Showing posts with label MiM mailbag. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MiM mailbag. Show all posts

Friday, April 22, 2016

MiM Mail: Pumping while on call

Dear MiM,

I am nearing the end of my glorious maternity leave. As my first day back in the OR draws near, I would love any and all advice on how to make breastfeeding work while having to do 24-28 hour calls. Obviously I will be pumping as much as possible while on call, but have been warned by all (including lactation consultant and pediatrician) of the likelihood of dwindling milk supply given the long times away from my baby.

Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

MiM Mail: Share your anecdotes about pregnancy and maternity leave

Hi fellow mothers in medicine, I'm currently a resident and pregnant with baby #2. I must say that the attitudes I have encountered throughout this pregnancy from my attendings and peers have been discouraging. I'm working on writing an op-ed piece about attitudes toward pregnancy and maternity leave among US physicians and would love to have more quotations and anecdotes from your experiences. Positive and negative comments are welcome (please comment below)! Sadly, mine have been mostly negative. Thanks so much!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

MiM Mail: Turning Back

Dear MiM,

I was first introduced to MiM 7 years ago when I was on the path to do a clinical psychology PhD and considering changing my career to medicine. A great mentor was trying to encourage me in both my dream to someday have a family (I was single at the time) and to practice medicine. Fast forward and I am sitting in a "How to make a Match rank list" meeting, fighting back tears.

The problem is, I'm not sure I want to Match. Don't get me wrong, I love medicine and I don't feel that anyone led me astray. I can see myself practicing (probably part-time) in the future and being able to love my work. I am not discouraged by the notion of having a family in medicine. I simply do not think I have three more years in me. For months, I've been interviewing and trying to envision how my life would fit into each residency program and I've become increasingly discouraged. I am envious of my friends with their 8-5 jobs that support their lifestyle and am disheartened by the concept of spending a lifetime trying to make my lifestyle fit my career. My partner - who still loves me dearly and who has patiently supported me through a post-baccalaureate program and four difficult years of medical school (and poverty) - has talked about us splitting because he does not believe he can survive three more years of bending to my schedule and being alone so much of the time. (As an aside, I do not blame him for considering this, and I ask that you do not blame him either.) Add to that, there are no programs where we currently live. We have just begun to fall in love with where we live, we have many non-medical friends, my partner has a fantastic job (that is not transferable), and our families are within a reasonable drive. When I started down this path, a partner and a family were merely figments of my imagination. Now, I am the worst half of a relationship, the partner who is never available to be spontaneous and when I am, is exhausted and out of shape. I am the person who is hindering my partner's career and tying him where I need to be. And, perhaps even worse, I owe him everything because I could not have made it thus far without him. Plus, I have some health issues that may impede my fertility, and the clock is quickly winding down to when the risks of pregnancy far outweigh the benefits. Add all that to $400k of debt and I feel terrible while all my classmates around me excitedly making their Match lists.

So do I pack it all in now, graduate with my MD and move on with my life, ashamed but being free of the struggle for balance in medicine? Or do I go through the Match, probably lose my life partner and simply cross my fingers and hope that a) I make it through with my mental health relatively intact and b) I can overcome my resentment and still enjoy medicine? This is such a sensitive topic that I am afraid to reveal my reservations to my mentors and I have valued the fantastic insight of the MiM community thus far. Thank you, in advance, for your support!

Sincerely,
Struggling with the Match

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.

Monday, December 7, 2015

MiM Mail: Am I crazy?

I am a 31-year-old, hospital-based speech therapist in TX who will apply to medical school in 2016. As a newlywed several years ago, we found out my husband is gene-positive for Huntington's disease. Obviously it's a devastating diagnosis, but, fortunately, no one in his family has shown any symptoms prior to age 65.

I have always wanted to be a physician and my husband has been incredibly encouraging of my dream. We completed preimplantation genetic diagnosis with IVF and have 4 healthy embryos.

Now I/we have been hyper-analyzing when to implant. I've thought about everything from this January to M4. If we shoot for Jan/Feb/March, I could have nearly a year with my little one before med school starts. But I could look pregnant during my interview. Should I wait to ensure acceptance? Am I crazy to consider pregnancy now?

