This is an amazing blog. I have been following for many years, since before I was a mommy in medicine. I am not someone that makes friends easily, or even shares a great deal of myself with the friends I do have. This community has been an enormous support to me, especially since the birth of MK (now 1 year old). I have often wanted to write a post, share my story, but for some reason or another it never happened.
A little background about me; I was raised in the United States from the age of 2 and lived there until I came to England to go to medical school. At the time I thought it was a great way to come out of medical school without too much debt (I was born in England so qualified for greatly reduced tuition), and see another part of the world (US suburban living was boring me into a coma). The plan was as soon as I finished I would come back to where my parents and family was, back to the place I have always considered as home. Fast forward to now, I have finished medical school and married to a born and raised Brit with a baby who came as an utter surprise just before I was due to take Step 1. I have matched to an Obgyn program (like residency) in the UK. Obgyn is definitely my calling, and I would find it very very hard to do anything else. This is a seven year program (all the programs here are MUCH longer), and the hospitals I would be rotating through are less than an hour away from where I live. I have a great MIL who lives minutes away and is happy for me to split childcare between herself and daycare. Because I have a small child, I also have the option of working flexibly (3-4 days a week). This would mean taking longer to finish the program and less pay, but the option is there if I need it. Finally, even if I worked full time my schedule would not be as intense as what some of you have often described (typically 8-5 four days a week, 1 12 hour day a week, four nights in a row every 4-5 weeks, 1 weekend every 4-5 weeks).
I see the benefits of staying here and the positives that are offered by the system here. However I still can’t shake the feeling that I should go back to the US. I miss my parents and I feel like I don’t even know my siblings, I have been away for so long ( I do visit every year for at least 2-3 weeks, but somehow our schedules match up for a very small amount of that time) . I always envisioned our kids growing up together, and if I stay that it unlikely to happen. I miss friendly faces. I miss the sunshine in the summer and the snow in the winter (I miss SEASONS). Finally I miss the American attitude, which you don’t really appreciate until you actually leave and realise the rest of the world does not think the same way. In America, people have a can-do optimism that I would love my son to grow up in. I have seen well established people decide to follow their passion at 45 and drastically change careers, embarking on new challenges. There is a mentality that if you work hard, you will get wherever you want to be. I feel this does not really exist in England. Going back however would mean finding time with a young child and part time work to ace the steps, get into a US residency program and then survive it. And then not look back at what could have been?
I am not sure if my dilemma has any basis. I feel this way maybe because I am homesick and nostalgic at the thought of the next seven years and what that will eventually lead to. For all of you that know the American system better than me,and maybe even some of you who may have had experience in both systems, your thoughts and opinions would be very much appreciated!