Mothers In Medicine,
I am a married mother of 2 girls, 7 and 10. I work full time in the Information Technology, and am going back to school in the fall to complete my Medical pre-requisites.
I don’t remember not wanting to be a doctor – except maybe the phase where I was determined to be an astronaut. It wasn’t any one incident, or any driving force, just the knowledge that that was where I belonged.
Life has a funny way of getting in the way of plans. I struggled throughout my undergraduate degree with both depression and endometriosis, which meant I never managed to get the prerequisites under my belt. When I finally got those in control, life laughed again and I found myself a single mother to a beautiful girl. My program and parenting were not compatible, so I transferred out – determined to provide a stable life for my daughter. I met my husband, had another baby and went to work in a non healthcare field. It was fine. It put food on the table, clothes on my kids’ backs and a roof over our heads. We were able to take a yearly holiday, put money away for retirement and have the kids in competitive sports. I still thought about medicine, but it was what I considered to be a missed dream.
I made the mistake of taking a temp job in the healthcare field – just for a week to help out a friend. I was invited to come observe a surgery, and all of those feelings came rushing back. The closest I can describe it is the feeling I had when my children were first placed in my arms – I belonged there. Suddenly, I knew I had to go back to school and complete my missed dream.
For years I struggled trying to figure out how to get back into school. My husband and I couldn’t afford for me to quit work with two young children, and his support was limited. No one, not even him, understood why I would risk giving up a lucrative job in a stable industry, a good retirement plan, and a path up the corporate ladder. Eventually, this (among other issues) wore on both of us and we ended up separating.
Finally the stars have aligned. 10 years since I left the medical school path, 10 years since my first daughter was born and I am registered in fall classes. My husband and I have since reconciled, and he is now on board. The others in my life still don’t understand but are aware of the changes I am making. But I am terrified of the change. What if? What if I leave my career and don’t get into Medicine? What if I sacrifice my family in the process? What if we can’t afford it and I have to leave? What if I take this gamble and lose?
I imagine it as jumping into a lake. I’ve done my research, I know what the outcomes may be; now I just have to hold my nose, close my eyes and jump in. It’s terrifying and exciting all at the same time. For those of you who started medicine late, or after children - how do you take the risk?
Thank you, S