August 8, 2002 at 6:24 am #82344
Thank you to everyone who has written; I have been gaining insight from your comments. I have a question of my own, pertaining to a lot of the information that BabyEyeDoc and Momof3 touched upon. I am curious as to what you (anyone!)think of my situation. I posted a long note at the end of the “General Discussion” section. Whoever reads it- I’d be greatly appreciative of any feedback you have.August 8, 2002 at 9:22 pm #82346MomMDParticipant
Can you post again here? What’s your situation?
SethinaAugust 9, 2002 at 3:17 am #82348
This is a copy of the post that I initially entered under “Why do you want to do THAT?” in the “General Discussion” category:
I have read these postings with great interest. Can somebody help me? LDW, MD’s words echo many thoughts that I have been grappling with. I have just started my 3rd year of residency in a 4 year program. I have a 10 month old child. My husband is also a resident and extremely supportive of me. We have a live-in nanny who is excellent, and has been bringing the baby to me on a daily basis so I can breastfeed. (I’m sure she’s annoyed by this, which makes me feel badly, but she does it nonetheless.)
Despite this wonderful set-up, I feel MISERABLE. I never really aspired to be a juggling, strung-out Super Mom. I think my greatest desire, since childhood, has been to have kids and be a good Mom. I also had a childhood wish to be a doctor, but the theoretics of it all is much greater than the realities, for me. I’m really not interested in practicing clinical medicine. And so I wonder: why do I need to continue residency?
If I finish, I would be finishing just for the sake of finishing. I know that once I graduate, I will want to take time off to have more kids and be at home with them.
I am a gregarious person who likes being around people, and I do enjoy my colleagues and patients. Yet I feel that my heart is ripped out of me every day when I go to work, and I find it such a struggle to continue breastfeeding (- a priority for me). My main goal of each day is to report to work as late as possible, do a decent job, and come home as soon as possible. I find myself skipping educational conferences to pump or to catch up on work that pumping takes time from.
Does anyone have any thoughts or advice? I know the decision to quit residency is a big one and must be my own, but I am desperate for input (other than my Mom’s!) (My family, by the way, would be very disappointed if I quit.)
Ultimately I cannot see myself being a full-time stay at home Mom forever, and herein lies the problem. If I want to come back to residency (say, even 10 years down the road), is that feasible? Most importantly, what can I do with an MD and an unfinished residency? Are there any flexible, jobs from home that would utilize my skills? Clearly I need vocational counseling but I simply do not have time right now.
…Thank you for reading.August 9, 2002 at 1:04 pm #82350Brooke TroutParticipant
Take a deep breath. Then pat yourself on the back. You are doing a wonderful job.
I sense there are a couple of issues here. First of all you are a new mom. Being a new mother tends to change priorities, securities, motivations, and how you view yourself. Breastfeeding is an extremely emotional and taxing act, even on a mom who is home. I admire your dedication and drive to continue nursing your baby.
Your goals have changed. You are now “mama”. Katherine the medical student, Katherine the resident are on the back burner. That is a normal reaction after pregnancy/birth..tunnel vision. The desire to spend every moment with a child is a bizarre side effect…most likely hormonal.
1) It is o.k. to not attend meetings, seminars, and social outings. Reassess your priorities and don’t feel guilty. It is o.k. to not be supermom. Sometimes the house does not need to be dusted twice a week. Overextending yourself not only will create extra stress but it will effect your breast milk supply. Rest, put your feet up, let go of the nonissues. Establish your main priorities. Your nanny is being well paid to watch your child. Part of her employment should be to take your baby to see you. Don’t assume she is annoyed unless she says something. You are creating more stress for yourself. If she is annoyed explain it is a condition of her employment…
2) You have come too far to give up. I know you are tired. The excitement…the thrill of being finished with a long education is long lost in your new task of motherhood. There may even be resentment of your patients taking time from the baby. Questions about how you can give so much, trying to reserve precious energy for the little one. Guess what…Tell people, your patients, peers, etc… “I am so tired, being a new mother and all…” You would be surprised how many people will ease up on their demands. Don’t give up now. There may be a point where you want to return to your profession. Don’t settle for “what if” I had stayed. It is so much more difficult to get back into a residency then it is to stick with it. Really, though it seems daunting…it is one more year…not completing your program could create an unintentional resentment for your child.
3) Truely, a child needs quality time not quantity…My daughter is far more well adjusted then my son. I was a single parent in nursing school and working part time with her.
Your child will not suffer if you continue your residency. Your child also will not suffer if you stop nursing. Sometimes the underlying stress and drain on your energy due to nursing makes it too hard to continue anything. Also: at 10 months, you may find your baby weaning soon. Sit down and analyze yor reason for nursing. Health/ Guilt for not being around/ the intimacy/ etc. Do continue taking prenatal vitamins and drink alot of water.