I would love your opinions!

MeriAnn

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

MiM Mail: Advice for an ex-husband of a MiM-to-be

Hello!

Being a father not interested in medical school makes me a somewhat non-traditional reader I imagine.

I am ultimately writing for advice. I read a number of great posts on your blog, but I am coming at this from a different direction and was hoping one of you would be able to point me in the right the right way.

My ex-wife is a brilliant woman in her Junior year of her undergrad and planning to start applying for medical schools. We have a good co-parenting arrangement and try to do our best by our three boys (4, 5 and 7). I am no longer in the medical field but do have 8 years experience as a critical care paramedic so I can appreciate both how talanted she is and how hard her road is going to be. She is going to apply locally but is also looking at the Virginia area due to family there. I am willing to consider relocation if I can find appropriate work (I work in IT in a rather specialized area).

My question is, how can I best approach the subject of custody? I don't want to take the kids away from her by any means (she is a fantastic mom!), but I am concerned that raising three young school age boys while attending medical school will be overwhelming. She can accomplish anything she sets her mind to, but even she can't accomplish *everything*.

My initial thought is to offer/ask to take the custodial role, freeing her up to apply herself 100% at school while still affording the boys a stable home life and predictability in routine. I don't know for sure how she would receive this, but suspect she would at least be willing to consider it. Then again, as a divorcee my ability to mis-read her intentions is a matter of public record. : )

There has to be a mutually beneficial way to handle this situation that benefits all of us, and I am looking for advice on where I could look for information. I have looked at some of the schools websites for information on family services offered by medical schools but it's hard to find in a lot of cases.

If you have a moment, would you be able/willing to point me in the right direction, or even offer some insight from your own experiences?

Many thanks for your time!

Monday, November 23, 2015

MiM Mail: Making residency safer for pregnant residents

Mothers in Medicine! I am seeking your advice/expertise on the difficult subject of how to treat pregnant residents. A little background: I am a chief resident at a busy anesthesia program that takes frequent and draining 24 hour calls in the OR. Those calls are such that, most of the time, the call room is a distant fantasy. I am also a mom to an active preschooler and pregnant with #2. All was going well until after a particularly exhausting 24 hour call, when I started having frequent, regular contractions at 20 weeks. I had to take several days off work and (thankfully!) things calmed down. I'm now trying to ease myself back into the OR call rotation.

My question for all of you who have been through a resident with tough, frequent 24 hour calls or night shifts... how did your program handle pregnant residents? I've heard from friends at other programs about policies that were put in place to limit calls because so many pregnant residents were going into preterm labor. Other programs limited night shifts for the same reason. Obviously, these changes put strain on non-pregnant residents. Was there widespread resentment to enacting such restrictions?

Amazingly, I'm the first resident to be pregnant at our program in over a decade, but I know there are many women behind me hoping to do the same. I'm hoping to find some common sense changes that can be made to keep pregnant residents working, but in a safe way for mom and baby.

Thanks in advance!

Monday, November 9, 2015

MiM Mail: DO or MD school and motherhood

Dear Mothers in Medicine,

First of all, thank you for being so helpful and encouraging. When trying to decide whether or not to pursue medicine, I read just about every post and every comment on here! Now I am writing to pick your brains about MD/DO. There is a lot of information out there on the residency "merger," and the differences and similarities of the MD and DO approach.

However, I am writing to you because I want to know how getting a DO degree over an MD degree might impact my future specifically as a mother.

Right now I can either apply DO this cycle (the application season is longer) and start school in the Fall of 2016 or wait to apply next year to MD and DO programs and have more options, but start in the Fall of 2017. I am already 27, so starting sooner is very appealing to me, but I don't know how much my age should matter. Either way we will be having children while I am in medical school and residency.

Although I am pretty set on primary care, I worry that I could be wrong. Two years ago when I started this journey, I didn't think I really liked science --- I thought I just needed to get thru the pre-reqs so I could go into pediatrics or FM to provide care to rural and underserved communities. Turns out though, I LOVE science. For a few good hours I considered pursuing a PhD in biochemistry instead of medical school.

