Friday, September 13, 2013

Guest post: Struggle

I struggle with it every day. Every day that I get into my car, turn it on and drive up my driveway. Every day that I drive away from my baby to go take care of other’s babies.

I am fine after I arrive to my office and get into my day….after I see the faces of my patients whom I adore and after... I deliver a new life into this world.

But, still I struggle. It is constant. The feelings of guilt that I tackle on a daily basis are at times overwhelming.

I never anticipated this. I adore my career, my life, my husband.

I find myself playing “what if” scenarios as I drive to work. I glance over at a minivan and see what I imagine is a “stay at home mom” with her children in tow. I think to myself, that could be me. My husband tells me, quite frequently, that he would support whatever decision I make. That, if I wanted to leave work as an OBGYN, that we could figure things out. So, when I see that mom in the minivan, I put myself in her shoes. I imagine a day where there is no call, no missed bedtimes, no missed story time , no missed bath times and no missed kisses and hugs.

Oh, what a glorious day that would be. Nothing but memories of day after day with my sweet Joseph.
Then, my cell phone rings. Labor and delivery comes across my phone. Catapulted back to reality I answer it. A favorite patient of mine is in labor, I delivered there first and now she is getting ready to deliver her second. I smile.

I realize that no, I am where I need to be. God has put me in this place for a reason. I love my job, my patients, my staff, my partners. I love delivering life. I love being an OB.

But still I struggle. I struggle when my mind slowly lets the thought…”he knows his dadda more” creep into my mind. I struggle when I hear him call his Nanny “momma.” I struggle when I am home with him for a day and feel clueless in regards to his daily routine.

It is a balance that I have to work every minute of my life to achieve.

My heart aches when I start thinking about Christmas and Halloween and being on call. He is little now and these holidays mean little to him. But, being a momma, I sometimes dread ..the future ..of perhaps missing a costume or a present because I am at the hospital.

So yes I struggle. I think to myself will it always be this way? Unfortunately, I know it will. It will only become more difficult. But, I will make it. I will be Joseph’s momma, John’s wife and Dr. Watkins the OBGYN.


  1. The grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side.

    A few years ago, my sister-in-law told my husband over email that if we couldn't have one of us stay home full time with our children, that we shouldn't have children at all! (We both work full time.) Imagine my shock then when a few months ago she told me that she envies working moms sometimes for having a sense of purpose other than being a full time stay at home mom, and that it enriches their children's lives by the example she gives them. She felt that sometimes her children take her for granted or resented her for all the limits she sets in her running of the household.

    Hang in there. You'll see as time goes on that you'll treasure all the time you do have, and sometimes you won't, but your life and your child's life is the richer for what you do. You just have to do what works for you and your family!

  2. Are you an Attending? If you are in residency, as my Residency Director says "it's okay if you don't love residency" because you are only meant to be a Resident temporarily. Now, if you are an Attending, several other posters have written about taking time off to do research, policy/advocacy work or working part-time. I know many very happy and successful Attendings who work part-time or work in settings that are more conducive to being at home more. That is my plan post-residency. Wishing you the best. I know how you feel, but as someone who spent close to a year at home as a stay-at-home mother, I know I am not cut out for it for more than a few months.

  3. This post incredibly worries me as I am a 4th year medical student who just sent in her ERAS application yesterday and applied for Ob/Gyn. Lifestyle has always been that issue in the back of my mind when thinking about becoming an Ob/Gyn; however, I decided to bite the bullet and do what I love, hoping desperately that it is not a mistake. My husband is amazingly supportive so I told myself to follow my heart and the "lifestyle" issues will work themselves out. I'm glad to hear you still feel you are in the right place. I hope that I feel like that too. But I am honestly terrified about having kids one day and regret showing its ugly face. (Not about having kids, but becoming an OB.) I pray everyday that this will not be the case. If you have any tips or advice on how to balance it all, please share! I would love to hear them.

  4. I swear to God I've read this same kind of post over and over again. I am a 2nd year medical student and I share MS4's worries, although I don't want to go into OB/GYN. I guess it's just something women in medicine are going to have to struggle with.

  5. I have been working as a full-time internist (primary care, hospitalist) for 10 years and I have 3 children--one born in medical school, one in late residency, and one while working. EVERY mom-doctor has this guilt. But I realized a few years ago that my children actually do not remember the nights I spent away, the missed or rushed holidays, the fatigue, etc. That was eye-opening. Children live in the here and now, and if you can make yourself present when you are with them, that is what they need and what will carry you through the times when you are apart from them. The pay off for this sacrifice is your self value, what you bring to your patients, and setting an example for your children to do something you feel called to do.

  6. I'm not a doctor. But I am a professional and I've lived that life too (I'm currently on mat leave, which in Canada is a wonderful year long thing).

    The problem is that you are a very smart woman - and while I know it tugs your heart strings, you would not likely be fulfilled as a SAHM, at least not in the long run. You would need to do something else, you will need to be challenged, stimulated. I feel like that already, just 5 months into my mat leave. And even if you weren't an OB you'd need to do something that would require a similar amount of personal sacrifice because unfortunately there are few 9-5 jobs out there that would provide you with the challenges, purpose and stimulation a woman like you would need in a job.

    Also know that in a baby's life, there are only 2 people - the mama and the not-the-mama. The mama has a special place in the baby's heart that NO ONE can replace. He'll forget his nanny over time (unless she stays with you forever) and its a great thing that he loves his daddy. Trust me if he screamed every time you left him with daddy your life would be much harder! But no matter how much he loves his daddy, you will and always will be his no.1.

    Hang in there!


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