This is the first time I have posted on here, although I have read many of the forums. I love this site! Although I work around doctors, all of them are men and have very little insight into being a woman doctor...
A little about me...
I am young (early 20s), have a BA, and work in a hospital. I work one-on-one with doctors and LOVE everything about it. I love the patient interaction, the leadership, the "puzzle" aspect of medicine. The MD career is perfect for me and is everything I have ever wanted in a career; if I wasn't hesitant about the MD/Family combination, I would be 110% on-board.
I have had a major road block, however, that has snagged me up on this very important decision/commitment.
I know that I would like to have kids sometime during my life (and not right now). However, it is really difficult for me to conceptualize when I want to have children, which is really the essence of the problem. I always envisioned I would have kids in my late 20's, but that seems too close now! I've been told that once your biological clock starts ticking, most change their tune however. So, I suppose I would like to have them before it becomes too difficult (maybe 27-34ish...?).
I know that if I go to medical school I will not finish residency until I am 34ish (depending on the residency). I ideally would like to be in a situation where I can work/attend school 20-30 hours per week or less during at least the first few years of life of my future kids. Obviously, I know that isn't possible during Residency (or is it??).
However, would that be possible during medical school? Also, if I wasn't able to do that, would my (future) kids be scarred forever? Would it be feasible to have kids after residency (would I be too old?)? When you get out of residency, do you have to wait a few years to secure a job, etc before having kids?
For those that have kids and are an MD, how do you do it? How much time do you get to see your kids? Do you have a nanny?
Can I have both? Do I have to choose between being a doctor and being a good mom? Are there any "family/women friendly" residencies/medical schools? I know that in the past medicine has not been very accepting of MD women/mothers, but I know that medicine is becoming more focused on work-life balance.
I've also considered PA, simply because I have been told by a few (male) doctors that it is impossible to have enough time to be a mother and be a doctor, and it is close to being a doctor.
Anyway, any insight into having kids/being an MD/being a mom would really be appreciated. I have (seriously) been trying to figure this out for the past 3 years and cannot seem to give up either of my two life goals: being an MD and having a family. Can I have both successfully?? Do I really have to choose??
Take a deep breath. You can do it. You can have it all, just not all at once, perfectly. As
Sheryl Sandberg would say
, at this point in time, it's a bigger deal the partner you choose than the career you choose. As long as you are okay sharing responsibility with your partner and accepting that not everything is perfect all the time, you will be successful at both.
I was in your shoes about 10 years ago. I went with nursing. Now I am in med school with a husband and 2 kids, and very happy with my decision, even though I have many busy years ahead. I should have chosen medical school from the beginning, and the only thing that held me back was myself.
Feel free to PM me if you have any more questions. And please, watch the link!
Thank you, Asunshine, for your response! And Wow! Great video!!
I agree, the part where she says that the bigger decision is the partner you choose is very wise. I also love the part where she explains that women make small decisions along the way to leaving the work force: "maybe it is the last year of med school when they say, 'I'll pick a slightly less interesting specialty because I will want more balance one day,' or maybe it is the 5th year in the law firm when they say, 'I'm not even sure I should go for partner because I know I am going to have kids eventually.'
"These women don't even have relationships yet, but already they are finding balance, balance for responsibilities that they do not yet have. And from that moment they start quietly leaning back."
So inspiring and so many great nuggets of wisdom!! Thank you so much for sharing!
Yes, it can be done. I agree that you can have it all, but perhaps not all at once. I will be finished with my MD/PhD in a few months. I did take a little extra time so that I could spend the first few months of my son's life at home. It is a hard path to be a mom and in medical school, but it can be done. And I'm also married to another MD student, so we have had to work closely together. We used nannies for childcare -- 2 nannies when we both worked 80 hours per week, since each nanny would work 40 hours. It was exhausting but we did it and got through it. If medicine is your passion and your dream, go for it. I agree with others on this forum who have said only do medicine if you cannot picture yourself doing anything else, because it is a hard road. But if you fit that criteria -- medicine is the only career you can imagine being fulfilled in -- then go for it. And welcome to the community of women physicians and physicians-to-be. We need to support one another as much as we can.