Wow, Nikkipedi-I read your post and it took me back to what it was like to go back to work full time after I had my first child. My stress level was so high I couldn't sleep, was grinding my teeth, and having panic attacks before work. I had a loan repayment contract so I had to work full time. I looked into just trying to give it back, but I would have had to pay like 150% back or something. So I had to work full time. My husband just didn't get it at first. I am a very capable, competent person who just 'gets it done'. It finally took a complete meltdown at 2am for him to understand how truely overwhelmed I was. I was like you-I knew I needed counseling but who the hell had the time? I was treading water every day, and the littlest thing put my under and I would drown. In retrospect, I definitely had some PP depression on top of the stress. I got through it though, and you can too! Don't give up...here are some things I did to cope:
#1-I used my vacation and personal time creatively. Typical MD jobs give 4 wks vacation, 1 wk CME and some personal and sick time. I basically used 2-4hrs of time every week to every other week to give myself 'some time'. That helped alot. It gave me something to look forward to. Some weeks I used it for a pedi or something, some weeks I spent the time with my daughter.
#2-I worked some extra Saturdays or evenings in the clinic-it allowed DH to be home with baby so no extra childcare expenses, and I made my fulltime hours, but had some time with the baby during the day when she was awake.
#3-I would have call from Sat morning to Mon morning and would often be at the hospital for a large part of that. DH brought the baby and hung out in my call room-I nursed her, and we got some time together.
#4-i did something for myself every day. It may have been 20min alone with a book, but it was my 'me time'. Sometimes I had to 'groan' get up extra early for that time, but it was important.
#5 Regular exercise. I cannot stress enough how helpful that is. I got a treadmill and put the baby in her pack n play next to me while I ran. She got a kick out of it too.
#6-Prepared meals-I joined one of those make ahead meal things where you go and make like 16 meals in an evening. That really helped.
#7-let the house get messy and delegated chores to hubby. I am a control freak and tend to just 'do everything', but I had to let go. I still work on that! each kid we add means a change in our responsibilities. This morning, we actually had a conversation about how I am doing more in the mornings now, and could we divide it more equitably. (He initiated it!!! He is FINALLY getting it, after 7 plus years of kids!)
#8-date nights. I have no family close by either. We used babysitters from the daycare she was at, whom we trusted. Some colleges with early childhood ed programs also have lists of students looking for extra money. I can be an expense, but even 2 hrs to yourselves for dinner once a month would make a difference. I gave up eating lunch out and we saved the money that way.
#9-help with cleaning. See #7. We have a cleaning person every other week, in our small home (1750 sq feet) it was $65 every other week. In our current home (3500 sq feet) $95 every other week. Worth its weight in gold.
Like Rhydys, I go through a similar stage after each child I have. I am not usually depressed, just irritable, stressed, and anxious. Only after the third kid did I realize I had PP depression. And I am an FP who does OB and diagnoses this every day. I hide things well. Only hubby and kids get the brunt of it. I would show your DH this thread and be brutally honest. Good luck!!
Thanks everyone for responding. This has been another week where I can't stop thinking about just quitting. I had the scary thought earlier that I wish I could just kind of crash my car a little so I could break my leg and get a pass from work and my husband. Of course, I'm not really going to do that because I would have no control over how hurt I could get. It's just that I really need a break and at my office, there is no breaks. I met with the CEO to ask what I would have to do daily to make my guarantee and be partner (so I could have more control over how many days I work and how many pts I see). Anyway, I'm no where near enough at capacity to cut back. I recently had an eval (which was almost all positive), but many people commented that if they were in my shoes they wouldn't have went back so early or would have tried to go part-time for a while since it is really hard to be full-time here doing everything. In rural peds, we go to all C/S, ER coverage and our own hospital/newborn rounds.
In an effort to do something positive, I have arranged to meet with a counselor this Monday as well as an FP that I trust and discuss some of these issues. I had an absolute melt-down with my husband and actually hit him (I am very ashamed of this behavior and feel totally out of control). My husband said that he is willing to even take the baby and just go away for a while if it will help. The only thing apparently that I can't do is quit or take some time off of work.
I'm pretty sure I'm depressed, but I still can't help thinking this adjustment disorder. I am so tired and sick of everybody else's kids taking priority over mine. The patients are all demanding and entitled. If I don't get to see my son at lunch I am mad the entire rest of the day. I told my husband after surfing the internet that there are tons of posts about women docs who want to quit after having their baby, but no posts about woment regretting having a baby. It's just that priorities change and your child is more important.
Thanks for all of your replies and Docmomof 3, reading your post made me cry because that is exactly how I feel.
I am really feeling for you. I have been going through PPD after having twins in febuary and having to return to residency. It has been so hard. My husband is a teacher and right now is staying home with our girls. I am so jealous, and I feel I miss so much. For the first 2 months back I cried my way to work every day and cried my way home. I have had a hard time with my relationships (husband, family) because I was just so irritable. This month my schedule is lighter and I am feeling much better but still very sad that I can't be with them more and questioning everything in my life (mainly job, specialty choice) to try to figure out what would be best for me and my kids. I just feel cheated out of this precious experience of being their mom. And angry that my debt from pursuing medicine as a career is the thing that makes it so I can't be with them more.
