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Trying to go get back to residency after time off

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4 years 6 months ago #95589 by ttm2015
My road to med school was a rough one. Both my husband and I applied, he got in and I didn't. In fact, it took two years for me to get in to med school. I was working hard and we were looking forward to our future as doctors when I got pregnant in my third year. He interviewed and matched (no couples match for us!) and managed to get the first year of his residency at our med school but his primary residency was in another state. With a newborn I was working through my rotations and preparing for all the problems fourth year and commuting to my husband's new residency location would bring when I got pregnant again. Away rotations and a lot of help from my mother in law (who lived with my husband and cared for the baby when I had to be at main school rotations) kept us together as much as possible.... I did everything I could think of t o match in town with my husband, but for whatever reason it didn't work out. My daughter was born the day before match day, and instead of yeah baby and yeah match, I had a pretty brutal emergency delivery and no match. The years since then have been pretty rough. Since I didn't match and my husband's residency was a very demanding one I made the desicion to stay home and retry for residency later. It has been a pretty rough few years since then. No outside help, my husband was always busy, and two kids that are barely a year apart. They are finally in school and I saw a light at the end of the tunnel... I studied, took step 3 and passed,and was trying to start applying for residency. When more roadblocks came up. Not sure if it's even possible or worth it at this point.any words of advice or encouragement would be helpful...
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4 years 6 months ago #95590 by sahmd
All those setbacks must be discouraging. :( I must say that I know very little about how the match works these days. All I know is that it is very competitive. Several people here have had trouble matching when they only applied in one geographic area. And people have had trouble matching after graduating from medical school because the medical school no longer makes an active effort to help them.

From what you have shared, it seems that you have consistently made choices that put your family ahead of your career. Not that there's anything wrong with that. :) I am just wondering if you think that that will change much in the future. Your husband had a demanding residency and couldn't help much. Will he have a demanding job as an attending or fellow? Will he refuse to move for your career because it would affect his career? Do you feel geographically tied to the area where the children are in school? Are you prepared to have other people provide before- and after-school childcare after being home with your children for years? Will additional children derail the whole plan? Will you be able to get help with the domestic chores you have probably been doing yourself for many years?

Again, I don't know anything about your odds of matching, but it seems to me that to have the best chances of matching -- and of completing residency -- you need to give yourself every advantage. That means being willing to move anywhere in the country. Maybe twice, if you do a preliminary year. And you and your husband need to be okay with the dramatic shift in who does childcare and domestic tasks.

I'm sorry not to be more positive. It is a shame that the medical education system does not account for the fact that people have lives. And don't take all the blame yourself. When you say that it was your decision to stay home, you discount the huge influences of your husband's choices and the inflexibility of the medical education system.

Good luck with whatever you end up doing!

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4 years 6 months ago #95591 by ttm2015
My husband is actually really supportive.He is finished with residency and fellowship and had a great job in our area, but now he is trying to transition to a less demanding job so that I can do my training with his backup. We are pretty tied to the geographic area but there are some good prospects, they're just all in larger cities (where it's harder to find less demanding radiology jobs). The kids are not thrilled by the prospect but I think they understand the importance of what I'm trying to do (or as much as you can at 6 and 7). Personally, my mom was a stay at home mom who always yearned for a different life, the road not taken. It made her pretty sad and in retrospect as an adult, very bitter. I would not want that to happen to my own kids, it is something I have strived very hard for them never to think, that I might in any way be un happy with my choices in staying with them. (Which, by the way I am not) I feel that it's part of serving my family to fulfill the obligation of my training and be happy with my own life and choices. It just seems like a really long road right now.
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4 years 6 months ago #95592 by sahmd
It's good that he is supportive. That is very important.

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4 years 5 months ago #95596 by lyn2006
I'm sorry you've had such a long road to becoming a doctor. It's great your husband is supportive of you returning to training, but as half of a 2-physician couple with kids I would just point out that saying you're supportive and then actually picking up all the work you've been doing for the past 5+ years with the kids and house, etc are very different things. I'm an anesthesiologist who just finished training and my husband is doing a cardiology fellowship. We went to med school together, couples matched, and did residency together. Our first child was born 4th year of medical school and our second during PGY-2 year.

My husband has always been supportive - he wants me to pursue my dreams, follow a career I want, work the number of hours I want to work, etc. However, in our family the management of daily life falls almost completely to me. Partly this is by choice since I enjoy it more and am better at organizing all the crap that comes with having a nanny and 2 kids. He will always do what I ask of him but that means leaving specific instructions for the grocery store or making dinner, etc. I've outsourced almost all household tasks to our nanny so he doesn't have to worry about doing laundry, cleaning, etc. This system works well for us and we are both happy (well, he is as happy as any overworked fellow can be I suppose...).

Looking at your post, I just wonder how much your husband realizes you have been doing. Mine has no idea how much work I put into running our family and maybe it's different in your house, but I imagine if he's been in training, you've probably taken over the management of the household. Does he realize that he will be the one who is less busy? Does that mean he can take sick days if kids stay home from school? (This has always been an area of contention between my husband and myself and it usually depends on his rotation and my work's daily staffing.) Will he take over managing childcare before and after school if needed? Cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, cars to the shop, pets to the vet, kids to the doctor/ dentist? And the other thought I have is - will you be happy with this? Reading your post, it seems like you feel sort of obligated to return to training but will you miss being home with kids?

I love my career and would not want to me home all the time but I say that now, having finished training with incredible support in raising my kids (nanny as well as family nearby) and have a great job that I absolutely love. If I hadn't known all this was at the end of the tunnel of training then I'm not sure I would feel the same... It's a long road and your kids only grow up once. I wouldn't have missed it if I had to come out the other side of training to something I don't love to do.

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4 years 5 months ago #95601 by ctenj
I'm sorry to hear about what sounds like a very long and discouraging road, but I agree with lyn2006. Before I restarted med school (when husband and I got married and had kids, I was working on my PhD, he was a resident), a big concern of mine was whether my husband's insistence that he was supportive would actually translate to physically picking up some of the workload. He has and it's made a BIG difference. I can't imagine trying to get through med school and in the future, residency, without knowing that I wasn't responsible for all of the household tasks too. Like sahmd I think it's important to ask yourself (and your husband) how much he's realistically willing to sacrifice for your career - both in terms of household tasks and in terms of sacrificing his own career so you can move wherever you're able to match.

I do hope that it all works out for you. I can only imagine how tough it's been... Good luck!

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