July 7, 2010

My Final Answer

I know it may not look like much is going on here in this blog, but I continue to get e-mails from people asking the same question:

As a doctor, when's the best time to have baby? Before or during medical school? How about during residency or as an attending physician? Which specialty should I go into based on my desire to have kids?

I think I have my final answer, really, the end all be all answer. It's beyong cliché. . . but here goes: Accept your callings in life.

If you're a family wo/man, have a family. If you always saw yourself with six kids, think about how much time that would take and subtract it from the latest you'd like to be pregnant and go to it. Something will work out, it alway does. Yes, it will be unbelievably hard, but chances are if you signed up to become a doctor you're a glutton for punishment anyway.

This blog has been brutally honest (as I've been told) about the challenges of becoming a physician while trying to start/raise a family. So long as you go into this process with your eyes wide open, good coping skills, and at least one supportive buddy everything will turn out fine.

Deal with the fact that you'll miss 'firsts.' -You should have known that when you sent in your medical school application. Since none of us remember if mommy and daddy were there when we began walking, just remember that you're more likely to suffer emotional damage than Junior when it comes to absenteeism in the first years.

What children need, says me, are parents who give them their best selves in their formative years (generally accepted as age 3 and beyond). This doesn't necessarily mean, but doesn't exclude, staying at home with them. If you were called to be a homemaker, do it. If you were created to be a doctor, do it. It really doesn't matter what occupation you find yourself in so long as you set a good example of using your talents and giving examples of service. Consider the opposite: A mother who resents her children because they kept her from her career aspirations, or the work-horse who returns home too burnt-out and bitter to enjoy her kids.

The trick here is to choose a specialty (or profession for everyone else) that will build you up to be a better person. -This is where the caveat to my final answer comes. If God blessed you with the skills of a surgeon, but the lifestyle would make you and everyone else miserable, don't do it. Pick the next thing on your list of favorites. Trust me.

Finally, doctoring isn't always the thorn in the side of parenthood. The one perk to being a resident mommy is that when I have to say goodbye to my son, I can always tell him that I must go help others who are less fortunate. I was on-call last night and missing my little guy terribly when I was summoned to see a six-year old boy who was complaining of pain at his gastric-tube site. On the way to his room I saw several children with broken skulls and displaced eyes. You better believe when I came home I held onto his perfect little body longer and with more appreciation than I would have otherwise.

Coming eventually:
  • Patriotism and Decluttering - A match made in heaven.
  • Living life pre- and post-call
  • Are women the cause for the healthcare crisis?
  • The "I can't seem to lose this stomach so I'll just have another baby" option.

1 comment:

mommycall said...

This is a great post and very honest. I was a 3rd year resident when I had my baby and I get asked the "when is the best time" questions all the time. I think there isn't a best time in your career as a physician, but there might be a best time for you as a family. So you just have to make it work. Check out my blog: http://mommycall.wordpress.com/ where I talk about very similar issues. Best of luck to you!