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NP's with Children

by JB1919 JB1919 (New) New Nurse Student

Specializes in Med-Surg RN/NP student.

Hi everyone,

I am here seeking advice regarding having children as an NP. Currently I am an FNP student and will graduate in June of 2021. I am also working part time as an RN. My question is regarding advice on the "right time" to have kids as an advance practice nurse. (I guess there is no "right time"...but maybe a better time?) Part of me want's to plan things so that my husband and I would have our first born shortly after graduation. This way I could take advantage of the longer maternity leave from my RN job and also maybe use this time to take the boards and apply to jobs. I am also open to waiting a few years until after I start my first NP job, but I have heard that maternity leave is not as generous. I know I would also be delaying things for a few more years since I would not want to leave a new job for maternity leave shortly after starting. There are obviously many factors in this, but just curious about other NP's experiences.

So I guess my question is as an NP what was your maternity leave experience like? And has anyone timed their delivery for right after NP school?

Thank you in advance! Hope everyone is staying safe!

Lot's of thoughts on this. The first is, don't agonize over the timing. I did this, and as luck had it, it took me 16 months to get pregnant the second time. Completely shot my "perfect timing" down the drain. I ended up getting pregnant during my last year of NP school, took boards 1 week before graduating and had my second child 2 months later. I had already accepted an NP position and they very graciously held the spot until my standard 12 week maternity leave was over. I have numerous colleagues who got pregnant very quickly after starting their new NP jobs and it was never an issue. All of them also were able to take the 12 weeks of maternity leave despite not meeting FMLA work length requirements. I think employers realize that young female FNP's will possibly get pregnant and take leave at some point during their employment and don't think twice about it. It's extremely common. When you say maternity leave is not as generous, what do you mean? Your job is protected for up to 16 weeks provided you have worked there 12 months under FMLA. There is no variation in that, perhaps some places give you more?

We're now trying for our 3rd- I'm coming up on my 1 year FNP anniversary so I can chime in on 'waiting a little bit and then getting pregnant'. At this point, I have gained a little bit of confidence in my role and don't battle the imposter syndrome anymore, I feel a bit more settled as an NP, my routine, the work/life balance, etc. and feel like it's as good a time as any to get pregnant and god willing have a maternity leave. I'll take 12 weeks again this time and won't think twice about it.

That's my experience if it helps at all, but my thought is- do what makes YOU happy. Ready for a family? Start trying now, it'll happen when it happens and the rest of life will rearrange to make it all fit. Just enjoy it!

HealthNutNP, BSN, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Surgical Oncology. Has 8 years experience.

This comment reminds me so much of myself (Type-A/planner). I tried to plan out when I was going to have a baby so I could maximize my time at home without worrying about workplace interference. But, it took me two years to get pregnant with my first. I had just accepted a new amazing job (the ink was literally drying on the contract) when I found out I was pregnant. I delivered after working for the company for 6 months so I did not qualify for FMLA, but my company allowed me to take off 11 weeks without pay. I also did not qualify for short-term disability because they backtracked my conception date from my estimated due date and said that it was a “pre-existing condition.”

I had over 2 years of NP experience before taking that job so I was pretty sound in my skill set. If you are a planner, like me 🙂 , then I’d suggest planning to graduate AND take boards before the baby comes. Having a newborn is the most beautiful and most exhausting time period and your mind certainly won’t be focused on timed multiple choice testing. If you have the baby after graduation and boards, you may enjoy that time and realize that you only want to work part-time or PRN (though may be harder to find) so waiting for your first NP job may be advantageous. However, you may decide after having the baby that you want to take even more time off to spend with family, which may cause you to lose/forget some of your training. Lastly, if you decide to wait to have a baby until after you have a job, I’d suggest trying not to get pregnant in the first 3 months of the new job. That way, you would qualify for FMLA (12 weeks of unpaid job protection) and could apply for short-term disability, if your company doesn’t offer paid maternity leave.

What I learned through the whole process is that things work out exactly how they are supposed to and don’t get hung up on the details of your life. If it happens sooner, great - you’ll figure it out. If it happens later, great - you’ll figure it out. Best of luck to you!