Thursday, October 24, 2013

Guest post: Ready

In high school, I decided that I wanted to be an ob-gyn.  I felt it was my calling, and I bought books to learn as much as I could about the field.  I knew quite a bit, so much so that in medical school, I didn't have to study for my reproductive exams--I already knew everything!  (And have now forgotten it all, sadly.)  In college, I used to drive home tired from the library late at night and imagine that one day this is what it might one day be like when I would be an ob-gyn and get a call from the hospital about a laboring patient.  I loved thinking about it, imagining it, and I would never have believed anyone if they told me that it's not the specialty I would end up choosing.  But I didn't become an ob-gyn--you might ask, what happened?

Towards the end of college, long after I had already gotten into medical school, I started to get nervous about the hours that becoming a doctor, particularly an ob-gyn, would require.  When I started medical school, I regretted what I had done (going to medical school)-- I was angry that I would never be able to be a stay at home mom, which was largely because of the loans I was taking.  I complained for years about how unfair the hours that it would take to become a doctor were.  I chose psychiatry residency because it was the next subject after reproduction that interested me.  Luckily psychiatry is one of those residencies with typically less hours than most other residencies.  For almost a year, I was happy with my decision to go into psychiatry.  I felt it was a good job with good career prospects and not crazy hours.

But when I got pregnant and still had to take 24 hour calls, those feelings of bitterness re-emerged.  "What 9 month pregnant people stay up for 24 hours working??" I thought.  When I finally had my baby, I was so glad to finally get a break and finally get a chance to live that "stay at home mom" dream I'd had for years, even if it was just for 6 weeks.

About three weeks into my leave, I was done.  Done.  Done.  Done.

I hated sitting home all day and watching TV.  I hated waking up late and not having a reason to get dressed up, to put make-up on.  I hated only having my husband to talk to at night, and occasionally my mother when she came to visit.  Some days when my husband was on call, I had nobody to speak to all. day.  So is this the life I yearned for all those years?

I am now three days away from going back to work, and I'm ready.  Ready to exercise my brain.  Ready to communicate with colleagues, with patients.  Ready for it all, except for one thing:  those darn 24-hour calls!

What eats at me just a little... is that maybe I had the wrong idea of myself the last 4 years.  Maybe I've always had it in me to become an ob-gyn, and maybe I sold myself short.  Maybe I was never meant to be the mommy dearest that I thought.  If I didn't hate those 24s so much, I might even consider switching.  But I'll stick with my decision.  With my GOOD job.  And maybe in a few months, I'll be back to crying about how unfair the world of medicine is for mommies like me.


  1. This post really spoke to me. Thank you so much for your refreshing perspective!

  2. Definitely don't judge your desire to be a stay-at-home mom based on the first six weeks of motherhood. Not that you will change your mind, but parenting an older baby or child is vastly different than parenting a newborn. I went back to work when my children were babies and just recently ended leaving my job and I am a stay-at-home mom for this year. My youngest is two and I am having so much fun with her at home - way more fun than when I was on maternity leave.

    Could you somehow combine your passion for OB with psychiatry - specialize in postpartum and antepartum depression (I feel that antepartum, in particular, does not get the attention it deserves)? Have the best of both worlds?

  3. I agree. First 6 weeks are not enough to judge being a stay at home mother. Those first 6 weeks you and baby are in survival mode. I stayed at home for 9 months and it was an amazing/overwhelming/eye opening experience. I wasn't made for it either but it was soo nice to bond, you will wish you'd had longer as you see your child grow and develop. I think our country does a disservice to its children and families not making longer times at home the norm.

  4. It sounds like you're the type of person who throws herself into whatever she is doing. Which is great. But why does it have to be either/or? The training period is a b*tch, and you have to pay your dues. But once you're done, surely you can find a part-time job in your chosen field? OB and psychiatry are higher pressure than general practice, but I'd be shocked if you can't find people working part time in both of those fields in your area.

  5. I've been there, too. I took a short maternity leave with my first, and while I was upset about going back to work I was also completely ready. I love my field (Emergency Medicine) and I missed it while I was staying home! Now that I'm preparing for my second, I'm planning a longer maternity leave to help out my husband, but I know I'll be completely ready to go back to work after a couple of weeks.


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