2L + First Time Parent = Crazy?

TeaspoonTeaspoon Alum Member

I know this is very personal, but I'm wondering if anyone has been in (or is in) a similar situation. My choice to go back to school to finish my BS Chem degree and then pursue law school meant that we had to move and my husband changed companies, in addition to taking on debt. We're likely not staying in the same place for law school and will obviously be piling on more debt. One of the hardest parts of this decision was that we chose to delay having kids.

Thoughts on having kids (for the first time) while in law school? Is that downright nuts, or could it be manageable? I wouldn't do it as a 1L, but maybe into 2nd or 3rd year?

Thanks in advance

Comments

  • MissChanandlerMissChanandler Alum Member Sage
    3256 karma

    I think it's a little nuts and maybe manageable at the same time :) Do you have a good support system in place where you'll be going to school (family who can watch a baby, close friends, etc.)? I think if you could plan to have the baby in the summer that would be a lot less stressful than in the middle of the semester or near finals or something like that. Will you have good health insurance with your husband's new job? That's a really big consideration as well.

  • M.Yanka106M.Yanka106 Legacy Member
    113 karma

    Here are some more points to consider- the amount of reading you have to do in law school is overwhelming. In some cases close to 100 pages per day (per class). With an infant it will be hard to get enough sleep and it will be harder to manage your classes without good sleep. Additionally, what are your child care options? Infants fall sick a lot if they are in daycare (more sleepless nights for you). Also, you need to consider launching your career after school. That means finding a way to get an internship with a law firm during summer.

  • ChardiggityChardiggity Alum Member
    336 karma

    As a mom multiple times over, it's very hard to say. If everything in pregnancy, delivery, post-partum, and with the baby's health goes perfectly, and you have a lot of dependable help or can afford daycare, you might be able to pull it off. But morning sickness, pre-eclampsia, fetal health issues, a difficult delivery, premature birth, depression, anxiety, neonatal health issues, etc. are all possible, and any one could cause you to need to delay school, or drop out entirely. Even if things go smoothly, you might really hate having your plate piled so high when you just want to be with your new little person. I guess you have to ask yourself if it's an acceptable risk. Is age a factor? Is there a particular reason you don't want to wait until you pass the bar?

  • LSAT_WreckerLSAT_Wrecker Legacy Member
    4850 karma

    One dude's opinion (father of four). Take it for what its worth. Can you envision "a good time in your life" to have a child? Law school may not be ideal, but at that point, you are not litigating for a client, or negotiating for a hostile M/A, or whatever else you will do in the real world after school. While we all imagine that law school may be the most important / stressful time of our lives, it probably won't be. It will suck while we are in it, but then we move on to the more important (stressful) aspect of actually being lawyers and fighting for our clients.

    FWIW, my wife gave birth to our fourth child while I was deployed to Iraq. She was also in the last year of her nursing degree, taking classes and doing a full clinical rotation. I did not return and start helping until my daughter was 6 months old. Now, it was MUCH easier on me than it was my wife. I understand that and am constantly reminded about it. But in our lives, there hasn't ever been an "easy" time to have children. Every period has its own struggles and priorities.

    Whatever you decide to do, good luck! Parenthood is the best thing going.

  • FixedDiceFixedDice Legacy Member
    1804 karma

    Not a parent myself, but there is this book about law school and legal profession. It contains a quote from a married law student, claiming that she had no need for contraceptives throughout her law school career because her spouse was also a law student.

    If being a law student is that draining or demanding, I would think that child rearing is far, far more challenging.

  • TeaspoonTeaspoon Alum Member
    77 karma

    Thanks, everyone! You definitely gave us more factors to consider. If we end up in the city of our choice, we will have support. We haven't so much considered the "what if everything health-related doesn't go smoothly" position. Thank you for bringing that up @Chardiggity. And good point, @LSAT_Wrecker , I don't anticipate having more free time after law school.

    Very much appreciated!

