I am staring down the barrel of the residency match. Yes, I still have a year and a half until my match day, but there is a lot of planning that goes into the process ahead of time. I know it was a topic day here once. (Covered beautifully, I might add!) But, I have a specific concern, and a specific question.
The concern: I already have kids. I am a single mom.
The question: What is more important, what is inside the walls of the hospital, or outside?
Before I got separated, I was looking at programs based on certain factors: geographical location - was it a cool city where I've always wanted to live? (Like Portland, Oregon). Was the program a progressive program that seemed woman centered? (Like OHSU in Portland, Oregon.) Was it an academic program? (Like OHSU in Portland, Oregon...see where I am going with this?) Was it a program that had a reputation for being a happy place to work with reasonable attention paid to resident work/life balance? (OHSU again).
But, Portland is across the country from my family and my support base. About as far as you can get and still be in the continental US. Yes, I have friends there. A lot, actually. Some of them are mothers. But, my kids' dads and grandmas and friends and schools are all here.
I was OK with moving the kids out of the area when my younger son's dad was going to be moving with us. Now that we're separated, I am having serious second thoughts. Not only would there be legal wrangling and custody issues, but I would be starting a residency in a new city as a single mom. It was hard enough arranging child care and new schools for both of them here in Miami. I can't imagine trying to do it in a new, unfamiliar city without two grandmas helping me out. I also don't know if I can justify moving to a new place and then disappearing, for up to 80 hours a week.
Peers in medical school have told me to go for the residency of my dreams, and if mama's happy, the kids will be happy, and it will all fall into place. I am not so sure that is the case. My kids are happy and well adjusted, but there is only so much even happy and well adjusted kids can take.
Throw in the uncertainty of whether I can even get into the local program, the recent uber-competitiveness of ob/gyn and whether I can get into any program at all...sigh. And, if a closer program that I do get into is malignant, and I am stuck there for four years, am I really better off?