I am starting to feel more and more settled (dare I say excited?) about continuing with my education. I don't know if it is all the advice on this site or the time I spent talking, talking, and then talking some more with old friends about it all... but I can say honestly, I don't want to quit. I also don't want to do anything other than medicine. And, it seems like if I wait until things are "easier" at home, it will be immeasurably more difficult to get back into the swing of things at work. So, there it is. Now that I have made a tentative decision, I feel so good about it! I feel like I have a lot to contribute to people other than those I share a last name with.
Also, I had a little talk with DH about shutting off the idea of a fellowship. Apparently it wasn't so final as I had perceived it to be. He was just having a moment. As of now, it is still the tentative plan for him to get a uro-gyn fellowship. Then we would all be together!
On another note, I am even feeling more positive about Mother In Law living with us next year. Have I written about her? scroll, scroll... wow, how have I not? Let me just say that she was a good mother to her children when they were very little. That is *honestly* the ONLY thing I admire about her. She is a compulsive liar, steals money from her family members, cheated on her husband, and lied about who's dad is who's just to start. She is at odds with *literally* every adult in her life except my husband, her favorite child!! She is bitter that I have taken him away. She monologues when she talks and if you say anything like "yes, you just told me this story," it does not alter the course of her speech. Example, just before I walked down the aisle, she screamed in my face and made me burst into tears. (For a VERY un-scream-inducing reason) She never admits a wrong, her kids cannot remember a time when she admitted a mistake.
Everyone thinks I'm crazy for asking her to come live with us. Here is the deal. It was my idea. My husband (who despite all her efforts is NOT a momma's boy) fought it for 2 years. The thing is, she loves our son. She is SO good with babies. I really do trust her judgment in (only) that area. Taking care of her grand-babies makes her so happy. Also, I never got comfortable with anyone else watching our son. Nannies scare me because there is not one there to see what is going on. Daycare sucks because our son was sick the WHOLE time he was there, and I never felt like he was getting the interaction that he needed. Most importantly, my husband and I will be working weird, long hours. There will be times where we will take call on the same night. Do I want an employee with my babies, 4 months old and 2 at that point? NO! I would not be able to handle that. I also would not be able to afford it! Nannies are OUT of the question here in DC (sooo expensive) and daycare hours won't work. I want to wait for the au pair option until our oldest is old enough to "report" what she is doing. They are young! Plus, we can't even afford that. I really do feel like MIL is my only option.
That said, I am beginning to feel optimistic about it. I think living with her and attempting to show her grace and love (and actually mean it) might be the hardest thing I will ever do. I want to have compassion on her to see past her yucky behavior (and to remember that I am no better than her, just different). The truth is, she loves my son and that makes me love her. That can be a starting point. Plus, my husband and I can spent more time together. I can picture once the kids are in bed, we can go for a walk, out to coffee, whatever! I need to remain positive.
I think that I am exceptionally hormonal this pregnancy.
Last night DH and I got into a fight. He only gets one week of vacation this year and it turns out that he could have taken it this month before I was too pregnant to travel. Now its too late. I was disappointed and didn't hide it even though my mom was right next to us. He got WAY defensive and quiet. Anyway, we went downstairs to talk it out and I realized that I had embarrassed him in front of my parents. I felt so bad about it that I started crying. Hard. I always do that. But, his reaction makes it SO much worse. He responds by detaching. He doesn't go to me at all. This surprises me every time and makes me feel utterly alone. I wouldn't allow my worst enemy to cry by herself. He thinks it would seem "fake" to give me a hug when he is upset with me. He is annoyed that he can't ever get upset with my without me falling to the ground in tears. I can't help it! I didn't grow up in a family where people get mad at each other (openly).
Why do men deal with negative emotions/conflict by shutting the other person out? That is the worst possible response!!!! He says that he shuts down for a while, but then is always ready to talk later. That is true, but it is in that moment that I need him to work through our issue and reach out to me.
Well, somehow, I decided that because of that, he doesn't love me and never has. I actually told him that I think he has never loved me. That is not true! I have no doubts that he does- but that was how I felt last night... Now today, I have grainy eyes and a lot of regret. It will be awkward when he gets home. I am such a child sometimes.
Plus, I am getting REALLY fat. By now, I should have gained 11 pounds and I have gained 14. I am getting cellulite. I can't work out because when would I? Am I going to hire a sitter to watch my baby? Should I leave during the half and hour of free time my husband has with me? Bla. I feel yuk.
I think his residency is poisoning what used to be a beautiful and carefree marriage. How will we possibly survive two residencies???? When you spend no time together, everything becomes so dramatic.
I just signed up to work in the ER downtown on friday night! Me and my big ole belly. I am excited but I don't AT ALL remember how to do an H and P! Time to go review during this naptime. I want to make an impression because if I like ER (and I really hope I do, the lifestyle is fantastic!) this is the program I want. It has an average of 50 hours a week for interns!! Seriously! That, and it is one the best programs in the country. It is 4 years instead of 3, but fewer hours are worth that to me...I think. Here goes!
