I would have been due to present at an international conference if I hadn't thought 'hang on, not wise'!). This could happen to you! However, you are probably one of those amazing women that can have a baby, storm healthily through being pg and still do a viva grin good luck with submission!

welcome part and congrats!

mrsmellow Wed 26-Dec-12 12:45:02

Hi all, Happy Christmas!
Can I join? I'm about 11 weeks on my first and am allegedly writing up at the moment - due to finish in March - but the last month has been a write off - just couldn't concentrate and kept having naps - a bit of a luxury that I wouldn't get in my normal day job (which I also have to return to in March at 20 weeks (fingers crossed!)- eek!) I keep telling myself I'll settle down and work really hard in Jan/Feb, but with a head full of cotton wool it seems unlikely- very pleased with whoever said up thread that things get better in second trimester! I have my scan booked on 9th Jan and hope to relax a bit if all is well then. My supervisor was thrilled and cried when I told her (we've been TTC for quite some time and she was aware of our difficulties!) I appreciate how lucky I am.
Nice to hear of others in a similar boat!

WildeRumpus Fri 28-Dec-12 08:09:09

Congrats and good luck mrs! My head was a nightmare until about 11 weeks then I managed to have a work brain... While still having preg head for everything else!

Just to say I have finished now smile not sent yet as deadline not till Mon but is checked and checked and doesn't need any more work! Dreading viva already mind... And have 20 week scan later!

Keep plugging away ladies! Good luck!

Askja Sat 29-Dec-12 19:05:07

Congrats on finishing Wilde. I submitted yesterday and have decided to forget about the viva for now (not working that well so far...). Hope the scan goes well for you.

WildeRumpus Sun 30-Dec-12 10:56:46

congrats askja! Amazing! thanks

scan was amazing, thankfully smile we have a very wriggly little boy! submit tomorrow, I cannot WAIT. Do you still feel quite stressed? I think it might take a few days to sink in and not feel guilty when reading a novel or watching tv...

parttimer79 Sun 30-Dec-12 11:29:57

Congrats to those who have submitted. I am only 8 weeks and already a shadow of my formerly sane and rational self. I am spending my days weeping, puking and sleeping when what I should be doing is writing up my first analysis chapter and submitting an abstract on it (for a conference 3 weeks before my EDD...)
Really hope I feel better in my 2nd trimester!

Askja Mon 31-Dec-12 12:55:40

A little boy smile congrats Wilde. I'm having another little girl - I'm 36 weeks today so not long now.

Yes I didn't feel relaxed at all after submitting - just terrified that it was full of mistakes and not good enough! I'm beginning to feel more relaxed now, although I still have a vague sense of guilt that I ought to be working...

redwellybluewelly Wed 09-Jan-13 09:40:32

June how did you chat go?

I've been asked to present a paper when I'll be 7 months (not that anyone knows that yet) as I still haven't spilt the beans - now 18+2 and 20 week scan + high risk clinic in a fortnight when I will be unable to hide the news any longer. I have a big supervisory meeting a few days later so hoping that I can figure out what to say by then.

Askja - hope all is well, you must be full term now smile

june2013 Wed 09-Jan-13 10:51:45

Hi again! Thanks for thinking of me and follow up!

Congrats to all those finishing / submitting. I want to say I'm jealous but I'm only in my 1st year so don't feel like I'm allowed to be... yet!

I just posted another thread about this following annoying comments from my colleagues. My director / supervisor responded really badly and the second meeting didn't go much better. She said I was doing it on purpose to fleece the funders which really pissed me off. They don't actually owe me any maternity leave, it wasn't written into the scholarship contract. She is convinced they would totally freak out if she asked for more money. I find that strange. Asking for more money to increase my salary or because I'm complaining or whatever would be weird, but err.. I'm going to have a baby. Anyway, clearly when pregnant one sees things quite differently to others, so not much I can do.

Saw her again yesterday and I told her I'd found the December meetings really difficult and that she gave me the clear impression that there was a massive problem. She said she had asked around about money and that there is none (at the university rather than asking the funders, who by the way are a social care agency promoting good outcomes for children, you'd think they might CARE about the outcomes of my children? I'm being hysterical I know...), so now that she's sorted that out she's fine and normal. She accepted that she may have been unpleasant and even apologised. Still I'm pretty miffed.

Anyway sorry for long post.

