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Moms can't hack med school...perspectives

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12 years 3 months ago #67646 by Mitch
Hi all,
Recently there was an editorial in our local paper from a 3rd year med student who is choosing to quit med school...she had a baby in first year, and is currently in second. She has decided that she can't do both. There is also a second editorial from a woman physician urging her not to make such a big decision when clearly stressed....to take a leave instead....and realize there will be a time when her children are older, etc. I can try and link to the articles if anyone wants to read it. They are both interesting perspectives.
In any case, on another premed topic board that's for Canadian premeds, specifically at this particular medschool, there has been a number of responses, all basically along the line of "it was her choice to get pregnant, and what the h*** was she thinking???".
Here is one post:
Interesting. However, even though I know everyone's gonna jump down my throat for saying this, I can't help but wonder what the hell she was thinking, first getting pregnant right before entering med, and then getting pregnant AGAIN already halfway in med. Why not defer the first time (or just not get pregnant) and why not wait until residency the second, when you have already had a taste of what it's like to be in med school and have a baby at home (and didn't like it)? It just seems bizarre to me. I don't know why she's blaming the medical profession for all of this, it's a demanding career and she should have made educated decisions before jumping into it. And now if she pulls out, it will have a negative impact on female applicants, especially mothers (even though they'd never openly admit it), in the future.

All the remaining posts support this position. Now, I realize that some of the women on this board may feel exactly the same way.....but I do not. It bothers me that there would be such criticism about someone's personal life; who knows, maybe the pregnancies were unplanned, maybe she was worried about delaying childbearing for fertility reasons, maybe she had no idea what she was in for re: parenting and med school, etc. It also bothers me that clearly, these people will not support mothers in med school, since their "superior" judgement skills and life planning skills have allowed them the option of perfectly planning their future families. Anyhow, as you can clearly see, I'm completely hot under the collar about it. :mad: I plan on responding, but as a mom of three who is working on pre-req's now, I am far too close to the topic to prepare my usual, thought-out challenge to the case. I'm wondering if there's any of you who might find this offensive as well, who could help me out crafting an intelligent, articulate response? Thanks so much! I'm off to burn off some steam, now! ;)

Live, Love, Laugh

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12 years 3 months ago #67647 by residentmom
I agree that they can't possibly know what else is going on, how she got pregnant, etc. I would also add that as a mom who had 2 kids in med school, at least one planned ;) , that there are women who can do it, and thus this one woman should not be the standard for all women. We also don't know what her support situation is at home, whether her kids are healthy, etc etc. Too many unknowns to determine. I guess I agree with the older doc-- take a year off, recuperate, and see if she wants to go back. If she realizes in her time off that she misses medicine and wants to get back to it, then good for her. If she realizes that she never liked it in the first place and she wants to stay at home, or whatever, then at least she will know before she accumulates any more debt.

ResidentMom<br /><br />"If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much." --Jackie O.

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12 years 3 months ago #67648 by hilseb
I agree. First of all, 40% or more of pregnancies are unplanned.

Why is it that one mom's valid personal decision means all moms deserve some sort of commentary or, even more ridiculously, that all female applicants will be seen in some sort of tainted light? When a single childless male drops out, will all single male applicants be expected to admit that they are now to be eyed with suspicion?

<a href=" www.momstinfoilhat.com " target="_blank"> www.momstinfoilhat.com </a> <br /> <a href=" www.foodielovespicky.blogspot.com " target="_blank"> www.foodielovespicky.blogspot.com </a>

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12 years 3 months ago #67649 by TexasRose
I was thinking exactly what hilseb wrote. Do we judge every young man who drops out because his father is ill or his gf left him and he can't focus on school? Do we tell the student who dropped out because her mom was undergoing chemo for the second time that she shouldn't have started med school knowing her mom's cancer might relapse?

It's ridiculous to judge an entire gender based on the decisions of some of it's members.

I just believe that none of us can know ahead of time what life is going to throw at us and how we are going to deal with it when it does happen. We need to stop being so judgemental. Maybe this student is blaming the medical system because she has to defend herself somehow from all the criticism and judgement of others.

I'll tell you one thing. I'm within a year of graduating from med school with 3 kids (whom I had before school). I love medicine and I am very dedicated to it. But, if something dreadful were to happen (Heaven forbid) and one of my children or my husband needed me to be there fulltime to help them recover, I would take a leave of absence at a moment's notice. That's not being an "indecisive woman," that's being a good human being. If this woman feels the need to be home with her family, who are we to judge?

I'll never understand women attacking other women for having children and struggling with career decisions. :(

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."

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12 years 3 months ago #67650 by TexasRose
Oh, and I must add 2 things.

1) sorry for the soapbox, I'm irritated by a similar discussion going on elsewhere and was all "riled up" when I write this. ;)

2) I have 4 classmates who have had babies in med school (one woman had 2!) and 2 more that are pregnant now. All of them are successfully graduating on time with us and doing well in school.

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."

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12 years 3 months ago #67651 by mrssd
This kind of thing ticks me off so bad. If I were to say exactly what I am thinking in the heat of the moment I would undoubtedly be guilty of stereotyping both unmarried and childless women and men so I will hold back.
With that said, there is no reason to generalize one woman's plight or decision as that of every woman’s. In every situation there will be a dozen different avenues to go down. She chose one; I chose another by having a child in medical school and not really skipping a beat. There are several women and men who have become parents in my class...none of us have taken the same amount of time off or chosen the same field of medicine to enter into. But the bottom line is that once again women are their own worst enemy--how are we ever going to get ahead?

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