Now there is a small part of me that wants to keep my options open incase I fall in love with a specialty I don't even know exists yet, or if I decide to do research. But this --- always wanting to keep all my options open for as long as possible --- is one of my weaknesses and I don't know how much to indulge that part of me!

From reading all the posts on here that mention osteopathic medicine, it seems like a few regret their decision to go DO (momstinfoilhat and RH+) while a few (mostly students) left more positive comments. RH+ wrote in 2008:

"Don’t become a D.O. Right now you are sure that you are going to practice rural family medicine, this will change when you start rotating through different specialties. You are being told that being a D.O. will not affect your ability to get into residency. This is not true. You will seek to match in a competitive specialty, and it will be harder for you to get a spot. It will also make it harder to get a fellowship."

But, this was back in 2008. So I don't know if it is still true? I also saw someone mention that DOs have to do more away rotations in their third year than MDs? With the young children we hope to have, this could be frustrating.

A few physicians on here have mentioned taking time off to care for a newborn and doing research during their time off. Is this an option that is available to DOs? I ask because I haven't heard of any DOs doing it, but I like the flexibility that idea offers.

So, all this to ask, if going the DO route limits our choices later (in terms of a research year to care for a new baby or options for residency locations or job locations... which could limit access to family support), then maybe I should wait the extra year and try for MD while also applying to DO schools?

To those on hiring committees (MD and DO), have you or your colleagues ever passed over DO applicants in favor of MD applicants?

To DOs who are doing their residencies and DOs who are working: Did you feel limited in the match or when applying to jobs? Do you regret your decision to go DO? Do you feel like you have had to work harder to prove yourself as competent as those with MD degrees? Did you feel like your clinical training (years 3+4) was as strong? Can you think of any unexpected ways being a DO might have influenced you and your families lives?

Thank you so, so much for taking the time to read this. I really appreciate any help and advice you can share.

All the best,
Confused pre-med and pre-mom

Monday, September 28, 2015

MiM Mail: Looking for a part-time pediatrics residency partner

I am a mother of soon to be three boys in search of a part-time residency in Pediatrics. I am willing to live anywhere in the continental United States to make part-time possible. I read encouraging comments from mothers on your blog who did part-time or know someone who did. I was also encouraged by an article I read from the AAP on part-time and how open programs are to it. It listed benefits of mental health, productivity and job satisfaction. However, I seem unable to find a program amenable to it. I applied to all of the programs that advertise having part-time/shared positions. I've been offered a few interviews but when I ask about part-time, I don't get very encouraging replies.

One woman wrote that she similarly got denied until she found a partner willing to split time with her. I am looking for such a person and would love it if we could find each other. My dream is to be a doctor but I do not feel the sacrifice of three solid years of working horrific hours is fair to my family. I hope there is another person out there seeking the same and we can help each other fulfill our dreams and personal goals in this way by sharing a position. If you would like to discuss further, please send an email with your contact information to mothersinmedicine@gmail.com.

Thanks in advance,
J

Thursday, September 17, 2015

MiM Mail: Maternity leave policies during medical school

Hi Mothers in Medicine,

I am a medical student, a mother, and I am working with a team at my university to further develop its policies on maternity leave and flexibility for mothers in the medical program. Currently women have to withdraw from the year and repeat it the following year, or are allowed only a few weeks off after the baby is born. Surely this can be improved! Part of my role in this initiative is to research the policies that other medical institutions have in regards to this issue. If you went to a medical school that had a great policy in regards to taking time off, being flexible etc would you mind leaving the university information and possibly a contact in a comment on this post?

Many thanks,
A.


*Anyone is also free to send mothersinmedicine@gmail.com your contact information to be forwarded if you don't feel comfortable leaving it in a comment.

Monday, August 24, 2015

MiM Mail: Paediatrics training vs. family medicine

To the mothers in medicine team!

I'm a doctor working as a second year paediatrics registrar with a new baby and was hoping you might be able to give me some advice- I have struggled with choosing a career path for the last six years since I graduated from medical school- I generally don't like very stressful jobs but on the other hand, have always really enjoyed complex, interesting patients I've seen whilst working in hospitals.

