I'm a PGY2 who started off residency last year in an Ob-Gyn program while about 25 weeks pregnant. While not ideal, I thought I could make this work -- there had been an resident a few years before me who had a baby during the fall of her intern year, and many residents in the program (female dominated) had babies during residency. My program directors and co-residents were extremely supportive, and I luckily had a very easy pregnancy, healthy baby, and smooth recovery.
While being pregnant was easy, though, going back to work was harder than I had thought. Many days, I was at work for 14 hours a day, plus I'd work weekends or nightfloat, and this would go on for months at a time. Despite how much I was working, I hardly violated duty hours and I really did enjoy what I was doing and hardly thought about missing out on things at home because I loved my job. Meanwhile, my husband was left home alone for most evenings and weekends with a baby, feeling unsupported and exhausted. He's a wonderful father and in general a helpful, loving husband, but he grew increasingly disgruntled with the situation, and soon we were constantly bickering over my terrible schedule. Our families, while on the same coast as us, are hours away. We live in an apartment, so there was no space for a live-in nanny, and our daytime nanny fell through, so our son started daycare (which we all love). I offered to hire more help for the nights and weekends, but my husband resisted, saying it was unfair to deprive our son of his mother. Honestly, I think my husband was just feeling overworked, exhausted, unappreciated, and unhappy in his own job, and I actually think he felt that even though I was at work from 5:30 am to 7:30 or 8 pm many days and weekends, my time away from home was actually a "break" from having to take care of a new baby.
Tension at home worsened after I got into a car accident while coming home from nightfloat during the beginning of PGY2. No one was hurt, but my husband was extremely upset -- not that I damaged the car -- but that I was willing to risk my life for the sake of a "job." I tried to explain that I loved this job. I asked about what his expectations were. I insisted that other people have kids in residency and make it work. It was all to no avail. When he basically threatened that our marriage would eventually end and he would seek custody of our baby if this situation continued, I tried to negotiate a part-time position with my residency director, but it wasn't possible. Long story short, I ended up taking a month off from the program, talking to lots of other people, and then switching into Psychiatry, which is the other field I was considered during 4th year of med school.
My quality of life is much better, but I still feel sad when thinking about this whole ordeal. I'm adjusting to my new program, and 4 months into it, I feel like I'm getting the hang of things, but I know deep down it's not what I 100% really wanted to do. And every time I open my inbox and see emails from ACOG, or open my mailbox and find an Ob-Gyn journal, or run into a med student who I worked with as an Ob-Gyn resident and have to explain why they're now seeing me on their Psych rotation (I stayed at the same institution), or run into my former Ob-Gyn attendings or co-residents, or see friends posting on Facebook about how much they loooove their residencies or are doing really cool things, it's like opening the wound all over again -- the hurt, sadness, anger, and embarrassment all come flooding back. It's especially upsetting to me when I see other female residents, especially surgical ones, who are having their second babies while in training! I know there must be more going on in their relationships that what meets the eyes, but it makes me sad that other people's husbands must be so much more supportive than mine.
So, I guess I'm writing to ask: has anyone else had to make huge sacrifices (such as switching residencies) in order to save a relationship or pacify a partner? And if so, how did you handle this? The resentment towards my husband is fading as I'm beginning to see how wonderful it is to have a life outside of work, but I'm wondering if I'll always feel a little sad about having to make this switch?
Thank you so much for your support and advice,