I've written before about the decision of female physicians to have a child early in their career versus a child late in their career, but there's a third option I've noticed more and more female physicians seem to be choosing: no kids.
In some ways, this makes sense. We've spend four years on undergraduate training, four years in medical school, 3-5 years in residency, then maybe a fellowship on top of that. After all that, shouldn't we want to focus on our careers? Did we really spend a quarter million dollars on our education just to work reduced hours to spend more time with the kids? We could have been a mother for free.
In my residency program, many of the female attendings have chosen to be child-free. When asked why, they gave the following reasons:
"I wanted to be able to retire early."
"I thought I could either be a good doctor or a good mother, but not both. So I chose to be a good doctor."
"Kids are too much responsibility. I'd rather be a godparent or an aunt."
"I don't like kids that much."
"I didn't want to ruin my life."
A lot of people seem to be enamored with the concept of DINK. DINK is an acronym that stands for Double Income No Kids. As another resident recently remarked to me, a pair of DINK physicians really have it made. They can have a huge expensive house, they could spend their afternoons playing golf, their weekends at the spa, and their nights bathing in gold amulets (I guess I don't really know what rich people do in their leisure time). They could retire at 50.
Of course, I've always wanted kids so I see things differently. I don't see the point of a big house if I'm not going to fill it up with kids. The reason I want money is so I have it to spend on my kids. And what will I do after retirement if I don't have grandchildren to play with?