I'll start this out with stating that this is my first post. I guess I'll start out with a background and then talk about what I really want advice on.
In high school, I was completely dedicated to becoming a doctor. I took AP science courses, volunteered at the hospital nearest me, did an internship with the nurses in the Peds department of the same hospital, etc., etc. I entered into a private university with a good reputation of 'getting kids into grad schools' (including regular grad programs, med school, law school, pretty much anything). In the summer I declared being pre-med. After my first semester I got scared. I know now I wasn't mature enough and even though not that much time has passed, I've grown and come to understand my fears were frivolous. I became an English Writing and German Major. I ended up deciding to go to grad school for German, and I spent 1 year there, and I knew almost immediately I made the wrong choice. I love lots of things about German, but I now know, after experiencing it first hand, that academia in Germanic Languages and Literature is NOT right for me.
During my one year of MA experience in German, I was given the opportunity to teach German to Undergrads. This is the only thing that got me through the year, so I just assumed that meant I should be a teacher. But I was ambivalent about that choice at best, and I sat down with my mother who suggested I rethink my original goal. It clicked right away, and I knew that I really did want to be a doctor. So I went to work straight away to fill the pre-reqs that I didn't finish pursuing an English and German BA.
During all of this I've been building a strong, supportive relationship with my fiance. Every time I changed my mind and told him I was going to be something different he supported me. I was even scared to tell him I wanted to go to med school, but he said that if that's what I want and if that's what will make me happy he will make that work for me. I have no fears for our relationship.
I had wanted to apply to medical school this summer, but as finances got tight, I realized planning a wedding and applying for medical school at the same time was ill-advised. So, I decided to simply put applying to medical school off until next year (since it has financial obligations all its own). The wedding is on track, and we will be getting married September 29th this year.
This comes to my questions...
I'm going to preempt my statement with the following: I know that things are still far in the future, but a year seems like far less time than it did when I was 16.
I want to be a mother just as much as I want to be a doctor. As a child, I probably spent an equal amount of time pretending to be a doctor as I did planning out my future family. I've been picking out names for my children for as long as I can remember. Now, the possibility of becoming a mother finally seems graspable, just as becoming a doctor does.
I've talked with family and friends, and everyone tells me not to focus on it right now. And I do understand this advice and think it probably something I should take to heart. But the maternal urges make it hard for me to give this subject up. I'm the type of person who likes to have a plan, and who likes to have an idea about what's to come in the future.
I've also told both family and friends what I personally would ideally like to do. As I am planning on applying next year, assuming all goes well, I will enter med school in the fall of 2014. I know the time commitment that's required in the years to follow, and I can't even fathom waiting until my residency to have a child. In my mind, I would like to give my fiance and myself a year of marriage alone before starting a family, but after that year I want to have a child. Theoretically, this would mean I would end up starting med school with a few month old infant. Out of all the possible scenarios I've run through my mind, this one seems like the best one to allow me to get what I want out of both my career and motherhood. I'm aware that as a doctor I won't get to spend as much time with my children as I truly will want to, but I know that I can get quality time in.
I told my parents that this was what I was thinking (my father is a doctor and my mother is a former nurse turned stay-at-home mom). They both know what kinds of demands both children and a career in the medical field can have. They were both adamantly against it. My father said he saw many of his colleagues drop out of med school to take care of their families, and my mother brought up some of the more emotional arguments; talking about how difficult it will be to leave my child and how having a child during this turbulent time with stressful hours may cause my child to not know me. I know that their arguments have merit, but I still can't help but want everything.
Something else that is a concern for me, is that I have Meniere's Disease. And stress and lack of sleep nearly always intensify my symptoms. I've vowed ever since I got my diagnosis not to let this ruin my life, but it is something else I do need to keep in mind.
Again, I know this is all conjecture at this point, but so many of you have already done what I want to do in some way or another. Am I being ridiculous? Am I being selfish in wanting a child? I know that I can't know a lot of the feelings until I do have a child of my own, but I really do want input from other women. Not just my parents who want the best for me and fear the worst.
By the way, I have talked with my fiance about this as well. He says as long as we're financially stable at that point next year, that he thinks we could do it. And we both are open to day care (in fact I do think it can be beneficial since it helps children socialize with their peers). Anyway, as I said any input on my situation would be GREATLY appreciated.
Just a quick note since I see noone else has replied yet. No, you're not being selfish, and no, you're not being ridiculous.
People definitely balance having kids and med school. They balance having kids and residency. There are wonderful payoffs to doing this - you get to be a doctor and have kids, for one! - but there are also very real costs - one of which you already mentioned in terms of not getting to see your child as much as you might like, often. There are also things that make the situation easier or harder, including financial resources, family help, what your partner does and how much time/inclination he has to help, and how hard/easy medical school coursework is for you. Throughout this site you'll find a LOT of discussion of exactly these issues. I'd totally recommend just reading through a lot of the old threads, with an eye out to:
-- where do I think I might fall relative to this person in terms of my stress tolerance?
-- in terms of my academic abilities / how much time I need to study relative to my peers to keep up?
-- my family support?
-- my financial stability / resources?
-- my willingness to make compromises in order to meet these goals?
You're not crazy to be considering this - but you're smart to be thinking hard about it. And this is a great place to dig around for info/ideas/thoughts/experiences.
What did you decide? I feel like I am currently going the same struggle. I have even thought about being a PA in order to have that "time" that I was make sure I have with my family. I, too, want to start a family before I am 30 and I about to be 26. I will not be done with med school until I am 31, and still have residency to boot. I totally think I am overthinking this waaaay too much which is making it so much harder. I use to know what I wanted to do and it was an easy answer, but now, that life actually happened....I don't know anymore.
I'm 27 and started law school when my first child was 11 months old. I wrote first year exams and found out I was pregnant with my second. Then I decided to take a year off before starting year 2 and left my job as the department I worked in was moved to another country and I was dissatisfied with the new duties they were giving me. My husband has his own therapy practice so he is able to support the family. As I was about to seek out a job as a paralegal, I found myself pregnant again with our third child. Thoughts that I should not have had ran through my mind and I was panicked. Looking at my then four month old son and 2+ year old daughter I wondered what would become of the career I had planned for myself. As time went along I became depressed and then i realised that God has given me time to think about what I really want to do in this life. What is his purpose for me? Where do I feel a strong calling? For me I realised that my calling was not to be a lawyer. I could not see myself being happy in that career. Although I got good grades in the first year I felt that I was not performing to my maximum potential, knowing that I was born to do great things, as we all are. I always wanted to be in the medical feld but was not focused enough in high school to pay attention to Chemistry and Physics in particular. I had a love for reading medical encyclopaedias when I was very young and have always wanted to be a doctor. Now, at 27, expecting my baby in early 2013, I thought about different allied health careers but I knew I was just settling as I considered my home and family relationships. I really want to follow my dreams and start premed sept 2013. Sometimes fear steps in but my husband is very supportive. I took care of my parents when they were both ill with a stroke and diabetes. So JJ my advice is to pray about it and look deep within yourself. You already know what your passion is. It is the courage we need now to face it and go through with it. Life is unpredictable. You can make a plan now and things can happen which may make that plan fall to pieces. On the other hand you can do what you know your passion is and somehow doors open where you never thought they could and one success leads to another and another and everything can fall into place as you go along. Once you and your husband are committed to each other you can achieve anything no matter what. Believe in yourselves as a team and get rid of the negative energy around you. Don't let others tell you what they believe is best for you especially when you know somehow you can make it work. Hope I helped a bit.