At the moment, I'm a second year paediatrics trainee (and have yet to sit the exams for the college of physicians). I have a twelve week old baby and am contemplating going back to work where I will need to do three more years of training after my exams, of largely shift work (nights, evenings, weekends). If I do the training part-time, I would need to spend six years (and thats without having more children, which my husband and I would both like).

For these reasons, I'm considering changing careers to general practice (family medicine where I will be able to finish training in 18 months (or 3 years part-time and can say goodbye to shift work forever!). I think I will miss hospital-based medicine (and just getting to see children) but I think it might be more family friendly? Any advice from people with similiar dilemmas in the past, and how they decided what was best, would be really appreciated!

MPAS

Thursday, August 20, 2015

MiM Mail: Why the disparity in advice to prospective doctors?

Dear Mothers in Medicine,

There seems to be a disparity in the advice given to prospective doctors. Sometimes the tone is tense, heavy, and almost bitter. Warning people of the commitment, the intensity, the sacrifice of medical school and residency. And other times the thread takes a completely different tone and instead offers encouragement and suggestions for making it work, and the reassurance that more and more people are finding ways to get through those grueling years with a family.

As I try to work out the cost benefit analysis for myself, I'm curious how much of these perceived sacrifices and other costs are specialty based or otherwise dependent on the choices of the student. For example, yes, the financial cost of medical school is significant, but there are scholarships, there are repayment for service programs, and there are ways to mitigate the costs. What impact does the choice of specialty have on the stressors of residency?

How often are medical students able to get a residency near their medical school so they do not have to move their family?

Currently, my kids are 1, 4, and 5. To put the next 10 years into medical school means my kids may pay a steep cost during their childhood, and I'm not sure how much benefit they will receive. From their standpoint, I'm concerned this next step for me could be particularly hurtful. But I want to focus on primary care, which I suspect could be a milder journey, and therefore ask less of my family.

My husband is 100% on board. Wholly and completely. His work allows significant flexibility but insignificant pay. So he's happy to move with me and make this work. I just need to figure out what we'll be asking of the kids before we move forward.

Any insight for me?
Thanks.

Monday, August 17, 2015

MiM Mail: PCP to PM&R?

I am an older mom to a one and only, fabulous, wonderful little boy. I had a career in human services before medical school. I completed my internal med residency. I have worked as a PCP for about a year and, frankly, it's awful! I like my patients. I chose to work in an underserved area with a lot of folks who are newcomers to the United States and I really like this part of the work. I feel like all I do is tap on the computer instead of really dealing with the human being in the room with me.

I had never heard of PM&R in med school. The more I hear about it and read about it, the more I feel like it might be a good match for someone like me. (You know, someone who likes to talk to patients, take a history, do an actual physical exam, maybe have time to do a procedure....)

Does anyone have any suggestions about residency training? It doesn't sound like the PM+R residency would be that much worse than the schedule of an attending PCP. I am able to sacrifice salary due to a very type A doctor dad in the picture. (In that way, I am very, very lucky.)

Thanks!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

MiM Mail: Not excited by the OR anymore

Hello all,

I was a huge fan of this forum as a woman in medicine, and now I am a brand new mother to a sweet 1 month old baby girl.

I have completed the 4th year of a plastic surgery residency at a competitive and busy program, and am currently taking a research year to have more time with my daughter. My husband is in medicine as well.

I am writing because when I decided to go into surgery (albeit plastics, which is a little bit less demanding), I had not even met my husband and did not think I wanted kids. Obviously my priorities have changed.

Since becoming pregnant, I have been strongly considering a change in specialties or leaving medicine altogether. My new priority is being a mom, being present, and being focused on my daughter's upbringing. Plastic surgery demands long hours to build a practice, rigorous call, and exhausting surgeries that take a lot out of me by the end of the day.

I know switching would mean lengthening my training at this point since I only have 2 clinical years (and probably fellowship) after this research year. But I can't help but think this will be so much better for us in the long run. It makes me a little sad since I have invested so much in my surgical training already, but I don't know if I would be happy continuing on this track. I am not looking for an "easy specialty" since there is no such thing, just one that better fits my priorities. Otherwise, what other options are there outside of medicine?

