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Women in Science

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Portrait of Lois Brand© Women in ScienceInterview excerpt: Lois had her first child after she had finished her specialist training, just before she got a job as a hospital consultant. She thinks this was an ideal time to take maternity leave.

 So what happened was, I completed my, well I didn’t complete my specialist training, I was half way through my specialist training when I got married, I married a GP, and then had my first baby at the time when I’d just finished my higher specialist training. So there’s quite a lot of leeway between the end of your specialist training and starting as a consultant, they give you quite a lot of, a period of grace where you can stay on as a trainee or take a job as a consultant. And that was an ideal time for me to have maternity leave and use that flexibility to its utmost. And that worked very well and after returning from my first maternity leave I got my first consultant job then.

I don’t think there is a right time [to have children]. I think that the best advice that I would say is to talk to lots of people who’ve done it at different stages and see what would fit best for you and to understand what the pressure points are likely to be at each particular time. But the thing I’m also knowing now from having children who are a little bit older is that although the demands are different, the demands on my time are no less acute, either that the, the homework that needs sorting right now, and the pre-pubescent girl who’s having her hormonal melt down is just, you need to be there and you need to be accessible and available and it’s hard to balance all those things.