I am a psychiatry intern currently about to have my first baby towards the beginning of my second year. I feel so blessed to have this baby, who we recently found out is a girl. I am not the emotional pregnant lady everyone speaks of--just so so happy about our family's future. It took me a long time to decide to do psychiatry, and when I wasn't sure if I would have kids in residency, I thought of ob-gyn. Now, seeing how accepting and supportive my program has been of my pregnancy, I am happy with my decision.
But, there are a few things they can't change, and they have made that clear to me. For example, if I want to fast-track into child psychiatry, which I do wish to do as the fourth year curriculum at my program isn't ideal, I absolutely cannot take more than 35 days off during my second year. This includes all vacation and sick time. After some deliberation with the program director, we have come to decide that I will be taking my four weeks of vacation, plus 10 days sick time, to make a total of 6 weeks maternity leave. This leaves me with 5 days of baby sick time or emergencies for the entire remainder of my second year.
While I am okay with this scenario, and actually it's more than I expected to have in residency, I grow more and more bitter towards the field of medicine. Family and friends are always so shocked when they hear about the above "maternity leave." My friends in finance always fire back with, "What! So-and-so at my job got pregnant and had 4 months paid maternity leave, without using vacation." Gosh, wouldn't that be so nice. When MIL heard about the maternity leave, she couldn't believe it. Her response was, "But that's not fair!" Who's to decide what's fair?
I am beginning to think more and more about simply extending the residency and doing a fourth year as much as I don't want to. It's an easy call free year and I may like to have the time to spend with my little daughter. However, with looming debt over our heads, I would really like to be able to make an attending salary sooner.
Some that read this post may think, "Wow you are lucky, that is a great amount of time!" But I don't feel lucky to have to pass my baby on at 6 weeks. I don't feel lucky that I'll be taking a lot of call while my baby is an infant. Or that after much hard work, I still have to squeeze pennies to buy baby stuff.
Does anybody else agree that medicine just sucks for motherhood?