Dear Mothers in Medicine,
Over the past month or so I have come across your blog and have become so interested in reading all of the wonderful stories and insight that you post. You might wonder how I came across it...well it's a bit of a complex story. After graduating college in 2009 I decided to pursue medical school. I really felt that I wanted to help people and work with children in my future, eventually enter pediatrics (at the same time though, I think I may have just fallen into this track as I had the "premed mindset" for a very long time). I gained acceptance and started medical school July 2011. Yet about a month into starting began to question my decision. Although I loved living on my own, and had a wonderful relationship with my peers and staff, I could not help thinking about my future and if it would really be anything but work-filled. On top of that I was being pushed to my limits, depleted really, and feeling anxiety and bouts of depression. By this past Christmas I decided to take a leave of absence to decide if medicine truly is the right path for me, as everything seemed to be spiraling in the wrong direction.
After being home for about a week now, my mind is more confused than ever. Is the stress/anxiety/depressive feelings something that will get better as school continues and I adjust? When I start practice will I be able to balance my career with family (mind you, having a family and being invested in them has always been my number one priority)? If I leave now, am I going to look back and regret this...but if I don't leave, what kind of impact is this going to have on my future health and family life? Would being a nurse practitioner satisfy me? Do I want to physically endure residency? And am I willing to sacrifice the next 7+ years of my life and give just so much of myself to a career when there are so many other things I yearn to invest my time in as well?
I know that ultimately the decision rests with me. I have tried speaking with others who have been through the same things as myself as well as those in the profession, but am still having a difficult time deciding whether returning to school would be my best option. It has been a difficult decision to even take a break from school as I have always been the overachiever who just pushes through no matter what-yet this was the first time my body made me take more drastic measure and really reevaluate where I'm heading.
Although you may not have the answers to all my questions I'm hoping that some of you might help shed some light on my fears and whether you ever went through any of this thinking. Looking back do you feel that this career has suited you well (family, health, lifestyle, and all other things considered) or would you have done things differently. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Look forward to hearing back from you all!