I liked PM&R when I was a medical student and found it uplifting since you got to see patients' long term progress. I also liked emergency medicine for the immediate feedback and fast pace (the same thing that drew me to surgery initially). I think I need to bite the bullet and find something with more of a fixed schedule that allows me to focus on my family when I am at home, rather than being a slave to my pager. I am just not excited about the operating room anymore, especially given all of my life changes. I have never loved surgery the way some of my colleagues do, and this confirms it.

Any thoughts or advice would be so helpful.

Thank you!

Monday, August 10, 2015

MiM Mail: Lost

Hi, I just started a 3 year residency program, and I'm feeling desperately close to quitting. In fact, if it weren't for the huge financial investment I've made up to this point, I almost certainly would have quit before I even got to this point.

I have a daughter who was born at the beginning of 4th year, and I think 4th year was probably the best year of my life. I loved spending time with her at home (despite being bored and lonely for parts of it). Now that she's older, she's even more wonderful and funny and fascinating, which I didn't think was possible. I dreaded the start of residency, which was, unfortunately, a black cloud over that otherwise wonderful year.

Now that it's here, I don't know whether it's worth it to continue. I don't find the work difficult or all that unenjoyable; I kind of like it and I definitely like the idea of contributing to our family financially. I feel like I could surely handle it all if I didn't have a child. I grieve every single day the lost time with her and the opportunity to watch her grow and be there for her babyhood, which is so fleeting and the part of my own life I want to experience more than anything. Add to this some chronic health problems that I am dealing with, and I feel so depressed. And of course there's no time to seek out treatment or professional help. I really have nobody to talk to about it. I feel like I'm drowning.

I have a supportive non-medical spouse who has a good job, though it would still be a blow of course to give up a future physician income. And I do have some loans, though well below the national average. So...I guess I'm looking for advice. Do I stay or do I go? Or should I approach my PD about some sort of part-time compromise (guessing that's a huge long shot). If I somehow make it though, and don't destroy all relationships in the process, my husband and daughter would probably be better off long term. If I go, I can start to recuperate some sense of sanity and mental and physical health, and I think it's better for me personally. Maybe I could convince myself it's better for my daughter since she'll be in a less stressful environment. I feel lost. -J

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

MiM Mail: Taking the Plunge

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

Thursday, July 30, 2015

MiM Mail: Studying in residency

I'm a 4th year medical student with young kids wondering how others carve out time to study in residency? Of course I'm sure I'll be learning quite a bit "on the job," but I'm certain I'll still need to be learning and studying more outside the hospital as well.

I recently finished my MS3 year and was able to have a strong performance on the wards and shelf exams this year because my husband was a rock star; there were so many times that I stayed at the hospital after a 12 hr day studying and he put the kiddos to bed on his own. I also got babysitters on the weekends before exams so he wasn't doing everything on his own. And of course I carried around study materials and studied whenever I could like when I was waiting to pick up my kids from activities. I'm just curious what other solutions people have come up with. I don't want my husband to feel like a single dad forever; needless to say 3rd year was tough for him because he also works full-time. My youngest (and last!) will be 2.5 years old when I start residency and my older children will be in elementary school. I'm going into anesthesiology.

Thanks so much!

Monday, July 27, 2015

MiM Mail: Spacing of siblings

I am a third year medical student interested in pediatrics and my husband is a 4th year medical student applying to EM. We have always wanted a large family and lately our (almost) three year old son has started asking incessantly for a baby as well. (When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday this year, his response was "a brother and sister.")

Our original plan was to have our second child during my relatively less busy 4th year, but now that I've started 3rd year rotations, I'm starting to wonder if it is a good idea or not. Balancing motherhood with being a student for the first two years was one thing, but these last few weeks have been an entirely new level of chaotic and stressful! Is it really realistic to add another baby to the mix right now?

On the other hand, having a newborn in residency seems like it would be just as daunting, and waiting until afterwards would mean that my son would be almost 10 before he has his first sibling and I would not have enough reproductive years left to have the big family we envisioned.

