Sometimes people write in to Mothers in Medicine with guest posts, asking, "Should I become a doctor?" Whatever the answer to that question is for you, the truth is that none of us would be doctors and this blog wouldn't even exist if not for one thing:
My great-great-grandmother had ten children. She wasn't so much thinking about whether OB/GYN or family medicine was the right decision for her. I don't know if she worked but she sure wasn't considering a career that involved nearly a decade of intense training. It wouldn't have been possible.
The earliest female physicians such as Elizabeth Blackwell were unmarried and didn't have to worry about children. Most women with any sort of career were unmarried. Being pregnant nonstop and caring for a brood of children makes it very hard to have a career outside the home.
I think it's easy to forget that up until recently, birth control wasn't a given. As recently as the 1960s, many states actually prohibited use of contraception. In 1965, the Supreme Court ruled that a Connecticut law prohibiting the use of contraceptives violated the "right to marital privacy." It wasn't until 1972 that the case of Eisenstadt v. Baird expanded the right to possess and use contraceptives to unmarried couples. That's only 40 years ago!
Think about what your life would be like if birth control wasn't available to you. What would your career be like if you had ten children like Great Great Grammy McFizz? And what if birth control was suddenly taken away from you? How would that affect your career and your family?
So I have to say a great big thank you to birth control. And express my anger that there are people out there, potentially in positions of power, who would like to take it away.