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to delay trying to conceive my second because of my career?

(23 Posts)
working9while5 Fri 29-Jul-11 09:33:49

Ds is 19 months. We had originally decided we wanted a small enough age gap so tried to conceive Jan/Feb/Mar/April but nothing really happened. In retrospect, I think my timing was a little off as my cycle isn't as regular as before I had ds, partially because he is still bfing a bit and I didn't do it seriously e.g. checking ovulation signs etc.

I have officially worked 2.5 days a week all year (more like 3 - 3.5 with unpaid overtime to manage workload), but have been told that 1.5 of these are going to finish at the end of the coming academic year (and perhaps sooner, budget not guaranteed after December). Due to the predicted drop in income, I am taking on an extra day's work from September to save a bit.. I will be allowed to condense 3.5 days into 3, so working 8.00-5.15 three days. My commute is 1.5 hours each way (3 hour round trip) so this means leaving at 6.30 and getting back at around 7.

I am also due to complete my MSc in March and it's going to require a whole day's worth of work a week from September for data collection/write up. This is why I had only worked 2.5 days, to give flexibility to allow me to complete this.. so I have now had to commit to working 4 days and I already know that it's likely that some of this will overspill into the fifth day...

I've been told that if I get a distinction in my MSc (which I am on track for), that the chances are good I might get PhD funding.. this is really what I want because it would fill the gap of my current income and although it would involve lots of work too, it can be more flexibile so we could work out childcare differently so that ds and whoever follows doesn't have to have such long days in nursery.

In so many ways, I know that it would be ridiculous to try for a baby right now.. I had hyperemesis on my last pregnancy, I might not even get maternity pay because the contract might end, it will fit in better with career aspirations etc


there are no guarantees. It might take ages to get pregnant. I might miscarry or lose a baby. Maybe they'll magic money out of nowhere to extend my job <hopeful emoticon> or I can get a distinction without working my butt off <even more unlikely-icon>.

Just wanting some different perspectives on if I am being self-deluded about it all.

CinnabarRed Fri 29-Jul-11 09:40:44

May I ask how old you are?

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 29-Jul-11 09:43:02

I'd finish my MSc first. You can plan for a child during your PhD if you're successful in gaining funding. I think I would really, really regret getting pregnant at the stage you're at when a delay is just that, a delay. You've conceived before so there's no reason to assume you can't do so again. A pregnancy at the right time can be a joy; at the wrong time it could seriously hamper your future plans and take choices away from you.

MerylStrop Fri 29-Jul-11 09:45:35

If it were me, and so long as time were on my side, I would wait a while

chocolatchaud Fri 29-Jul-11 09:45:47

This is just a very personal opinion, but I always think when I am old what will I look back and wish I had done/hadn't done. For me, I would rather have my children and family around me than look back on a glittering career. Therefore, I would go for the baby now.

However, as I said that is an incredibly personal opinion, and every woman's priorities/situation is different.

Tough one - good luck and I hope it works out for you how you want.

working9while5 Fri 29-Jul-11 09:47:14

Ah yes, I left out age! I am 33. If I delay until March, I would be turning 34.

MerylStrop Fri 29-Jul-11 09:49:24

I'd give it another year, not postpone indefinitely. A bigger age gap makes it all slightly more manageable practically and financially.

TryLikingClarity Fri 29-Jul-11 09:52:01

I 2nd what choco said, but know that each person is unique.

Really, at the end of the day, we all can advise and bounce ideas about till the cows come home. In the end it is a final decision for you and your DP.

Hopefully the responses you get from this thread will help jog your mind a bit to help you choose.

Beaurevage Fri 29-Jul-11 09:54:40

I'm the same age. Our DS is only 4 mths though.

We're planning on moving to my home country (DH is from here) in four years. To increase the chances of me getting a job there in the field that I'm in now, I need more experience (only started the job 6 month before DS was born). Soooo, we're planning on waiting to have our second so that I can get a few solid years under my belt....

Personally, I think that all aspects of my life - career and family - provide happiness for me. And so, my career is important to me as well. My DH agress and is fully supportive.

VenetiaLanyon Fri 29-Jul-11 09:57:33

I don't want to be doom and gloom, but please bear in mind the curse of secondary infertility, and the increased likelihood of it striking as you get older; never assume that pregnancy will happen easily / eventually the second time, even if you fell quickly the first time round. And, whilst you're not old, you are not as young as you were....

If a second baby is very important to you, then I'd get on with it...

Katisha Fri 29-Jul-11 10:00:25

Strikes me that a career in academia is as unpredictable as ttc and therefore I would be disinclined to advise waiting for any certainties.

Again, this is only personal experience, but I think a small age gap between DCs pays off in the long run as they eventually amuse each other and leave you more free not to have to supervise/entertain all hours of the day. I have carried on working throughout having children and the smallish age gap has def been a help. Although you do have to give it a few years before you get the benefit...

PortBlacksandIsleOfDogs Fri 29-Jul-11 10:04:42

Are you sure you want a second child at all? Just because most women have two (three becoming more popular these days) it doesn't mean it's right for everyone. I'm not trying to put you off just throwing another possibility into the mix...

