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Expecting Parent Checklist

To help you plan to add a child to your family, Harvard Griffin GSAS has prepared a checklist that outlines steps you can take before and after your expected due or adoption date. 

Prior to Childbirth or Adoption

  • At least four months before your expected due or adoption date, review Harvard Griffin GSAS’s Parental Accommodation and Financial Support (PAFS) policy and set up a meeting with PAFS coordinator, Lisa Simpson.
    • PAFS is not a retroactive program. Students must express interest in participating at least four months in advance of the anticipated birth or adoption event.
  • Make a list of individuals who may be impacted by your absence (such as your advisor, department administrator, lab manager, graduate student coordinators, research collaborators, etc.) and include a timeline in which you would like to reach out to them for planning purposes.
    • If you hold or are planning to hold a teaching or research assistant appointment, notify the department as soon as you are able so appropriate coverage (e.g. grading, classes, etc.) can be made.
    • If in a lab and your experiments need to be monitored, notify your PI as soon as you are able so appropriate coverage can be made.
    • If enrolled in classes, notify your faculty instructor at the start of term so reasonable academic adjustments can be made for your coursework. Consider requesting an incomplete, if appropriate.
    • If you are in the writing phase, meetings with advisors or committee members, or dissertation defenses, can be rescheduled.
  • Review your and/or your partner’s insurance coverage to see which plan would be best for your child.
  • Review your finances and create a budget (see useful tips on Harvard Griffin GSAS’s Financial Wellness page).
  • Explore childcare options.
  • If medical reasons impact your ability to make academic progress or meet requirements, contact the Accessible Education Office (AEO) at 617-496-8707 or

After Childbirth or Adoption

  • Contact to inform the PAFS coordinator of the arrival of your child.
  • Contact your insurance company with your child’s date of birth or adoption.
  • Request a departmental G-Year adjustment from your department administrator.
  • Notify the list of individuals who may be impacted about your return at least two weeks prior to your planned return.
  • Register for benefit.
  • Locate lactation spaces and support if you are a nursing parent.
  • Review the Family Resources section of the Harvard Griffin GSAS website.
  • Take care of yourself and your family!

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