Updated: Sep 16, 2020
Are you pregnant or wanting to have a baby while your spouse is in med school? Making these decisions can be difficult, but I promise having a baby during med school is not impossible! I’ve reached out to women who have had a baby while their husband was in med school, and here is a compilation of their best recommendations on how to get through this crazy time of life by adding one more wild adventure – a new baby!
1. Set Reasonable Expectations and Be Flexible
The rumors are true – when your spouse is in med school, they are not around as much as they may have been in other times of your marriage. If you are planning to have a baby, the best thing you can do for yourself is be flexible and set reasonable expectations, which sometimes means not expecting anything at all. I know this sounds crazy, but for me, not having any expectations of my husband made those moments when he COULD be around and spend time or help, moments that I was very grateful for. For example, my husband attended only one of my OB appointments prior to baby being born, and studied most of the time we were in the hospital. I was very lucky he was at a place where he could even be at the hospital rather than in labs, but this is not the case for everyone, especially in years 3-4 of med school. Not expecting much from him made for that one appointment he made it to extra special!
More about being flexible. Remember that we don’t really have much of a say in our husband’s schedule (when it comes to med school). They must attend certain lectures, be there for their preceptors, and not miss tests. This can be so hard for people like me (who love to plan and have a schedule), but being flexible and a little more laid back about expectations can make the world of a difference by reducing frustration you might feel when things don’t go exactly as planned.
There is a lot you can do to prepare for baby and make your life a little easier! Use all the “nesting” power that comes your way and get your home ready for baby by organizing things and setting up spaces for your baby. Freezer meals are a huge help! Many have gone to Citrus Pear classes (or something similar), have stocked up on Costco’s freezer meals, or swapped extra meals in the RVUCOM Freezer Meal Swap Group. Start thinking about when and how you’ll accomplish things that will be more difficult with a baby around (such as showering, working, etc.). For example, maybe you’ll transition your work hours from mornings to afternoon naptimes. Maybe you’ll download some apps that allow you to work or get other things done from your phone while you’re feeding baby. Even getting some disposable items (like paper plates, napkins and cutlery) can make your life a little easier by not having to do so many dishes. Ask friends/family to help with other children when you go into labor. You may consider having a backup form of transportation to get to the hospital, should you be unable to drive yourself and your husband busy with something med school related (or otherwise).
3. Say YES to Help, and Ask for it When Needed!
As hard as it can sometimes be, say YES to help! If you have family that offer to come help you after your baby is born, take the help (as long as this is not straining on your own mental health). If people offer to make you meals, watch your other kids, hold your baby while you take a nap, say YES! Reach out to people in your church, your friends from your workout class or other significant others that are also on this med school journey if you need something. People are more than willing to help and really want the opportunity to serve those they love – give them this opportunity!
4. Take Shifts in the Night
I had a friend tell me that getting a four-hour block of sleep per night was life changing after her baby was born! Babies like to be up every 2-3 hours to eat, so sometimes getting that block of sleep is difficult. Many have recommended having your spouse get up in the night to cover a “shift”, so you can get the sleep you need to function throughout the day. I always get stuck in this mindset that I have the milk, so it’s my job to feed. Not the case! Take a few minutes to pump throughout the day. If you loathe being hooked to a machine holding up two bottles of milk, try out some of the hands-free pumping options, or other milk-saving options like the Milkies Milk Saver product. If your baby takes formula, it’s even easier for your husband to help. Whatever you do, it will be WORTH IT to get that block of sleep. While your husband is feeding the baby, he can go through slides or flash cards on his phone!