From quickly skimming this forum, it seems like there is this presumption that if you are a mom in medicine, then it automatically means that you are going to have a career in outpatient medicine, something that could easily be done by an NP or PA. I was under the same impression when I got started.
Quickly, some background about me. I married immediately after college, took a year off just to enjoy myself and my husband, then went to medical school. I had two children in medical school, which I think was the best decision of my life. I matched to an internal medicine program and was on my way to doing primary care.
But here's the thing. Before medical school started, I thought of medicine as your typical 9-5 in a doctor's office, with occasional night work, all community medicine. By the time I was an intern, I was exposed to so many other ideas of what it meant to be a physician.
I matched into a competitive pulmonary and critical care fellowship program that strongly emphasizes research. My ultimate goal is to become faculty with research, clinical, and educational duties. I could not have picked this path as an NP or PA.
So what about my family? I'll be married 8 years in June, and tonight we're going on a date. My son is in kindergarten and doing well, and my daughter is in daycare (a home daycare, which I love and have strong opinions about!) I have attended every parent-teacher conference so far, have baked every single cake for every single birthday, and am still primarily responsible for gluten-free meals. It is rough to get through residency with children, and I won't deny that I felt guilty and lonely a lot of times, but kids have this way of showing you that you don't have to be so hard on yourself.
I am so happy right now, but I had to get past intern year to get that way. Always remember, being a physician looks nothing like being an intern or resident. And for me and many other people, it won't look like being an NP or PA either.
Thank you, Nickel! I love inpatient/critical care and had been feeling down about it since everyone seems to say you won't be able to be there for your kids if you choose a hospital-based specialty. I appreciate your remarks and hope someday to say the same.
I am a non-traditional now-MD and a PGY-2 in emergency medicine. I am also a single mother of 5 (now age 13-23) though only 3 are still at home, and despite how hard it has been at times, I still can't think of anything I would rather be doing with my life. I say this even after divorce during my second year of medical school and a move four states away for residency.
Still, I will always feel some guilt that I wasn't around nearly as much for my youngest as the oldest. I have missed many a volleyball or basketball game. I have been so tired that I fell asleep when I said I would help my youngest study for an exam. Even today I realized that parent-teacher conferences were this week and I never scheduled one! On the flip side, I have been able to expose them to a whole new set of possibilities of what life can offer. And, I have made it to most of the sporting events, I have never missed a school play performance, and thankfully all of the kids have done well in school and are still involved in extra-curricular activities. More nights than not we spend dinner together as a family even now. The children swear that they are proud of me and don't feel that they have been cheated.
Medicine itself has been mostly what I expected. I had no experience in the medical field, aside from countless nights in the ED w/my own asthmatic or injured children. I probably didn't fully appreciate the physical toll an 80 hr work week can take, or the emotional toll of telling a family that they have lost a child so close in age to one of my own, but I still smile strolling in to my shifts - and I highly recommend pursuing your dreams.