Redwelly I hope your scan goes well, fingers crossed. I'm also 17+2, but so far no complications... I really hope all goes well for you. Good luck with telling people, I really hope it goes well for you. I was crushed to find out that everyone kind of agrees that having a baby is really inconvenient to everyone! Woe is meeee! wink

june2013 Wed 09-Jan-13 10:52:36

I mean funders don't owe me any paid maternity leave. University guidelines set out what time off I am entitled to...

redwellybluewelly Wed 09-Jan-13 12:13:16

Sounds like you are having a really rough time of it, are there any other PhD student parents at your Uni? Have you joined the June ante-natal thread smile

I am research council funded so I hope that the information I've read on their policy does kick in and I get 6 months of maternity. My supervisory team and not going to be happy but if and its a big if I can complete my data methodology by the end of January and have a clear plan of action and what I need help with then I hope they might not be too annoyed for too long.

Ultimately though I'm a grown woman (35), I have a home, a lovely DD who I adore and a garden begging to be loved, if they sack me I'll go get a different job and I'll love my family of four. Life is what you make it and we wanted a smaller age gap than would have been possible had we waited until after my PhD (granted a few more months would have been preferable) wink

mrsmellow Wed 09-Jan-13 13:44:54

Gosh june sorry they've been so unpleasant! redwelly I doubt they'd sack you, fingers crossed.
I had my 13 week scan today and lovely to see somersaulting baby - so exciting and such a relief. Have managed to focus on work much more in the last week, but 7 weeks til due to submit and it seems very unlikely!
Ah well, just have to keep the head down and hope for the best...

redwellybluewelly Wed 09-Jan-13 13:47:31

<ponders the question of whether they can sack me>

mrsmellow Wed 09-Jan-13 13:53:00

do you secretly want to be sacked wink
I feel that if someone came and said I had to leave and find something else right now I'd cry with relief! Not sure how I'd feel later mind, but an escape route right now would be phenomenal! grin

redwellybluewelly Wed 09-Jan-13 13:53:55

no - not really smile but I do need to figure out what I'm going to say and that is keeping me awake at night

june2013 Wed 09-Jan-13 14:38:06

I told my second supervisor since I last posted and she was really great! She was delighted with the news and told me it was an excellent time to have a baby! I vaguely told her she was the first one to be happy about it and we talked about it. My situation is slightly different because I'm funded by an independent funder who doesn't like / know the whole 'working with a university and crazy academics' business. Also I'm involved in a broader project, though only tangentially. Redwelly is your project stand alone or are you part of a team? They obviously won't sack you, if they do you'd have a pretty good case for suing them - even though I know we don't do that in this country. You could kick up a stinking fuss though! But I know that doesn't stop anyone from being unpleasant!

Good luck!!!

june2013 Wed 09-Jan-13 14:38:54

And Redwelly check this out, you're not alone:

Askja Sat 19-Jan-13 09:00:00

Passed my viva yesterday smile Minor corrections. So PhD and pregnant is possible!

Can't say I'd recommend doing the viva at 38 weeks though, although my supervisor did take us out for a nice curry afterwards...

june2013 Sat 19-Jan-13 21:27:04

CONGRATULATIONS askja amazing!!! Very impressive I hope you're celebrating however you can. Huge achievement and wonderful inspiration to people like me!!

Congrats again Doctor!!

ruthietoothie Sat 19-Jan-13 21:32:45

Wow, congrats on the successful viva. And at 38 weeks pregnant - good to get it out of the way before the arrival. Did you have another baby during your phd?

I'm currently 11 weeks with dc2. Had dc1 at beginning of second year of my phd, and currently just over half way through. Feel excited about pregnancy but do feel like there's going to be a real long haul before I get this phd done!!

Askja Sun 20-Jan-13 13:08:47

Thanks. Yes I was very glad baby didn't decide to arrive early!

ruthie yes I had DD1 half way through my third year - took 6 months off and went part-time when I came back. It did make it a long haul but tbh it was nice to have something other than the PhD to occupy me sometimes.

redwellybluewelly Thu 21-Mar-13 10:01:12

Bump for lipgloss

redwellybluewelly Sat 23-Mar-13 19:25:05

Bumping again for the other threaders as there is so much useful info on here

mrsmellow Fri 31-May-13 18:01:53

Just back to say that I'm now 33 weeks and hoping to submit on Monday -if the weekend referencing and formatting goes ok..
it is possible (and I've been back at my normal job since March so finishing up in evenings and weekends) - I am looking forward to being a happy pregnant person with no other commitments from next week!
Good luck to everyone else!

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