Monday, June 1, 2009

My golden anniversary

When I realized that this was to be my 50th post on this blog, I decided I want to make it good. (Not my usual crap, right?) I asked around for advice and got some suggestions that were good, possibly topics for future posts, but didn't quite have the WOW! factor I wanted. I wanted to make a post that was not just interesting, but.... SHOCKING.

So here goes:

When I joined this blog back in its infancy, one year ago, I had an ulterior motive. The truth was that I felt that going into medicine was a huge mistake for any woman who wanted to become a mother. And I was determined to share that opinion.

Anyone who has read some of my earlier posts would know that I came dangerously close to blurting out that opinion on several occasions, but I always just barely stopped short and ended with some cheesy phrase like, "But it's all worth it." I didn't say what I truly felt because I was scared. I knew this opinion would not be popular. Nobody wants to hear that a woman shouldn't follow her career aspirations just because she wants to have a family. And moreover, I was embarrassed to admit that after seven grueling years of training and 100's of thousands of dollars in tuition, I had major regrets. But I felt that it was important and needed to be said.

(Maybe that's why I've written so much. I'm like the guy who buys twenty unneeded items at the newsstand, hoping the one issue of Playboy goes unnoticed.)

A year later, I still haven't made a definitive post warning mothers-to-be not to go into medicine. But not because I'm chicken anymore; it's because reading these entries over the course of the year has actually changed my mind. Hearing about all these female physicians (both the bloggers and the commenters) who love being mothers in medicine has inspired me. I'm changed. If you guys love it, then I'm optimistic that I can too. Maybe I'm just giddy about graduating residency, but I no longer feel a dire need to tell young female pre-meds to run before it's too late.

So I guess for my 50th post, I'd like to say thanks. Thanks to everyone who posted or commented about how being a physician mama is a gift that only a few of us get to experience. I needed that.

12 comments:

  1. What a fine 50th post. I'm really glad being part of MiM has changed your mind - was hoping it might. =)

    Brainwashing is highly underrated.

    But, seriously, I think that once you are done with the grueling training, balance is more easily achieved. And doing something that makes you feel like you are making a difference: that is worth a lot.

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  2. I've had the exact same feelings. That medical school was a huge mistake. When I would meet women that told me they also wanted to go to medical school and be doctors, it was all I could do to keep my mouth closed, smile, and not shout, "Don't do it!"

    Right at this time, I have more optimism about the future than I have in a long time. And I think it is partially from hearing all of these stories.

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  3. It's not easy - but would we do it if it was?

    Seriously, I think we've all had days when we've questioned our decision(s) - whether it was going into medicine, the specialty we went into, or having a child (or three), and seeing that we're not alone in our doubts, frustrations and hardships is a huge help.

    And I agree with KC's comment that once you're done with training that you'll have more control over the structure of your days - which makes a big difference, too. Hang in there!

    A

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  4. I'm happy you're feeling better about your decisions. Knowing you're not alone helps a lot. Most things that are worth doing can be difficult at times. I love medical school and am happy with my choice, but even so I still have my moments where I hate my life and question my decision. I think things will also get better once you enter attending-land.

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  5. Or possibly fellowship-land....

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  6. I am seven years post residency and a lot of heart breaking experiences. I am single, childless with nothing on the horizon to change either situation. I have regrets about medicine, about my specialty, OB/gyn, but what honest human being doesn't have regrets? Who knows what my life would have been like if I had married my hot boyfriend in college, if I had chosen pediatrics or neonatology, if I had stayed in city x versus moving to country town Y? We all make choices and you can't look back and wonder what if. You will oly make yourself cra-zee. You have to be adult enough to say, "I made the best decision at the time with the info I was given" and move on. Life is too short to waste energy wondering about the past. Not to say that you can't have regrets, but just keep moving forward.

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  7. I just found this blog last week and am kinda sad I didn't find it sooner. Your post today really hit home for me. I took the long route through med school (5 years 2 months)because I chose to have kids along the way-ended up with twins at the end of first year and now a 3 month old and I am constantly questioning why I went into medicine, why I put my family through all of this-moving my kids away from all of their friends and their family for the next three years of residency, wondering if it is okay to ask my husband to put his career ambitions on hold to let me pursue mine. So to all of you Mom's out there-thank you for your posts. It's nice to see that I am not alone out there with my thoughts.

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  8. So glad you are seeing light at the end of the tunnel and realize that medicine and motherhood can be wonderful together. Yes you need to be organized (hey we are physicians!)and the ability to compartmentalize and multitask is essential. All working moms face tremendous challenges. Residency is a tough time to have a newborn. If you have the option of putting off childbirth until you are established professionally it is ideal. If you can't (because of age or other pressures) it is still doable. Embrace it all! Make it work.

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  9. So glad to read that your opinion is changing! I was a doctor before being a mother, so it is a bit of a different challenge, but I cannot imagine any other life path that would be as rewarding. Good luck-
    KK

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  10. amen to your post - now, unlike those above, I have found being out in practice having a child was harder than in residency. But, I'm in rural family medicine w/ OB - no control over my time/privacy, etc. That being said, I am so grateful to have found this blog a few short months ago!! I felt very alone out here in the prairie as a female/mom doc. So, it is refreshing to see these posts and I have to say that it also has changed my mind some . . . although on a day like today, I'd really rather be folding clothes at the Gap :) But, I also know that any other profession wouldn't have been enough for me!

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  11. Libby: I can definitely appreciate how having a child in practice might be harder than in residency, since residency has built-in coverage. I've heard arguments both ways.

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  12. I am so glad to have discovered these comments! I am a 30 yo woman who finally got up the nerve to pursue medical school after dreaming/obsessing about it for 15+ yrs. I'm planning to start a post-bacc program next May. But now that I'm 30, I've realized that I do want to have kids, soon, and I don't want to miss the most exciting years of their lives. Although becoming a Nurse Practitioner has never been a goal of mine, I'm wondering if you Mom MDs think it would be worth it to settle for a career as an NP in order to have more time to spend with my kids. Thoughts?

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