Your baby has reaped the majority of benefits from nursing by this point. She/He is also old enough to begin taking fluids from a cup and begin trying baby food. You may consider reducing your nursing sessions…saving them for the times you can physically nurse. Night feedings, a half an hour before work, when the sitter brings her on your breaks. Then have the sitter not feed her a bottle late in the day before your arrival at home. You can nurse when you get home and before bed. Reducing the number of feedings can greatly improve our outlook and stamina.
I know you are overwhelmed. It is best to take one day at a time. Take a mental holiday…a.k.a a sick day from work and recoup. Don’t quit anything while you are so uncertain and exhausted. Try to find some humor…it does get better. Been there…It will pass.
A slightly delerious night shift working,
BrookeAugust 9, 2002 at 4:42 pm #82352Med4MomParticipant
I agree with Brooke Trout – do not give up! You have ALOT on your plate right now and it is easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of your direction. Brooke’s comments about “tunnel vision” are really true. I’m not saying that nursing and time with your child are not important, but it easy (societial pressures make it very very easy…) to “write off” all of the other priorities in your life during this time and it is not the best thing to do for you.
You have worked very hard to get where you are – I am afraid that if you give up now, you will regret it later when you realize that this period of great demand has passed much more quickly than you expected. I am not in your situation career-wise, but I have “been there” in terms of the physical and emotional demands of young children. I had three children in under 4 years and they are the best thing that has ever happened to me. But there is definitely a tendency to not be able to see past the “stage” they and you are in at a particular point in time. The guilt about not being there enough for your kids does not go away, just because you stay at home with them… believe me, as Moms, we always find something to feel guilty about.
Just take a deep breath, take a bit of time off if you can, and try to imagine your child in about 4 years when he/she is going to school and much more independent (believe me, before my oldest was 5 I thought that 5 year old kids were still really “mommy focussed” – this is not true, they are actually very intent on moving forward in their own lives :rolleyes: ). What will you be wanting to do career-wise then? Yes you might have more children, but they grow up quickly too. Just try to see past this stage of exhaustion and disillusionment and realize that one more year is just a tiny amount of committment in the big scheme of life, but it gives you so many more options down the road.
Good luck and know that we are supporting you regardless of your decision. Only you can figure out what works for you.August 10, 2002 at 12:10 am #82354mum2aaeParticipant
It’s me again … I responded to your other post and you were so thoughtful to write back.
I wanted to add another few points ( hope they are somewhat helpful) …
As far as my breastfeeding went – by nine months with both kids I had stopped breastfeeding during the day. I switched them to formula for a month or so and then on to homo milk. The first took a bottle and the second a sippy cup. I found that coming home was lovely because I continued to breastfeed in the evening and at night. I also nursed them both before I left in the morning. The nursing at the end of the day, when I returned home, was the most special because it was my time to sit with my baby and just relish being back with her.
Please don’t be hard on yourself as you make necessary changes to your breastfeeding. What I have learned is that the intimacy and “special time” of breastfeeding continues on in different ways – cuddling over books, brushing each others hair, etc. You have established your relationship and residency is not going to change that.
I could never have imagined the impact of having not only one, but two little people in my life. They make me cry, laugh and pull out my hair in ways I never anticipated. I think I am a better resident/physician because I value family even more. And even though I race home at the end of the day, I am somewhat more efficient at work when I am there. (I still stop to chat with too many people too often!) Even in your most sleep-deprived and resentful moments, I imagine there are ways that your obvious caring comes through.
The leave of absence sounds great, and a chance for you to take the time you need to make your decisions. People who have been in your shoes (so to speak) and now have school-aged and teen-aged kids will be helpful with their perspective. You and I (and many others here) barely have time to look up from diapers, call-schedules and sleep-deprivation. Maybe there is a mentor-type person who you can bounce ideas off of.
I wish you all the best – please keep us informed as to your decisions.
CheersAugust 11, 2002 at 6:22 am #82357
I cannot thank you all enough, Brooke Trout, Mimicat, Mum2AAE, and Gracie3, for your compassionate words of encouragement. It is amazing to know that there are people out there who can relate so well. That in of itself is a comfort. You have all been so candid, and I am very appreciative. It has taken me a while to post again because I have been mulling everyone’s words over in my head.
Also, I met with my own doctor, a female family doctor, mother of SIX!, to toss some ideas around with her. On Monday I will be meeting with my residency director. My plan is to request a 2 month leave of absence to sort things out further.