I understand how desperate you feel. I have been there. I every day contemplated how I could get hurt- just enough so I wouldn't have to work- so I could stay home with them. I missed a lot of time during pregnancy which was hard on other residents. Otherwise I would have tried to get time off for PPD. I just am really sad and I really miss them. and one of the hardest things for me was other residents adn doc moms encouraging me "you can get through this" and "they will be better off for all your hard work". I don't want to "get through this". I just want to be with them. And maybe lots of other women can do it, but I don't seem to be able to.
anyway, I just want you to know you are not alone. And I understand you feel like you don't have options, but I think you do. It may take your husband realizing how important you are and how important this experience is to you. But I bet you could figure out a situation that works better for you. I know that I was very resentful because my husband would not let me take more time off because we couldn't afford it, but he is home with them now for the summer. that has been hard on us.
anyway, hugs to you!!! this is hard. I will say I have talked to a lot of moms who went through this, and it was hard, but many have told me their kids needed them more later on, and they were further along in their careers and able to be there more. also, I was told a story by a friend of an adolescent doc's daughter who stood up at a daycare where tons of doc kids go when an ambulance went by with her hand on her hip and said "that's MY MOM!". She laughed and said she was not in the ER going to resuscitate that person, but her daughter was proud of her. these are the only thoughts that got me through. I am going to have a better situation later and have more time with my girls. and they are going to be proud of me, and be stronger people for it.
I've been there. Sobbed everyday on my way to residency, raced through my days just so I could get home 10 minutes earlier and have time with my sons before they fell asleep. There are no words to describe how awful that heartache is. And how awful it is to repeat that scene day after day, year after year.
Without options to get out, I've found a way to simply survive it:
It sounds crazy (and maybe harsh?)but here are the things that help me:
1) I'm lucky to have my kids, even if someone else is spending time with them. They are a gift and that even 10 minutes with them is better than none.
2) That many people around the world are away from their children, some for years, just so that they can support their families. I have to work so that my children have food, shelter, security, access to healthcare, a future. Feeling jealous of my welfare-mom patients does not help.
3) it is a gift, not a right to be able to be home with children all the time.
4) that the decisions I made put me in a place where I can't be home with them. We all make mistakes and mine have costed me time with my children. I can dwell on that or I can get my work done so I can see them every available minute I have. I have gotten very good at saying no and keeping my priorities straight.
Final thoughts: Your family needs you to be healthy. Please take the time to take care of yourself. Your body/mind are telling (screaming to) you a message. You will find your way through this. It will not always be like this. You are not alone. I suspect most mom-mds have been in some version of your shoes.
Hang in there-you will get through this. I felt exactly the same way and kind of did the same thing-husband home for 2 months, moving to rural area, breastfeeding while working etc. I too had NO IDEA before having my daughter that I could be content as a stay at home mom-and was so upset it was now too late. Here's what helped me--started planning to move away from the rural area and back to hometown so I knew it wasn't a lifetime of being isolated, had my husband (could your nanny do this?) bring the baby to work once a day for breastfeeding and bonding, joined an online LOCAL mommy group for rare but valuable get togethers. Long term, (i.e. after about a year)we moved to my hometown, I took a salary cut and my days were cut down to 3 long days per week, one night of weeknight call, and one weekend call/month (don't bother asking for "proportionate" call). If you can't move, but you're in a rural area, I bet you are in demand and could get them to make some concessions to avoid losing you. Your feelings are all completely valid. I hope it helps that so many understand where you are coming from. Take care!
It's been a few days and I have been extremely busy. I met with the counselor and she pretty much verified that my life/work situation is extremely stressful. It is difficult explaining to a non-doctor what my workload entails. I tried to meet with the FP, but the doc was over an hour late and I decided to reschedule (which they then informed me was 1.5 months away) so I just said forget it.
Anyway, from bad to worse, my husband's new case ended up being a dud and he's not going to make any money. Two of my partners have questioned my commitment to working and one of my female co-workers is talking behind my back while pretending to be nice to me. I found out the hard way when one of my partners shut the door to my office last night and told me the skinny on what was being said.
I have been on-call now for 50 hrs and have been up for 2 nights now (c/s gone bad and admitted an intussception kiddo last night). I have another 48hrs of call and just found out last week that none of my partners are available to cross-cover me on my day off, so essentially I am still responsible for all of my hospital pts on my day off.
I told my husband that I have my eval (performance review) coming up next month and if I get bad feedback that we need to go somewhere else because this is too hard. He points out that there is something wrong with me that I can't get along with anyone and I'm not happy anywhere (I left my first job after 1 year out of residency). He doesn't think there will be anyone who will hire me if I leave this one.
I just read the 4 pages of posts about being a SAHM and I feel deep down that is what I should do at least for a while to get my head on straight.