MerylStrop Fri 29-Jul-11 10:05:27

Will you be ABLE to get your MA done/done as well as you want it done if you get pregnant now? Is there any window for deferring temporarily, if you do get pregnant and sick with it, so you can pick it up again whilst on maternity leave?
Is the money thing right now the different between paying the mortgage or not, or something less vital? Can you decline the extra day?

eaglewings Fri 29-Jul-11 10:09:39

We have a 3 year gap between 2 of ours, I was 34 when DD2 was born.
I was studying and had to go back to finishing my dissertation when she was 2 weeks old.
I wouldn't change anything now but it would have been nice to have completed it first. 3 years plus is fine as a gap between kids.
If I carry this one to term, there will be a 10 year gap and I'll be 44! I also have DD who is in her late 20 s so maybe I'm more extreme.
Problems can happen at any stage but being stressed is not good for anyone. Do whatever makes you most relaxed and happy.
Good Luck

Allinabinbag Fri 29-Jul-11 10:17:36

I'd leave it for a few months, get this work out of the way, finish MSc in March and then try! As someone else has said, academia is a chaotic and rececession-filled place to be right now, no-one really knows what the impact of the cuts and fees will be, except likely less PhD places and fewer posts. I wouldn't over think it though, if you were able to get a PhD, then at least if it is with a good funding body such as the ESRC they have to pay you maternity now, which they didn't in the past (she said bitterly!)

I would possibly wait six months, just to give yourself headspace, but I wouldn't be putting my fertility/making babies on hold for years at this time point, especially given all the uncertainties in your career. You only get one life and if having a second child is very important to you, I would go ahead sooner rather than later.

kickingking Fri 29-Jul-11 10:23:07

I'd start trying, I think. Never mind work, you could get hit by a bus tomorrow, etc. Life's not a rehearsal smile

Dozer Fri 29-Jul-11 10:30:49

I had no problems having dd1 but then had recurrent miscarriages (in early 30s) before having dd2. So if having a second child is important, wouldn't wait too long (next march isn't that long though!)

It can be v hard to get any work done with two kids! Childcare gets more expensive, double the hard work with the kids (in first couple of years at least), sleep deprivation etv.

Mumwithadragontattoo Fri 29-Jul-11 10:32:53

I would finish your MSc and work as hard as you can for it and then try to conceive as soon as you've finished. You should be able to get your PhD funding then and if you need time off due to sickness in pregnancy or mat leave you should be able to get it. Your fertility at 34 wont be much differ to at 33 - I wouldn't put it off beyond 35 though as it does drop more quickly then. Am exactly the same age as you and wondering about another baby (would be my third though) and I'm thinking the same timescale for myself.

motherinferior Fri 29-Jul-11 10:38:15

I'd go for the career. Age-wise, that's worth cracking on with as much as children, IMO.

But then I had my first baby, not madly deliberately, at 37 so my perspective on older mothers and fertility is distinctly biased.

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 29-Jul-11 11:44:19

I would absolutely concentrate on the MSc, and work your butt off to acquire funding for the PhD. Your are only 33 - I am the same age, you have plenty of time really. If you were 5 years older I would say ttc.

The last thing you need (imo of course) is to get pregnant when you are completing your MSc. As you say you are on course to get a distinction, what with already having a young child, a long commute, it could well be that you may have a grotty pregnancy (sickness etc) which would really scupper your plans. I am sure you have worked so hard for your qualifications, it would be a shame to put that at risk now to get pregnant, when you don't really need to.

Good luck with everything.

LeggyBlondeNE Fri 29-Jul-11 12:02:03

Conception rates really start curving down from about 35 (dropping from 30 slowly) with chromosomal abnormalities increasing at the same time. So delaying a few months to get your MSc finished is probably fine but a longer gap is going to start changing the odds of a succesful pregnancy. (Yes yes plenty of people get pregnant in their forties. But many don't.)

working9while5 Fri 29-Jul-11 16:35:47

I don't necessarily want a PhD for academia but to enable me to carry out research projects in my field which badly needs more intellectual rigour, also to enable me to spend a few years where I can financially cope without much of a job. My options recessionwise are to move (not great for dh who is tied into a contract here for 5 years) or to set up private practise which would be equally time consuming as a PhD. And would poss help to have a pHd for that anyway.

I am aware of secondary infertility which is why I mentioned no guarantees in my OP. I can't extend MSc further as have been registered for five years as took time off for ds and birth etc.

I want family and a career, just trying to work out the best way to achieve it.

This thread helps with differing views but I suspect it is something I will review monthly until I either find myself pregnant or binding a dissertation. No guarantees regardless of what I do I guess. Though if I DO get knocked down by a bus it won't much matter what my choice!

motherinferior Fri 29-Jul-11 17:42:04

The other option is, of course, what a lot of us opt for: water-tight childcare. Childcare several days a week, as many days as you need to focus on this PhD. What you can't do is try and cram your work into time when your children are around. I find that hard now, and mine are 8 and 10.

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