I am full of unrest about next year again. Will peace never come to me? Is there no right decision? this is going to be long, I think... you may want to abort reading!
I need to get back to my "first love." What was it about medicine that drew me? BE HONEST at the gut level!
1. I think it might have been a reaction against feeling objectified at 19 years old. For some reason, it has always been DEEPLY important to me that I be taken seriously and respected. I needed people to think I was smart. No matter how well I performed, however, I felt acutely that as a woman I would always be judged by my appearance in the end. I felt pressure to perform in that way too. I always had to have a man at my side and spiraled into constant dieting and exercise obsession. I think I saw medicine as a place where I could be free from the pressures I felt about my body. It wasn't about that... unlike going into business or being a wife/ mom. The women docs I met had authority and respect. However, those issues have died down. Or, more like I have died to them and have become free to live. I don't feel that pressure anymore, I am much more forgiving of myself, especially since the babies! I don't "need" medicine to feel smart and validated.
Reality: being a doctor does not make you feel respected/ important!! I have seen how residents are treated! It makes you feel inadequate, at least for a very very long time.
2. If you are given much, isn't much expected of you? I have been given a loving childhood, financial help from the government, and the ability to do well in school and relate well to others. Don't I have an obligation to use those gifts to benefit more that my immediate family?? I liked that about medicine, it is a rare field in which you are tangibly helping people in a time of need. Shouldn't that make doctors have a good quality of life? It doesn't seem to! I still believe that when you touch someone at their lowest, neediest point, you are touching God. I have always dreamed of volunteering internationally where medicine is truly needed. Those were some of the most fulfilling times in my life!
Take away- I need to do something that lifts the burden of my fellow man! Sounds cheesy, but this motivates me. It is hard because you can't really do that until you are done training, by then do you still want to?
3. I like the process of hearing a story and piecing together a diagnosis/ plan. There is nothing else like it!
I haven't had enough experience to know how much of a motivating factor this could be for me. Will it get boring once I have seen a million ear infections? Probably!
4. I like knowing how things in my body work! I like being able to answer questions that people ask me.
5. I feel a duty to the women who have come before me to use my life in a way other than being my husband/children's caretaker.
What did I enjoy about my first two years?
1. New friends? That is not insignificant. Working with fun, smart people is important to me.
2. Achievement. At my wise age of 25, I have leaned that this is nothing but a puff of smoke that lasts a moment!
3. Clinic days when I would talk with patients. This I loved.
Would I still love it after it stopped being fresh and new??
4. The muscloloskeletal unit. I know, I'm weird, but I loved leaning about autoimmune diseases... they are so bizarre.
To be honest, 99.99999% of those two years were horrible, torturing, and very dysphoric!
What makes me want to stay home? Why?
1. GUILT!!! Years and years of imbibing the message that good moms want nothing more than to care for their home life! Thank you american church, thank you Mother, thank you private university, thank you people on this forum that constantly write about quitting!!!
How do I differentiate others telling me I should want to stay home from actually wanting to?? I am acutely sensitive to others' expectations of me (at least I realize that now). Potentially, this realization could make me keep going in medicine when what I truly want to do is quit. I have learned that doing ANYTHING out of "should" leads to inner rebellion! I only want to work out of LOVE and JOY.
2. I am really, really blissful being at home (sometimes). I am having the sweetest moments with my son. Today, we put on a cd and had a silly dance party... I feel like these common, every day moments are full of meaning and life. I am building new friendships and getting involved in a new church. I had to ignore my social and spiritual needs for so long that now I feel like I can't get enough. I am napping when tired, cooking healthy meals, and living at a low level of stress. It is great to not feel like wild horses are pulling me in a thousand directions! For the most part, my relationship with DH is better now- although we now have different issues (like me learning to show him grace when it never, ever crosses his mind to put his own socks in the hamper)
3. I don't feel that anyone could love my son like I do. Is that crazy? I want to be the one that makes the decisions about napping and feeding and TV time. Will anyone else really know what its best for him?
4. It makes me feel good about myself to have a semi-clean house, homecooked meals, and be raising our little guy. Judge away, but for whatever reason, it makes me feel validated. I was surprised too.
It makes my husband feel good to be the provider. Good vibes all around.
5. I can have as many babies as I want! I love them! I want 6!!
6. Military life. DH will be deployed, God knows where can a family sustain that AND an "absent" mom??? Could our marriage sustain it?
7. Doctors seem to hate being doctors!! Would anyone care to prove me wrong? Please?
8. Utter fear of residency. 80 hours??????? I will NEVER see my children, I will be miserable. Again, if you are a resident who enjoyed herself, PLEASE let me know!
What am I most scared of if I choose to quit?
