I stumbled across your blog while searching for resources for single moms who also happen to be resident physicians. Currently, my girlfriend (Dr. B) and I are in a somewhat unique condition and I was wondering if anyone out there had any similar experiences and any advice for us.
Our situation is as follows: my girlfriend and I both graduated from an offshore medical school this past June. Neither of us are from the US and I actually attended medical school on scholarship from my country's government. In return, I am supposed to give them 4 years of service following graduation and as such, I did not bother to apply for the match in my 4th year since I planned to go home and fulfill my obligation. My girlfriend, who is from a different country and who has no such obligation to return to her homeland, obtained a residency position in a small Ob/Gyn program (only 3 interns/year) in New Jersey where she is currently halfway through her intern year.
During our 4th year of medical school, we became pregnant unexpectedly and despite the challenges we both faced in the future we decided to keep the baby and this past August, only 40 days into her internship, Dr. B gave birth to our beautiful daughter Princess Peach. Unsure of what she was entitled to in terms of maternity leave for residents and how it would affect her ability to finish her residency on time, Dr. B took 2 weeks vacation following the birth of Peach which served as her maternity leave. Before she began her residency, I had decided to defer the start of my service in my home country to January 2013 in order to be free to care for Peach while mom continued to work, with the thought that I would take Peach with me back to my country since I would have family to help support me in taking care of her since Dr. B does not have that kind of support here in NJ. Her hospital doesn't offer childcare either so that is not an available option.
As such, since August I've been Dr. Daddio, stay-at-home father, which has been an absolute blast to be honest. I had no idea I had the capacity to love someone as much as I love my daughter and I cherish all the time we have together, even more so when her mom actually has a little free time to spend with us. However, as we near the end of the year, my time here is drawing to an end and Dr. B is freaking out at the thought of Peach and I leaving her here alone. She is already guilt-ridden about the very little time she gets to spend with Peach and she is dreading the day when Peach is no longer here for her to hold and kiss and love when she gets home from the hospital. As a result she is reconsidering letting Peach go home with me, however neither of us can see any feasible alternative. At this time, we cannot afford to pay for the kind of flexible care that Peach would need which would also accommodate Dr. B's crazy work schedule. Our apartment, which we share with Dr. B's full-time student brother, is not big enough to accommodate a live-in nanny either. The situation in my home country is less than ideal as well since I would also have to be working crazy hours as an intern, and I am unsure of who among my family and friends can realistically take care of Peach while I work, but at least I would have options there that Dr. B doesn't have here in NJ. One option is to let Dr. B's mother and grandmother take care of Peach in their home country but neither of us wants our daughter to grow up without either of her parents.
So here's the conundrum: I have to leave the country for 3 reasons (a. to fulfill my contractual obligations with my government; b. my visa only allows me to stay up to 6 months at a time; and c. my brother's wedding on January 1st), so there's no chance for me to stay here beyond the end of the year. Currently, Peach and I are booked to leave at the end of December but I know at any time Dr. B can change her mind and say that she won't let Peach go with me. If Peach leaves with me as planned, Dr. B won't see her again until the end of March when she takes her next vacation. As far as I can see there is no ideal situation for the foreseeable future as we both have commitments to work in 2 different countries for at least the next 4 years and although we are committed to each other and to our daughter, it will take at least that long for us to be a nuclear family unit again after I leave. This prospect is daunting to say the least! Neither of us want to be away from the other or from Peach, but our situation necessitates the separation. I'd like to explore the option of Peach splitting her time between the US with her mom and my country but that would have to be after we have saved enough money to afford to pay a carer regularly.
Does anyone out there have any experience in such a situation where both parents are doctors and one has to live and work far away from the other? Are there any options for childcare that I am missing? What advice can you guys offer us as we prepare to face this extreme parenting and relationship challenge?
Thank you for your blog and any and all comments are appreciated.