I know that there never is a "good" time to have a baby, but in your experiences - what has been the better timeline?

Thank you all so much! You have no idea how much this blog has helped me survive these last couple of years!

-K

Thursday, July 23, 2015

MiM Mail: What happens to friends and family?

Mothers in Medicine,

I'm a pre-medical undergraduate from Boston, entering my junior year. I aspire to be an Emergency Medicine physician. I'm finished with my pre-medical coursework, and the next step is taking the MCAT this Spring.

For the last two years, I pushed through my studies, blissfully ignorant to how my future career path may be incongruent with my deepest desire in life: to have children. So I'm writing to you because I aspire to practice medicine, but I'm held back by the concern that the doctor-mom work-life balance may not be right for me. I close my eyes and picture my future: My time is divided between my family and my career. I'm laden with guilt for missing pieces on either end. I'm in a perpetual state of "rushed."

I've been hunting through the Internet, and it seems as though some women in medicine feel this way. I'm attempting to be a nonpartisan hunter, because in the past my confirmation bias has prevented me from considering all of the information important for my decision.

I recently came across this website, which lists the 10 things you need to give up when you become a doctor. To be honest, I was disturbed by number six:

6. Your desire to always put friends and family first
As a doctor your job usually takes priority and you simply cannot shirk your responsibilities simply because you have prior engagements of a personal nature. Over the years I’ve known many difficult situations including a colleague who had to turn down a role as best man for a close friend because nobody could swop his on-call weekend with him and the hospital refused to organise a locum to cover him. Apart from sickness or bereavement, your first priority will be to your profession. Your friends and family may find that difficult to understand at first. They’ll come round to it with time, especially once they delete your number.

OK, so the author is a bit brute with the final comment, but as a general idea, it's that on the priority list, your career in medicine trumps the important relationships in your life.

After reading this, I thought to myself, "Well, shoot." This makes me squirm. I know in my heart that I would never be able to put my career over my family, in a general sense in life. But then I think, if any career were to necessitate this, it's medicine. It should be number one because it can be life or death; it's a privilege and a commitment.

I bet when number six plays out in reality, the choice between them is theoretical and it's all about balance. But the author does provide a concrete example of choosing between the two (with wedding example, above), and in that case, would I be able to choose my job? So... number six moves me to deeply consider my career options.

I 'd like to ask you guys how you feel about number 6. Are you saying, "Yes, medicine requires a commitment that may harm relationships, more so than other careers" or "No, you don't have to choose being a doctor over being a mom, no more than you would with any other demanding career," or "I never feel as though one is of more importance to me than the other" or whatever it is - I'd love to hear it.

Thank you so much for your time, I'm so happy to have stumbled upon your website. You are all inspiring. Wishing you the best in your dual careers.

Love and blessings. J

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

MiM Mail: Advice on starting med school with a long-distance relationship

Hi there future colleagues!

I am a long time reader of this blog, though so far I can't call exactly myself a Mother in Medicine - I am a 28 year old nontraditional student who is just about to start medical school one state away, with no kids. I have a wonderful, extremely supportive live-in boyfriend of 5 years who has been on this fun (-ish) journey to get into medical school every step of the way, though he will be starting business school this fall 8 hours away from me by car.

Our short- and medium- terms goal are to end up with summer internships in the same city next year and get engaged sometime after my second year/when he is done with business school. I will try my damndest to get some away rotations scheduled near him during my third and fourth year, and make every connection I can in my home state so we can ideally settle back here for residency, as most of his business opportunities are here (though really, who knows what will happen with the match). Eventually we would like kids.

As a type A, uber organized planner who is madly in love with this man, the uncertainty of a long distance relationship is quite scary. I am reaching out to this wonderful community to see if you all have any advice for me regarding 1) how I can set myself up for success in medical school to enjoy myself and eventually match well and 2) any tips for maintaining healthy long distance relationships.

Thank you in advance - I am honored and humbled to be entering into a profession with the inspiring women I see on this blog and I can't wait to hear your thoughts.

J