You all have brought some salient points and perspectives to the forefront– ones that I may not have wanted 😉 to confront, but that were important for me to hear.
Also, the thoughts on the breastfeeding have been especially relevant; it is a big issue for me, and I guess I should re-assess my feelings about it (i.e. the guilt, the need to continue at “full-force” etc).
I have a lot to think about. I’ll keep you posted…
Warmhearted thanks from MN,
KatherineAugust 11, 2002 at 12:44 pm #82359
Please do keep us posted! I feel for you…you must be under an immense amount of stress which can make things appear to be quite shady rather than a favorable clear-cut black or white. I only hope that you decide the fate of your residency by trying to picture your life as a whole rather than based off of the present moment in your life which is very understandably trying. I also would like to let you know that we are here for you no matter what the outcome.
If you are to get the two months leave of absense I’m sure it would help to clear you mind and to help you make a better informed decision, whatever that decision may be. Your strength and determination as a mother to hold so strong on your values of nursing your child is very respectable. It is so touching to see that you hold nursing as such a high value and that being with your child means that much to you. I am confident that even if you continue with your time-consuming residency, you will continue to be an excellent mother. You really are a super mom and you should be darn proud 😉 !
I wish you the BEST,
AnnieAugust 13, 2002 at 9:25 am #82361
I am so touched by everyone’s thoughtful and sound advice and encouragement. Annie, thank you for your post. My heart simply warmed upon reading your kind words. I do feel so devoted to my daughter and to nursing, and my husband (bless his soul) is not the most VERBAL man in the world, so the praise and encouragement I have been getting from you all means so much to me. You are an amazing group of people.
Anyhow… I met with my residency director today. I was very honest, which felt good. She was not so keen on the leave of absence, but that is fine; I later discussed it with my advisor, who said that push-come-to-shove, I will be granted a leave of absence for as long as I want, if I present the alternative as quitting.
I actually didn’t request the leave of absence. The truth is, at around midnight last night, I realized I no longer needed it. The discussion here at MomMD armed me with the encouragement and positive thinking I had left behind so long ago. I have also been on research elective the past 3 weeks, which has given me the down-time I needed to think about things, (and the time to register at this website!), as well as the ability to ‘recharge my battery,’ so to speak.
So I told my residency director that although my initial plan was to request a leave of absence, I think that I will instead charge forward, try to be more positive, and see how things go. (She, of course, was thrilled about this plan– no rescheduling necessary.)
I discussed with my residency director my question about the necessity of finishing residency if I don’t even plan to take boards or do clinical practice. Why I veer away from clinical practice may have a lot to do with my feelings of wanting to be a good doctor and a good Mom, not half-baked at both. Even with part-time clinical practice, it seems impossible to avoid feeling harried all the time- (Is that true?) To be good in medicine, one should read, keep up, study… But if I’m using every free moment to finish paperwork so I can get out and get home, (or to pump with my current child and future children), it just seems, well, harried. I know there will be an end to this infant-rearing part of my life, but that could be 10 years down the road!
A big part of the problem may also be that I’m not convinced I will reach my zen with medicine. I’m concerned that maybe I just don’t want to be a doctor…
Well, there was my (long-winded and moderately incoherent) update… I apologize for the babbling. I really ought to get some sleep tonight!August 14, 2002 at 9:51 am #82364
Katherine 🙂 ,
You are very, very welcome. I’m more than happy to…well…make others feel better, or at least try to :rolleyes: . I’m glad to hear that you’re feeling a bit better.
I do want to ask you one question though…can you picture yourself as a stay at home mom? Would you be truly happy if you quit medicine for good and stayed home with your children? You did bring up a good point…infant-rearing would last at most 10 years. What would happen after? You can always finish residency and find part time work.
I’m not trying to sway you one way. Like I said before, we or I will be here no matter what your decision may be. I feel that if *it’s* what you truly want (all distractions aside), then you’ll be exceptionally happy in the end. You can always find a way if you have the will…that’s the beauty of life 😉 .
AnnieAugust 15, 2002 at 7:02 am #82366GracieThreeParticipant
Hi again! Things DO get less harried… in about six months from now, your child is going to be so much more independent, and walking and running and able to say “juice!” when she wants juice, or run to the changing table when you say “do you need your diaper changed?” It is AMAZING the difference a few months will make! And she’ll be eating more table foods, and she’ll be more independent… sad, but part of growing up… and easier on you.
…Maybe all of these things happening with my daughter was my “lightbulb moment”, just spread out over a very long time…
It DOES get easier, I promise! You will always want to be a good mom, and you will be. You’re right, I think you’re real conflict lies in the doctoring part. Give it some more time though, because as your little one gets older, things are going to change in terms of her self-sufficiency. You’ll find you have some breathing room and some time to evaluate your work life in the framework of your family, to see if it fits. And I want another one too! So we’ll cross that bridge later, but I know it can be done.
