Monday, January 19, 2009

The Challenge of Being Pregnant, Mom and Doctor...

It's interesting being a Mom, doctor and pregnant. I often have to choose which hat I'm going to wear to respectfully endure a situation.

Here's an example - my husband's grandmother (Ma) is visiting. She has a very strong personality. I love her and I'm absolutely thrilled that she is visiting, especially for my children. I'm pregnant and have now revealed that I will be having the boy who will carry the family name. (I'd like to believe this is an irrelevant point but given the generation gap, I'm pretty sure it contributes). Very soon after she arrived, Ma gave me a stern lecture about carrying my kids. I have a 2-year old and a 4 year-old. Neither 'have' to be carried but you all know how it is....sometimes they just want 'up' and sometimes you just want to carry them down the stairs because it's SO much faster. I said very little but she had a lot to say. "You're the doctor, you should know that if you carry too much weight, the baby will come out."

I should give more background - back in the day when she was in her 30's and 40's she was a midwife. She continues..."I saw many women who lost their babies because of placenta problems and stress on the body. You must not carry the children! Learn to say know and ask for help"

This is easier said than done. My husband is currently travelling for two weeks, I'm alone with the kids and it's virtually impossible to avoid carrying them for one reason or another. So I continue to carry them, only with the additional voice of guilt from Ma playing in my mind.

On the one hand, I want to respect her experience in life, she's lived many more years than I have. But the doctor in my mind is saying "nowadays, we have ultrasounds so I know where my placenta is and I'm really only putting my own back at risk which is a calculated risk in the moment!"

Perhaps if I didn't know better, I would be more worried about the baby, I'd ask more for help, or arrange for hired help and life would be easier? I can't decide if my medical knowledge is a blessing or a curse.

I've tried to respectfully tell Ma using few words that the baby is not at risk when I carry the kids but she still glares at me when she sees me holding my 2-year old even for a minute...Putting on my Mom-hat, I respectully put my daughter down and look around for help.


  1. Ma sounds a lot like my mom and my mother-in-law. I wish I have your level of respectfulness. I tend to talk back. Sigh.

  2. Just say, "yes, Ma" and do what you would have done anyway. But for Pete's sake, get some help. Being a pregnant doc with 2 little kids AND a hurting back just ain't worth it.

  3. Iam also a physician and a mother of three. I agree with you that the carrying is probably not evidinced based but she likely has some merit. I was 24 weeks pregnant with number three, I was working and dealing with a 3 y.o and a 5 y.o. I started call on a Friday night with a UTI and ended with pyelo. I still roulnded on all my patients both days and went to L & D for monitoring and IV antibiotics. I went to work Mon with a saline lock still on IV Meds because my OB said I could "if I felt better". What in the name of stupidity was I trying to prove? My advice is slow down if you need to accept others help just because we are doctors and Moms we are not superhuman.

  4. This is something I am trying to balance now. I am a third year internal medicine resident, still working 80 hour weeks, and 25 weeks pregnant. I recently hit a wall of exhaustion, found myself in tears driving to work and tearful between admissions overnight. Do I continue on, or am I harming my baby with this level of exhaustion and stress?


Comments on posts older than 14 days are moderated as a spam precaution. So.Much.Spam.