  • AudaciousRedAudaciousRed Alum Member
    2689 karma

    Not to make you paranoid or anything, but double check your support system. A lot of people say they will help, and then either don't or suddenly can't. Getting through that first year was hard. Maybe doubly so because my thyroid crapped out altogether and I spent months wondering what was wrong with me after delivery (I will be on meds for the rest of my life). Anyway, when my kiddo was an infant, her grandparents had major surgeries and cancer. Support system was non-existent for me after the first two months.
    You may have a totally different experience, and I've seen a lot of people who had much better experiences. But definitely question hard as to what level of support you'll really have. There's nothing like having a baby that's hungry every hour and doesn't sleep but for a few hours at a time the first nine months of their life.
    That being said... my kid motivates the hell out of me. To do better. Be better. So, yeah.. there are some major pluses to going to school and having kids. But, they're in middle school now as I'm considering law school. There's no way I would, nor could, have done it while she was a baby. Just my experience.

  • lsatplaylistlsatplaylist Alum Member
    5244 karma

    I think it would be a great thing for a young child, or an older child, to see a parent pursuing their dreams and getting an education.

  • PeaceofmindPeaceofmind Alum Member
    edited December 2018 446 karma

    No don’t do it! I had unexpected pregnancy during grad school and decided to keep the baby. Although I never regretted my decision because I love my kid so much, it greatly limited what I was able to pursue during grad school. Fair warning: Don’t expect to sleep through the night the first two years after giving birth. Newborns need to be fed every two hours. Getting up three four times a night is normal. The result? Hard to reten information and concentrate on lectures. Never underestimate being a parent. The impact on women is tremendous. What if you have a defficult pregnancy? What if you need to go with c-section
    and take much longer to recover? What if your child don’t latch on you and you need to pump milk every two-three hours to prevent clogging (it hurts more than giving birth!)? Have you had this all planned out, assuming it’s possible to plan? Are you ok with not being able to social with your classmates and build connection because every minute you’re away, you need to hire someone else to watch your kid? Are you ok with cutting all the internship opportunities because the nanny fee greatly exceed what you can earn? Unless your parents are willing to basically raise the kid for you, don’t do it. Have a kid after you have a career. No need to limit how tall your ceiling can be before you start building the house( sorry for the unidiomatic anology, but I hope you know what I mean).

  • bartlet4americabartlet4america Alum Member
    29 karma

    So I am a single mom with a 3.5 year old. I went back to finish my undergrad when he was 4 months old. I graduated last December but decided to take a year off so my son would be a little older. Undergrad was difficult with a young infant. I was able to live with my parents which was a great help. I also worked part-time during this time. My decision to delay a year was entirely motivated by childcare considerations. Depending on the city where you live childcare for a preschooler can be anywhere from $700-1500/month for M-F morning to late afternoon care. If I waited a year then he would be in pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade for my 1lL, 2L, and 3L versus two more years of pre-k and then kindergarten during 3L. Because when I move for law school I will have significantly less family near by I chose my number #1 school based off the availability of family grad student housing, on-site childcare, local public schools, and ease of living.

    Everybody handles parenthood differently, and you might not get pregnant immediately either. I know some people try and time it a certain way, but those first few months are rough for anyone. I kind of feel like this could be a set of options for the writing sample at the end of the LSAT because it can be argued both ways, and there really isn't a correct answer. In some ways you might have more flexibility as a student parent than as a working parent---but as a first time parents it might not seem that way. I will say that for myself I am glad that I had a kid earlier than later. By the time I graduate law school I will be in my early thirties, but my son will already be in elementary school. I am not planning on having more kids so I look forward to having him out the house while I am still in my forties =)

  • SupernoviceSupernovice Alum Member
    323 karma

    Just my $0.02, but I'd say this is a horrible plan... But, it could be a very delightful and fulfilling challenge that is certainly doable if it comes to that. As others here with experience have rightly pointed out, nothing guarantees you're not going to have a problematic pregnancy, nor that the child may require special needs (God forbid). As far as a plan goes, I would think you'd want to be more risk averse, but if there are other issues involved and you need to expedite the pregnancy, then maybe you could put off law school. Or, maybe you're just strong AF, have a good support network, and will hit it head on with a winning attitude.

    So, as a plan, not so good, in my opinion. But, if it happens and it's a pleasant surprise, then embrace it and power on!

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