I am a PhD candidate with one child (18 months) and one year left in the PhD. My husband and I want at least one more child. I am trying to learn about the relative pros and cons of having a child during the summer after defending vs the summer after my first year on the tenure track. I don't feel 100% confident that I will get a tenure track offer, but I also have some good signs. Here is what I came up with:
Baby after defense/summer before starting tenure track:
- (+) I will be 1 year younger, giving more flexibility if decide to have a 3rd child, possibly bounce back sooner etc.
- (+?) I have been told the first year of tenure track is typically less productive research-wise because of teaching responsibilities. I have successfully done the "teach with new baby" thing during grad school, but my research definitely suffered during that semester (partially because my class was a new prep). If I am going to have reduced research output, the first year might be the time to bite that bullet?
- (-) Pregnant on the job market, face possible discrimination. This would be more of an issue at flyouts when I would be showing.
- (-) I didn't get morning sickness with first pregnancy and 3rd trimester pain was manageable, but no guarantees of easy 2nd pregnancy. Difficult on the job market.
- (-) Moving to new city while super-pregnant or with infant (really least of my worries)
Baby after first tenure track year:
- (+) Would likely get time off the tenure clock
- (+) Not pregnant on the job market, perhaps get better offer
- (-) Might have a greater impact on research to have infant during 2nd year, which is typically more productive than 1st (so I have heard)
- (-) Perhaps hurt reputation with colleagues/will have to have weird and awkward conversations about my pregnancy with new colleagues (At least this is my experience in grad school - 50%+ asked me if my pregnancy was planned, etc. So awkward.)
- (-) If we want a 3rd kid, that will be pushed back closer to tenure review.
Am I missing anything? Does anyone have any real-life observations about timing an academic baby?