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Surprise! You’re Pregnant and About to Start an MBA – Part III

February 28, 2010

We finally leave off with the conclusion to the story of a former first-year who found out she was pregnant the summer before matriculating at Booth. Part II described what it was like to go through internship recruiting while very pregnant. In this final installment, she tells us as an almost newly-minted MBA what it was like to give birth during the spring of her first-year.

Phase III – Birth and the aftermath

Believe it or not, I went into labor on my due date, which also happened to be a Saturday, which meant that I had class from 9 to 4. I had read all about early labor and decided class would be the perfect place to wait it out. Plus, I really liked my Saturday classes and knew that I would likely miss them next week. I sat in the back row and timed my contractions via the clock at the front of the room. I was admitted to the hospital that night and soon after had my beautiful baby boy. I had imagined that it would be easy to get all of my homework done during the days when I was home alone with the baby but this turned out not to be the case. If I had it to do over again I would have hired help so that I was not so stressed during this time. I should have been focused on my son but rather I was stressing about my homework. Looking back, I kick myself for caring so much about my homework during that time. For me, it took a while to adjust my priorities and figure out my new role. Next time I plan to fly in, hire, or otherwise obtain as much help as possible. We hired a full-time nanny for my internship. I started my internship when my son was 8 weeks old and for the most part things went smoothly. We have kept the nanny for 3 days a week during the second year and it has been perfect. I have enough time for 3-4 classes and I fit my work in during the evenings or before or after my classes. In fact, I really enjoy having two days a week to spend with my son and the 3-day limit on childcare keeps costs down and keeps me efficient.

In closing, I landed my ideal full-time job in the city of my choice and we are moving back to where we have family after I graduate. The first year was tough. The second has been much easier (great nanny, supportive husband, and not recruiting while pregnant). To the women with children, expecting a child, or wanting a child who also want a career and a top tier MBA, I believe that it is tough but doable. By tough I mean tougher than completing an MBA without children but not necessarily tougher than having a baby on the job. In the end, I got what I wanted out of b-school and got to begin the most fulfilling and challenging part of my journey as a woman, motherhood.

If I had it to do over again I definitely would. It was difficult to adjust to being in a new city, a new school, and knowing that I was about to go through the most life altering experience possible. For me the good things about having a baby during my first year include the flexibility in my schedule to spend a lot of time with my little one during my second year and less pressure (self-inflicted pressure) to have a child soon after starting my post-MBA role. I am not sure if there truly are cons but I will admit that I don’t take advantage of all of the social opportunities and that I would never choose to go through the hell of recruiting while obviously (hugely) pregnant again.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Karin Berardo IMBA/MPP'00; BA"91 permalink
    March 11, 2010 4:21 pm

    I just discovered this website and am so gratified to see the community of mothers at the Booth School. I sure wish I had that when I started my first quarter of business school simultaneously with my first trimester of pregnancy in 1999. (I still have a mental block around Accounting that brings on nausea and sudden food cravings!). I agree with all of your conclusions – it wasn’t easy, but definitely worth it. And for me it was easier being in school for my first newborn than working full-time with my second newborn. After going into labor in the middle of a mid-term and rushing back to class far too quickly after delivery, I eventually settled into a very comfortable routine (after taking one quarter off). I hired a babysitter for several hours a day and was able to study every morning from 9-12, then spend the afternoon with my son, and go downtown for class at 6 when my husband got home. With this set schedule I was better prepared for my classes than I had been at any other time in my academic career. I think there may have been one other mom in the MBA program at the same time as me, but mostly for mothering companions I hung out with the wives of my male classmates. I’m delighted to see that there’s a spirit of supportive women and mothers at Booth 10 years later.

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