Welcome to the Families in Psychology Project blog. If you have stumbled on to this site, I assume by now you know what FIPP is all about. But in case you found this blog through other means, we are a consortium of psychologists and trainees that work to shed light on the struggles that many in the field of psychology have when they decide to enter into parenthood. As part of our mission we aim to conduct research and advocacy projects to let psychology parents know that they are being heard and are not alone. This blog is one part of that mission.
While you can go to our social media pages or the advocacy section of our website to find information, tips, and tricks about what it’s like to be pregnant, become a parent, or balance work and family while being in the early stages of your career as a psychologist; this blog is meant to share stories of others who have been there and done that. FIPP members will have a chance to share their story, you can contact us if you want to share your story, and we will also reach out to psychologists who have served as mentors and inspiration for us in their own way. Each blog entry will have a companion opinion piece to put the story into context with relevant literature and other non-academic readings we have seen.
The goal of the blog is NOT to give advice, to tell you how to have a family or raise your children, or anything else that you may have already encountered from your family, academic family, or beyond. Instead, the goal of the blog IS to remind us all that we are not alone and highlight that each path is different and equally valid. We hope it will open up paths of discussion, exploration, and encourage personal and professional growth. We also hope it will add voices and faces to this crisis that our field is facing.
Now you may be asking, why do we call it a crisis? If you came to this blog looking for support, I do not need to answer this question for you. You already understand the pressures you are facing as a parent or parent-to-be with respect to meeting deadlines, to match to internship, graduate, publish, and/or get grants. For everyone else:
The vast majority of doctoral psychology students are between the ages of 22-35
The vast majority of doctoral psychology students are women
The vast majority of doctoral psychology students have significant debt burden
When you put these three issues together with the fact that the time period one is completing graduate school and beginning their career is also the time that young adults are marrying, starting families, buying homes, and settling into their lives---yet---there is an expectation that these things should be on hold until one has established themselves in their academic career, that expectation is unrealistic and harmful.
Since we began this work in 2015 we have heard stories of students being pushed to have abortions, illegally pressured out of job opportunities, forced to drop out of school, bullied by professors and/or peers, (just to name a few) all because they opted to do something that is developmentally appropriate. These struggles are even more felt by parents of color, LGBTQ parents, and other marginalized groups. As a field if we preach happiness and work-life balance, we need to practice that with everyone (especially our own members who also happen to be the future of our field).
In closing, we hope this blog will serve as an important part of our advocacy mission and inspire you to make personal and career decisions that are best for you with the knowledge that we are behind you no matter what the decision is.
Lila Pereira, PhD
Co-Founder of FIPP
Director of Research
and the rest of the FIPP Team