Thursday, June 21, 2012

Guest post: We are growing up

Tomorrow is my first day of Intern orientation. I have wanted to become a doctor for my entire life and tomorrow I officially work at my top choice hospital. This moment is bittersweet, mostly because it is the beginning of being a working mother and it is the end of my 9 months as a stay at home mother to Lil’ Zo. I am already missing him but I am so excited to begin my career as a Pediatrician. Pause for my Happy Dance!

I have grown so much as a person since becoming a parent. I am very in tune with Zo’s moods and cues; I know hunger before he cries, when he’s tired by the slightest rub of his eyes or ears, and that a certain face and eyebrow raise mean a poop is on the way. I have learned how to simultaneously nurse, compose emails, and catch up with friends.

I have learned how to be less rigid. For one, Zo sleeps on his belly even though I know it is not the current medical advice. As a newborn, Zo refused for weeks to sleep on his back for more than an hour. During one of her visits, my mother suggested that I try letting him take a nap on his belly. I watched him like a hawk for a week and saw he could turn his head left and right during sleeping, then I slept in his room for an additional week, and his sleeping went from 30 minutes to 3 hours, and I gradually made my way back to my shared bed with my husband.

I have learned that baby wearing is like baby chamomile tea; it soothes and lulls him into a state of contented bliss during which I can clean the house, read blogs, and cook dinner (with him on my back). I have learned that a nursing pre-toddler likes to test out acrobatic moves during his brief, but oh-so-efficient nursing sessions. I swear my boy moves and grooves more than I thought possible all while maintaining a proper latch without biting me with his fresh new teeth (he’s amazing!).

Tomorrow I start my life as a seasoned mommy and Pediatric Resident who still has so much to learn. I know that I will be a better, more compassionate physician because of all of the love my precious little one has showered on me since his birth. Now, off to bed where I will sleep and cuddle and nurse him until I am off for work. We are officially growing up.

-Mommabee is a Pediatric Resident in "The South" with a background in public health. She is married to O, a Librarian turned Doctoral Student and is the momma to Lil' Zo (Fall 2011). She enjoys reading, traveling, spending time outdoors, and of course providing excellent patient care.


  1. Dear Guest Post-- This is perfect timing! I am procrastinating writing an updated personal statement that explains why I am taking an extended maternity leave (13 blissful months) before starting internship. I was about to apply in anesthesia and realized I couldn't go back with a 3 month old. So I finished all my requirements before my son was born and am taking a year "off". I was wondering if or how you incorporated being a SAHM into your ERAS application and how you turned a weakness (9 months away from clinical rotations) into a strength.


  2. Loving this post! Perfect timing for me, too! I start my anesthesia orientation on Monday after taking this year off to be with my daughter (now 10 months old). I thought I was so unusual for doing this, but glad to know I'm in good company!

    Having done the ERAS/interview cycle, I was definitely self-conscious about the issue. I made sure to not be defensive and to have some other "things" that sounded impressive that I was doing (i.e. I helped co-author a paper that was published, I gave a lecture in a friend's college class about maternity care in other countries, etc). I was prepared for them to be quite scrutinizing of my time as a SAHM, but I actually found that very few of them asked me about it at all. They'd ask the obligatory "So what have you been doing since graduation?", and I'd mention my daughter's birth and the few other things I had been doing, and there were NEVER any follow up questions. Probably they're worried about asking anything illegal... Also, one of my colleagues pointed out that it's actually a bit reassuring to them to know you've just had a baby. Probably not going on maternity leave again any time soon!

    Overall, I'd say to not make excuses for taking this time to be with your baby and still point to all your accolades, recommendations, achievements in med school. They all still stand. And I learned pretty quickly that the programs that were negative about my time "off" were programs I wasn't interested in. I ended up at a great program and am excited/nervous for Monday.

    Good luck to both of you!

  3. I interview applicants for pediatrics residency. You don't get follow-up questions because it is illegal to ask interviewees about family planning etc. That said, being a SAHM is a legitimate and important way to spend your time. One time I had an applicant tell me that they took a semester off because they never got their "free summer" between first and second year because they had failed gross anatomy and had to remediate that summer. What??????

  4. I loved this!!! Reminds me of me and my boy!

  5. Thank you all for the comments. I just figured out how to reply (LOL).
    Things I think about: I was a bit nervous to include information about my little one in my ERAS application but after some encouragement from my Attendings I decided to be up front. I said something like this in the section that asks what you are doing during your time off "I am taking time off prior to residency to be a full-time caretaker to my infant son." Of note, I got interviews at programs that were obviously "family friendly" and didn't get any interviews at places that I would label less family friendly. I was never asked an "illegal question" during my interviews, but during most conversations, my Little Guy came up. During most of my interviews, I was encouraged to share pictures of my son as the Attendings showed me pictures of their children. I was helped with pumping facilities and having times for breaks. I am now a Pediatrics Resident at my top choice program.
    Unknown: I totally agree!!!
    Barefootmoses: :-)


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