1. REGRET! Obvi. I won't be able to change my mind. All those nights of study over party, all that striving and planning, all that money, all that pumping during lectures... all for nothing, nothing, nothing? If I don't at least get the MD, those 2 years are totally useless! I don't want to be a sad old woman.
2. BHS. bitter housewife syndrome. When cleaning/cooking is what you do and your husband could not care about those things one way or the other, it leads to not-so-nice feelings.
3. Loss of identity. I really don't feel like I am a stay at home mom type. Won't it just look like I was pursuing this career just to bide time until I met a man?? Ick.
4. Poor house. I have racked up a staggering debt load. It would be nice to have the freedom that money could bring- take our kids to other countries, live somewhere that is not an apartment, visit family in california.
5. Most important. Wasted life. I am terrified of squandering what has been given to me. I know raising babies is not a waste, but it can be done without 100% of your time. I want to use what I have been given.
There, a 20 page essay and I am no more decided than when I started. Ugh.
Wow, I am humbled and surprised that anyone is actually reading what I write, much less taking the time to try and give some advice, thank you!
Is it the sun? The fact that baby boy woke at 8 instead of 5 this morning? I don't know, but I am feeling much better about it all.
So, I think I have come up with a new harebrained scheme...
I actually feel really good about it, I just am not so sure that it is possible. If anyone knows more than me, please help!
So, as I have said, husband is done with this hellish residency in 3 years (after this year). Then, we have 2 choices. 1. He can do a fellowship. This would add a total of SIX YEARS to our military commitment! That means more deployments, more moving, and our kids would be in high school by the time he could get out! The reason why it would be a good idea is it would keep him here and not deployed long enough for me to finish a residency. 2. He finishes in 3 years, gets sent who-knows-where to do his 4 year payback, then says ciao to the army. Way better! But, I couldn't do a residency unless we lived apart for 2 years (not an option for us!)
So, I have thought about taking 5 years off before residency to support him/ wait out this commitment. But, you only have a total of 7 years to take all 3 steps (I hear)
That brings me to my fabulous solution that came to me on our walk this morning.
I would go back and finish my MD this July. I can't really put this off unless I want to repeat those horrid first 2 years! Then, I would apply for a transitional year internship and take step 3. This way, I would exceed the time limit. Mother in law would come to help us during those 3 years. I don't want anyone but her helping while I am having little babies, and to put it bluntly, she is no spring chicken!! She is 61 and if I were to wait longer, she might be too old.
After that, I would pause my training for 4 years while DH served his time and we end up living God knows where. During that time, I could volunteer and attend academic lectures at his hospital. After that, I would apply for a residency in California where we could finally be close to family and friends again! The kids would be older, and I wouldn't need MIL anymore after those 3 years.
I know I would not be very competitive after taking that much time off, but people do it. I did really well on step one and if I can just do it again on 2 and 3, then maybe? I also know these next three years would be very hard, but there would be an end in sight. Also, our family would stay together, I wouldn't have to give up my dream of being a doctor OR having a big family....
After way too much sitting and staring and thinking, I realize that it is now or never. A lot of programs have a "no more than one year out rule." I just need to do it.
Plus, I realize that I cannot be a stay at home mom. I love the time I have with my son, but I am an extreme extrovert and it makes me crazy to be cooped up!! I go out and see other moms every day, but still... Snippets of conversation shouted as we chase after our kids at the park are not cutting it for me. I need regular, prolonged, adult interaction!!!! It doesn't help that DH is never here and awake at the same time. Also, I feel aimless and sort of lost. I need to be working toward something that I feel has meaning. I know taking care of my son has eternal value, but I don't think it makes a difference if I make him every meal and read him every book.
So: my options are still longer time in military (boo), live apart for two years (huge boo), or try and transfer mid-residency to wherever he gets stationed (fat chance, not wort risking the live-apart scenario for).
I am feeling pretty angry about his choices and how they have affected my life. He chose OB and it is a horrific lifestyle. I never see him, and neither does our son. He chose the military, so now I get to move to cruddy places until I am 39 years old???? I get to miss out on the lives of my siblings and parents? I shouldn't be mad. He was in when we started dating. But I am and I can't tell him.
Something I want to remind myself of in order to make my motivations less murky... I don't mean to get annoying and preachy, but I have been thinking a lot about grace and christianity and what it means to me. I have had this reawakening. I am realizing that God sees me, the judgmental, competitive, selfish, anxious parts of me accepts me. I am realizing that my self-worth comes from there, from how I am regarded. It is totally unrelated to my achievements. It is one way love. It is helping me love my mother in law, because I feel more like her than unlike her. It is helping me lose self-righteousness. Man, I am not doing a good job of explaining... maybe I should think and come back. Anyway, I guess I am realizing that my worth doesn't come from what I do or don't do, what I have, or what others think of me. It comes from the love God has for me which I can't do anything to make stronger or to lose. That is freeing to me. It frees me to make choices out of a place of peace and joy.