I have been tired since May 2015. I am so, so tired. But the sleep deprivation proved to be worth it today. You see, today was Match Day. The results were good. Outstanding, really. Not only did I match to my number one ranked program, but my future institution is one of the most prestigious medical centers in the world.
My journey to get today was not easy. It took me three application cycles to get accepted into medical school. The emotional toll alone of receiving dozens of rejection letters is enough to make anyone go a little crazy. But with application cycles also comes time, and as we all know, with time comes a decline in ovarian function. Women physicians are all too familiar with that line graph comparing ovarian reserve to a woman’s age. I was finally accepted into medical school at 27. By that time I was married to a man nine years my senior who was very eager to start a family. So we decided to have a baby… while I was in medical school.
After a pregnancy complicated by complete placenta previa, studying for Step 1 in the height of my third trimester, and a major placental bleed during third year orientation- my beautiful Ben was born. I have loved my son with every ounce of my being since the second I heard him cry. He has brought our family indescribable joy and not a moment goes by that I am not thankful to have him.
But being a parent is even harder than I imagined (I still have PTSD from the newborn period). Being a parent while in medical school seems like an almost insurmountable challenge. It has been exhausting and challenging and there were times I did not think I would make it to today. But today is proof. When I celebrated the news of my match, I got to share that moment with my loving husband and our smart, wild, daring, and sweet little boy.
Yes, I am still exhausted. And no, I do not believe I will get to catch up on sleep anytime soon. But just as my increasing age correlates to my declining ovarian function (that damn graph), it also represents the passage of time. My grandmother used to say that the days were long but the years were short. So to all the women who wonder if they can be a mom while in medicine... the answer is YES. Do whatever is right for you and your individual circumstance. And if you do have a baby in medical school (or at any point in your medical career), there will be times when it’s awful and times you genuinely don’t believe you can do it anymore… but it is so worth it. And whatever you do, enjoy every second because my grandmother was right. There were so many long days, but these sweet, sweet years are ever so short.