On Being a Parent in Medical School

In a field like medicine where one has to keep improving and learning to maintain a career, there is no perfect time to have children. Finding that sweet spot between ideal biological conditions and financial stability is an individual choice. But having children is physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing whatever your stage of training is in medicine — especially if you’re the one responsible for most of the childcare. And it goes without saying that childcare is exceedingly expensive. Good daycare facilities cost a little over $1000 a month, and full-time nannies cost about twice that. If you have children, or plan to have them during med school, there are a few things to be aware of so that it won’t be too much of a disadvantage for you. In truth, Wash U doesn’t have much in way of support for dependents of med students. Ideally, you would have a spouse who is the main financial support, or failing that, a well-off family or copious loans. Since you need someone you trust to watch after your children, it would also be great if one of your parents/relatives can move to St. Louis to help out. But if your situation isn’t exactly ideal, here are a few tips: Get health insurance for your child, which may be Medicaid given your low income status; check for local daycare options; and use word-of-mouth to find good part-time nannies. So, reality check: Life is HARD if you have kids while in med school, but with some planning and the right perspective, it is manageable and so worth it.

— Jhoanne B., M4