Showing posts with label WimWop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WimWop. Show all posts

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Our foremothers

Foremothers? Maybe it's not even a word. I was trying to find a term like forefathers.

I often think about the women who have come before us. As I walk through the halls of our medical school, I see class photos from decades past with 1 or 2 women amongst a sea of male faces. I often wonder whether they had children during their training or afterward, or were they 'discouraged' from getting married or having children? How did they function as female doctors and perhaps mothers in a world that was probably less understanding than what we face today?

I would bet they faced great hardships--particularly sexism beyond what I can comprehend. They may have anguished over pregnancies they had to hide, grieved over the lack of child care options, and struggled to satisfy unrealistic expectations of their employers. And just maybe they dreamed about us--the women who would follow them--and hoped our lot would be easier.

It reminds me of a female doctor from my mom's era who didn't tell anyone she was pregnant in medical school then didn't show up for a test one day.  Yep, she had her baby and came back to school within a week!

I am forever grateful for the trails our foremothers blazed and admire their courage. They are true heroes to me.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Last day of September

September is National Suicide Awareness month. With this last day of the month, I want to bring awareness to this heartbreaking issue.

You might be thinking: how does this relate to Mothers in Medicine? Unfortunately, it's a topic that has impacted me.

Most of you will remember Superstorm Sandy, right? Well, not only did it destroy billions of dollars in destroyed lives, too. My cousin (we'll call him Bill) was living in NYC, had 2 kids and a wife, had a couple of businesses that seemed to be going well. Then the storm hit--Bill lost several properties and his car to the flooding. His wife left him, and she took the kids. He was despondent. Little did I know at the time that Bill was also abusing alcohol. He even tried to get help from a counselor.

Bill moved in with my aunt and uncle, living in their basement, until he could get back on his feet. One day my uncle came home from work to find that his son, my cousin, had committed suicide. My dad went to be with the family and had to identify the body in the morgue. Bill's suicide was the most devastating event in our family's recent history.

Since Bill's death, his parents have struggled with all the stages of grief, as one can imagine. Now three years hence his mother is ravaged with anxiety. It's hard for me to conceive of anything more tragic than losing your child.  And losing them to suicide: a potentially preventable cause. Well, that's the kicker.

As a mother and a doctor, I think it's in my nature to be concerned about the welfare of others. I mean, that's part of those jobs, right? But since Bill's death, I really try to listen *intently* to the answer when I ask someone, "How are you doing?" I try to read the body language. But despite our best efforts as mothers, doctors, friends, etc. I am sure we miss the subtle hints of people who feel they are on the precipice, without hope to carry on. When I see people I know or patients I see with depression, I am insistent that they get treated. I impress upon our housestaff the importance of treating depression, for it affects a person's self-management of their other comorbid conditions.

So to our community of mothers in medicine: we must try to reach out to others, lend an empathetic ear, connect people with medications, counseling, other treatments for depression. Let us work to prevent losing more of our children, our loved ones, our colleagues, our neighbors to suicide.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A sucker punch

A few months ago I had brought the kids home from school (daughter, 6 and son, 3), got settled, and then they started to play in the playroom. I could see and hear they were playing in their 'hideout'--an elaborate  tent with toys and places to spy on adults. As they started to play together, I went the business of getting dinner ready.

I heard my son say to my daughter, "Ok, I'm going off to work now. Love you!" They were pretending to be grown ups. Then my daughter replied, "Ok, I'm staying at home!" It was like a sucker punch to my gut.  She was staying home while the 'man' was going his job outside the home.

That comment stopped me in my tracks. I have worked as a physician her whole life! Where had she gotten the idea? Most of her friends and cousins had mothers who also work. So I inquired, "[Daughter], you are staying home? What are you going to do?" Without missing a beat, she said, "Take care of the kids." I commented that she could work and take care of her kids, like many moms do.

In reflecting on the conversation, I want her to make life for herself in whatever way makes her happy--working outside the home or staying at home. Now when I ask her what she wants to be when she grows up--it's consistently "a veternarian".

Needless to say, it was a teachable moment for all of us.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Now is as good a time as ever

Hello, dear mothers in medicine! There's nothing special about today, other than blogging for the first time. (Yay, I'm posting!)

I am so happy to be a contributor to this group of incredible doctor moms. I've been a reader of this blog since the beginning, which was about the time I became a mother and was a fellow. Now I am a faculty member at a prestigious medical center in the South. I spend most of my time doing research to improve the care we provide and reducing errors. The balance of my time is spent teaching on the general medicine wards while we care for patients--maybe reducing the suffering they have just a bit.

The others in my family? Well, I'm married to an happy-go-lucky, always positive attorney who spends his days solving problems. He's my partner in the adventures of life. We have 2 kids who keep us busy--not sure how I'll refer to them here--maybe daughter and son is good enough! One is in elementary school, the other in preschool. We don't have family nearby, but our parents can travel here to help us out sometimes with childcare. No pets at the moment...

For all of us mothers in medicine, we definitely did not pick the easy route in life, but I feel lucky to be where I am. I certainly didn't imagine I'd be where I am 15 years ago when I started med school as an 'older student'. Seems like I may be one of the older bloggers here...I'm definitely ok with that. I feel like I'm a better mother and doctor as I learn more about the world.

How do other mothers in medicine out there feel about getting older?