Today is day two for me. Day two, that is, of returning to work leaving behind my 5 week old infant daughter. I am a 34 year old surgery intern, wife of a new work-at-home-dad and mom of one. I was allowed to take my vacation weeks as "maternity leave" in order to avoid becoming behind in my program; however, a late baby and an unforeseen c-section caused me to have to take another 2 weeks off unpaid. I knew this was going to be difficult. "How difficult" remains to be answered. The all-male administration/faculty/senior residents of my program have barely acknowledged the situation aside from the program director's half-joking comment, "Don't you dare have any more."
Right now I'm on a lax 2-week radiology rotation consisting of half-day lectures but on November 1st, I return to the surgery department for 2 months of Q3 30 hour call. Board exams are in January. It's beyond daunting to even think of it right now.
After a struggle to establish successful breastfeeding with my baby, we have finally done it! But now I'm facing going back to work in an unsupportive environment. I questioned the possibility of pumping at work (very loosely suggested the topic to the head admin) and was told I could probably pump in the bathroom. I really don't think I'll be able to sneak off to do it anyway, but the fact that there is really no place to do it at this facility besides a dirty bathroom is even more frustrating. I've been torn up over making the decision to try to pump some or to just switch to formula.
As I have not met anyone who has had a baby during intern year, let alone in surgery, I would love to meet anyone who has been in a similar position. Even other moms in surgery practice.
Anyway, this has been a very emotionally draining and physically exhausting month "off". My medical school debt load is so insanely large that I could never fathom taking time off or not pursuing the paths I have taken so far. So, here I go...