Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Contending to be Content

From the moment my first visitor came to see me in the hospital, as I was holding my brand spankin’ new baby boy, they all began to echo the same message “Enjoy every minute! They grow up so fast!” Each mom would get slightly misty eyed when they talked about how it seemed like just yesterday their ‘little one’ (who was sometimes college age) was that size. “I miss when I could just cuddle them in my arms for hours” they would say. I would smile and nod, wondering mainly when I would get some sleep. I noticed recently, I’ve fallen into giving the same advice when I round on my postpartum patients each morning.

I really have tried to relished every moment. It has not been our choice that we have an only child, and my prayer is that we will have another someday. However, I was recently thinking how this unplanned spacing between children has allowed us to truly enjoy each stage with our son. From the crawling, to the talking, to the first day of school, I have tried to soak up every second of parental joy I possibly can. We take obnoxious numbers of pictures and fill journals with stories. Ok, so potty training was not a hoot, but still it had its funny moments. I see so many of my patients with several children under the age of 5, and while I am envious of their full quivers at times, I also see so many who are just trying to survive…. If I can just get this one sleeping through the night, if I can just get this one out of diapers, if I can just get this one in school…. THEN I’ll be able to really enjoy them. There are so many people who ‘WISH” away their life.

I think the same attitudes can apply to the medical training process. With a minimum of 12 years of training, you just HAVE to try to enjoy some of it or you will go crazy and waste half your life. Yes it is grueling, yes the hours are intense but there is nothing like it. The things you see in residency are crazy. (Hopefully) You will not see near the insanity/ fun/ adrenaline filled nights when you are an attending. The lessons you learn will stick with you forever. Those crazy, on call practical jokes will make you chuckle to yourself for years to come. To this day when I see a CPR mannequin I laugh so hard I nearly pee my pants! I miss those days when all I did was surgery from sun up to sundown, interesting cases with no office follow-up. I worked with so many people who were just counting the days till the end: I wish I was a resident, I wish I was a chief, I wish I was in practice. Then once in practice, they began counting the days till they were partnered. There is always something to look forward to, but the art becomes enjoying where you’re at while you’re there.

So I’m trying to practice what I preach: enjoying my job and son to the fullest, as I somewhat patiently wait to adopt baby #2. I feel thankful and blessed, that I have gotten to spend so much precious time with my son. Obviously, there are days where life becomes all about survival, but for those many good days I pass on this same somewhat cheesy advice to all you residents and med students that I do my postpartum moms: “Enjoy every minute of it (your training) that you possibly can!”


  1. This POST is NOT a response in anyway to Fizzy's (excellent) post. I wrote it last weekend and just got around to editing it today.

  2. Wonderful. I completely agree. Although, right now as an intern, doing off service rotations, I really can't wait until I get to do what I love. But I am seeing amazing things that I wouldn't see otherwise.

  3. Don't see how this would be a response to my post exactly, but...

    I definitely agree with everything you said here. Even though I said in my post that I can't afford a #2, the truth is that I'm not interested in one right now anyway (luckily). I remember how insane it was when I was a first year resident with a newborn, and I don't want to repeat that. Finally, my life is slowing down and the last thing I want to do is bring back the sleepless nights. Also, I always wanted to have my kids far enough apart that I could "enjoy" each one.

    Ditto with residency. I hated med school and looked at it as something to get through, then I started residency and saw it the same way. A wise person finally said to me that I couldn't just live my whole life waiting for the next thing to end. I switched residencies and it was such a good decision. Residency sucked at times, but I also loved a lot of it.

  4. "There is always something to look forward to, but the art becomes enjoying where you’re at while you’re there"
    i love love love this quote. im going to post it on facebook and put a link to this post on my blog.

  5. Hey, I am one of those people with a huge gaggle of kids #3 was born a week before #1 turned 4 yrs old!). You are absolutely right that while it is a lot of fun and cool to see our kids be friends and play, we do spend a lot of time in survival mode. There is almost always someone sick, not sleeping, tantruming, whatever. Even though I only work 3 days/wk, I very seldom get a substantial block of time alone with any of them. I wouldn't trade my kids, despite the spacing (which was not accidental), but I do envy the moms sometimes when I see them having ice cream or reading at the library with ONE child. I think your attitude and your insight are right on, even if you didn't choose the situation.

  6. Thanks for the cheesy advice!! I have been having to tune out a lot of negativity recently.


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