As in, in real life, day-to-day, down and dirty?
I'm working on a writing project about being a mother in medicine in practice. This is going to be the everyday stuff: the logistics, the scheduling, the practical aspects, the balancing, the conflict. Funny stories, lessons learned, suggestions, and mistakes.
As I was thinking about this project, I realized that my experience in clinical practice is drastically different from women in other specialties. There's no way I can write this without input from moms in every area of medicine!
Things I was wondering about:
When I was pregnant, it never occurred to me not to tell people. I can't keep a secret to save my life. But I have colleagues who kept their bumps hidden for as long as humanly possible, for many different reasons: worries about discrimination; fears of being passed over for promotion; superstition. What did folks out there do? If you felt like you had to hide your pregnancy, how did you, and for how long? Looking back, what do you think, was it necessary?
What about those specialities where there is risky occupational exposure, I'm thinking radiology, surgical subspecialties… How did you manage that in pregnancy? If you needed to step out of the room, how did your colleagues react?
A lot of doctor-moms don't take a full three months of maternity leave. Some take more. Does this vary a lot by specialty? Did folks feel pressured to take less than three months? Did anyone have to fight for three months?
I never pumped at work. (Long story.) For the moms that did, can you share some of the good and the bad? Were offices and hospitals supportive or not? Were facilities acceptable or not? What were your worst pumping experiences? Would you do it again?
As a general internist with no inpatient duties, my call weekends involve, well, phone calls. What is it like for doctor-moms who have to go in? For the surgeons and anesthesiologists out there, is it better to be on call from the hospital or from home?
My office clinic is low-key enough that if I need to, I can step out and answer a phone call from my kids' teachers or the school nurse. But what about for moms working in the operating room or the ICU or on a busy inpatient floor? If you need to step away to take care of your family, are you supported?
My husband travels, and occasionally, I've had to cancel a clinic day to stay home with the kids: blizzard closed the schools, kids throwing up… Have others needed to cancel their workdays for childcare? Did colleagues make you feel bad, or did they step up? For those who haven't or can't, how do you manage those unforeseen events, the school cancellations and nasty illnesses?
I am eternally grateful that I can work part-time. I know that not all physicians approve of that. For those working full-time, how do you make that work? What supports and systems need to be in place for you?
And of course there are more questions, more scenarios… We can all learn from each other!
All specialties should have representation. I would love to hear what you have to say.
Don't feel comfortable commenting here? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org