So, I think I know what the overwhelming response to this is going to be. I'm still curious to see the details of people's reactions. One of my letter writers is a pediatrician who is very involved in my home program's residency program, including the evaluation of applicants (I can't remember her official title, it might be associate PD). I had this conversation with her about what to put in a PS when I was still up in the air between peds and psych (I am now writing for psych, geared towards child and adolescent). Her advice about the PS was that it should be personal, just as the title says, and should convey something that makes readers want to meet me. She thought I would be crazy NOT to talk about being a mother in there. I guess from the peds perspective, she felt that being a mother made me a much stronger applicant. Of course, when she applied to residencies many years ago with her husband, her PS was about how she wanted to raise her kids and practice medicine, so I guess she's biased.
In any case, I've drafted my PS, and I didn't mention being a mother in it yet. I'm debating throwing in the briefest of references in relation to some discussion of working with children's families (after all, I do think being a mom makes it easier for me to relate to other parents). Now my dean of students, on the other hand, doesn't think I should make any mention of it. I'm guessing most of you will agree with her.
I guess the struggle for me is twofold: 1, being a mom is such a huge part of who I am that not revealing it seems to be ignoring something very relevant for a PERSONAL statement, and I suppose it could make me stand out even more (I have a very good application and had numerous publications, so I think it speaks for itself that being a mom has not hindered my performance). 2, I'm going to be sending my PS to this letter writer to review and I feel a little guilty not having mentioned motherhood in it after she encouraged me to so strongly.
NBP, I forget that we are applying in the same cycle!
I am mentioning being a mother; a lot of my activities have to do with me being a mom, and I have to "explain" my LOA anyways....so yeah. If a residency program is uncomfortable with me being a mother, then we're probably not a good match anyway. Plus I am interested in my home program, and uh, since I've been either pregnant or pumping all but 3 mos of my medical school career, I think they know my OB history! Although, like you, I think my CV speaks for itself that my performance was not hindered by motherhood. (Sleep, though....definitely hindered....) Haven't sent it to my advisor yet, though, so we'll see what he says. Keep us posted!
Also, to tack on to this post, how much do you have to "explain" when an LOA was student-initiated, i.e. NOT taken because of mental health or performance issues? (I did research, etc. on the LOA, just wasn't enrolled as a student to save $$$ on tuition.)
How dare you ask a question on MY post! LOL, j/k. Of course I don't mind. I'm not sure I totally understand your question, though. If you are already going to mention being a mom, I suppose there are two ways you could explain it: 1, that you took an LOA when your child was born and decided to take the opportunity to gain some valuable research experience, or 2, not use your kid as an "excuse" and just say you took an LOA to do research (hey, not everyone does a specific fellowship or program).
Glad to hear that someone else is including being a mom. I really don't need to for explanation purposes, so I guess I'm trying to figure out if it adds or detracts from my application (or neither). I do agree that if a program has a problem with it, I don't want to be there. On the other hand, I don't want subconscious discrimination to work to my disadvantage. Know what I mean?