When I was pregnant with my son (now 15 months) I sat down with Dr. Sears' book. I probably did not fully grasp the true philosophy of attachment parenting. What I do remember is one statement in an early chapter that disturbed me at the time and haunted me since.
I remember reading that mothers who work full time and take time off for maternity leave have a high risk of attaching poorly to their babies. That instead of completely focusing on the role of mother they instead are preparing for the day they will leave the child. Preoccupied with their career they are unable to be fully responsive to the needs of the child.
I am sure many reader's blood is boiling right now. Now if I have mis-quoted Dr. Sears I apologize, but even if I did my real point is this: I think about this all of the time. When my son was a newborn and would not nurse, my sleep deprived hormone toxicated brain determined it must be because I planned to pump when returning to work. When he did beautifully with the transition to day care, I figured he didn't really miss me. When he runs to daddy when tired, I take it as further evidence of my shortcoming.
This is working mommy guilt and as a Mother in Medicine I did not invent it. Upon reflection I think overcoming this thinking is a unique challenge for the following reasons. First, I sacrificed a remarkable amount of sleep, happiness and personal well being to become a cardiologist. The idea that I could continue to sacrifice in a way that I would later regret is a true possibility. Second, in reality if I had to choose either my career OR motherhood it is not 100% that I would have chosen motherhood. This is perhaps difficult to explain but I feel like my work is a calling that I was born to do and is my mission in life. Finally, I am a master organizer/ planner. Indeed I was pre-occupied during maternity leave planning my return to work. But only because of my deep respect for how challenging it was going to be- and my desire to arrange help so that I could enjoy my son (an hopefully not kill anyone in my mommy-head state).
So I put this out there to share how my consideration of attachment parenting led to a judgment that is difficult to shake. The challenge to be a mother, as a full time physician, as a perfectionist, as a woman committed to caring when it seems no philosophy can be easily applied to my reality.