Monday, February 1, 2016

MiM Mail: Hope it gets better

I hope things get better. At least that is what I tell myself everyday as I leave my house at the crack of dawn to get to work, barely having seen my child the day before. Better I do this now than when she is older are the words of encouragement I get to help me cope with my situation. I knew from an early age that my greatest desire was to become a mom, a working mom that is, until, Miss A arrived. I received the news I was pregnant halfway through my residency interviews. Scared, upset, sad were the emotions going through my head when I found out I was pregnant as this wasn't planned. I just got married and we wanted to wait at least a year. How the heck am I going to manage beginning intern year 9 months pregnant??!!?? I dreaded telling whichever program I matched into that I would have to take maternity leave so early in the start of residency. But, I thought I could do it. I was strong enough. Fast forward almost a year later. Every day I wonder if I made the right decision to not delay starting my residency. I miss so much of her development with my crazy hours. I see all my friends who could afford to be stay at home moms and become extremely envious. How lucky are they that they can be there for their child while I'm stuck working 70+ hours. Why did I become a doctor??!! Right now I am in the midst of reapplying to a more lifestyle friendlier residency but I'm constantly wondering if it gets better. If it is worth it. If I didn't have the massive loans, I would have quit already. I never imagined how something so small could cause you to rethink you life decisions. I fear that whatever little bond we developed during my maternity leave will dissolve. That I will be viewed as a stranger. God, I miss her. I just hope it gets better.


  1. I am not an MD so don't have the craziness of the hours...however I can say that a lot of your concerns are common to all working moms. Are you missing out? Yes, but going out of an then back into the workforce isn't necessarily easier. And then you will miss out on different things. I am sorry it is so hard for you right now, whatever decision you make should be for the long term interests of your family. Whichever decision you make she will survive and thrive.

  2. Thank you for sharing your honest struggle. May I ask what type of residency you are currently in and what you are considering switching to? I'm wondering if you can set a short timeline for when you might expect to see improvement in your situation (different residency, different hours, different outlook) and then if at the end of that time you still feel the same, not being afraid to take some decisive measures. Even if it means taking FMLA or other time off to reflect, it doesn't mean your career in medicine is done. You are obviously a caring and talented individual, and feeling trapped is the worst. Many blessings to you and your family!

  3. It gets better and worse but mostly better.

  4. Well I have a few things to say. First of all, I completely understand your feelings and your distress. Although I am in a lifestyle friendly field, when my Doll was a baby, I was pulling in many 70 hour weeks. I frequently looked back at my decision to become a doctor with contempt. I hated that I had to spend so much time away from my baby. While so many moms were posting on facebook saying, "I will be away from my 4 month old baby for the first time tomorrow!" I had been pulling many 24 hour shifts starting at 6 weeks and no, I was not happy about it. I was so jealous of stay at home mothers, I was angry that it wasn't me who could live that life (despite the fact that when I said this to my husband, he would respond with, "so quit, we'll deal with it.")

    A few years removed from that experience, and I have a different outlook on things. I am no longer angry or bitter about being a working physician mom--I embrace it. That's probably because I am not doing 24 hour shifts, I am not working crazy hours, and I have the same schedule as any other working mom. The difference is, I will soon have a salary bump x 3 what I'm making now, and the other moms won't have that. The stay at home moms that I know are frequently stressed and feel under appreciated. Many of them look for ways to work but feel hopeless in their own situations.

    This all is not to say that it's not a long road--it is. And the light looks very faint at first then stronger and stronger. I still struggle with what I chose to do as a job, but I never question being a working mom. I feel I could not be happier otherwise. I hope you will experience happiness soon too. It is very very tough, but I hope you will ultimately be content with what you do.

  5. Being an intern SUCKS. It gets mostly better, but you will still have long bad days, and feel utterly spent when you get home on occasion no matter what specialty you pick. And having a newborn.... I won't say it sucks at risk of getting pilloried on this forum, but...well... it is not easy in any way. That part will get better with time too.

    I do love being a working mom, though. I have no envy for the SAHMs. I think of the independence I have, and the privilege to care for patients when they are at their most vulnerable. I can do something few other people can. So rewarding! I really can't imagine it any other way.

    Hang in there! Think of how much better it is that you're switching specialties now rather than 3 years in!

  6. She's so little, she won't remember these days like you will. It is harder for you than it is for her. As a doctor you are providing specialized care for people that only you are trained to provide. It will get easier. I had my son, took 9 weeks off for maternity leave and started a brand new nursing job as a new grad RN. I never imagined I could hate my job so much, especially one I have worked so hard for! Your comments about resentment towards the friends who are able to stay home resonated with me. I hope you won't give up, and even though I don't know you, I'm sure you're a wonderful parent and Doctor. Being new at both at once really sucks. Hang in there.

  7. I can tell you that I felt the same when I started medical school with my then 3 year old daughter. I missed her terribly and wondered if this was the right thing. It then became easier - she grew up and three years later, she still adores me, still misses me, still looks forward to me coming home and having "mommy and me" days with her. She also aspires to work hard like her mommy, and has a wierdly strong school work ethic. Sometimes though - I wonder if she is growing up to fast, learning to be independent too quickly - and then the thought flies out of my head.

    I know what I'm doing is right. I get to have the job I always wanted, to provide for my family the way I want to. I'm happy to be here and grateful for this opportunity. I wanted a specialty, but chose a lifestyle friendly option for my daughter. I hope it's the best choice for her.

    But like you, i always wonder what if I had more time with her. To that, I remember the days that I spent quality time over quantity - and you know what? Quality trumps all.

  8. UGH I can relate to you so much!

    I had my baby smack in the middle of residency and returned to work in full swing after 5 weeks postpartum. I thought the world was going to implode. I was exhausted, resentful, questioning my decision to be a mother, to be a doctor.... I felt really low. I went through phases where I wouldn't see my son for days on end and I would be praying that he would wake up in the middle of the night for a bottle so I could hold him for 15 minutes. I worried daily that he wouldn't know me, wouldn't love me, and I struggled with not feeling bonded to him. I felt like it would never end. AND THEN IT DID! It's so hard to see it now, but residency WILL END.

    When my residency finished, I took a year off from work to be a stay at home mother. I immediately realized that all it takes is one week with my boy and we were as bonded as can be. But, I hated not working. I totally agree with DoctorMommy-- As a SAHM I felt bored, unappreciated, useless, powerless, under-stimulated and a huge lack of purpose in my life. Now I work a fairly normal 40 hour work week and it's wonderful.

    Residency seems like it will last forever, but one day it will be over and you should focus your goals on what life will be like after residency. As long as your baby is being cared for in the mean time by some one who will give him/her love and attention, he/she will develop beautifully!


Comments on posts older than 14 days are moderated as a spam precaution. So.Much.Spam.