I’m surprised you decided against taking that leave! Can I have it? Just kidding. Whatever you decide, you know you have our support! 🙂
I *guffawed* (and it wasn’t very pretty!) at what you wrote, “I do feel so devoted to my daughter and to nursing, and my husband (bless his soul) is not the most VERBAL man in the world, so the praise and encouragement I have been getting from you all means so much to me.” Yes, those non-verbal men, I have one right here! LOL – let’s face it, in some regards, men just don’t have a CLUE about what being a mom is all about. But we love them anyway. 😉 And thank God for these boards or we’d feel a lot less loved!
Take care Katherine – keep posting so we know what’s going on with you and the little one!
GracieAugust 15, 2002 at 8:24 am #82369
GracieThree, I absolutely loved your note. I got a good laugh from it! You reinforced many of my thoughts, e.g. about the baby growing up and gaining independence, which in turn makes me feel a lot better about “leaving” her every day.
During my “research” elective these past 3 weeks, [I actually DO have a project I’m supposed to be working on, besides researching my life and everyone else’s on this website 🙂 ], I’ve had the opportunity to observe Sophie interact with our nanny, play with other kids in the park etc, and I see that she really does thrive. She may cry a bit and become clingy as I hand her over in the morning, but I’ve noticed that 30 seconds later, she’s fine. (Rushing out the door in the past, I haven’t had the chance to just hide and spy after the hand-over.) And though she begins panting when she sees me mid-day, (indicating she wants to nurse- how pleasant!), that doesn’t mean she wasn’t happy and smiling 30 seconds before.
I think I may be arriving at my ‘lightbulb moment’…
Re. “deferring” that LOA for now: This forum, coupled with my past 3 weeks of ‘research,’ have done wonders for my outlook. The two months ahead of me are “cushier” ones, and that MAY 😉 be another reason for deferring the LOA… I’m really interested to try residency out again, armed with the insight you all have given me.
I’ll let you know how things go… 😎August 16, 2002 at 4:14 am #82371
I just saw your note there– thank you! (Now I’m saying thank you for saying ‘you’re welcome’- this is getting complicated 😉 .) The ‘Would I truly be happy as a full-time stay-at-home Mom’ issue is turned over frequently in my mind. I am usually quick to say, “YES!” but my mother assures me that not only might I go crazy, but drive my daughter crazy as well! (It’s the latter I’d be more concerned about.) And then there’s the issue of domesticity… my husband is (a bit too) quick to point out that cleaning, laundering, and cooking have never been my strong points. So while it’s easy to glorify the time with my daughter, I can honestly say I’d have difficulty in the departments that usually go along with being the partner “at home.” But, if I can do medical school and internship, I must certainly be able to learn to cook, right? 🙂
Kidding aside, I don’t envision myself as a long-term stay-at-home Mom, and that is central to the decision to continue on with residency…
On Monday I begin a hospital service rotation. We’ll see how things go!August 26, 2002 at 1:20 pm #82373
A part of me wants to stay home with my child for the rest of her tender years (or until she gets married at least) and it sound grand to drive her crazy 😀 ! Probe her about her life, meddle through her things, chaperone all of her highschool dances, show up at her school for lunch unannounced, show her friends her naked baby pictures…yes, it would be grand 😀 …….. but she’s going to need her space, and I’m going to need my dream.
Cooking and cleaning isn’t on my “talent” list either. Actually, I’m horrible at it and I don’t like doing it. I do it out of obligation and that’s about it. I’ll continue to do so b/c I love my family….but, I’ll go crazy if that and staying home all day everyday was my life. I always knew, even b/4 I decided to become a doctor that I could never be a stay at home mom. My daughter will always be my first priority though, naturally.
How are things going? Any updates? I hope you’re doing well and that you complete residency happily and gracefully. You’re almost done! 😉
Annie 😎August 27, 2002 at 5:47 pm #82375jessieParticipant
I haven’t looked at these forums for weeks but saw your dialogue here and thought I’d give you my two cents. I have struggled with the same issues in the past (and still!) Had my first child in medical school. He was almost 4 when I began my 3 year residency. (Can’t imagine residency + newborn!) Med school and residency were very tough, husband was also MD in training at the time. Now I’m at the other end, out of training for 4 years. Was in private practice part-time for 3 of those years and now am a “new” mom again and currently unemployed (related to relocation.)
First, I must agree with other posts about breastfeeding (and I’m a pediatrician if that matters!) I was hell bent on doing it “right” and pumped constantly. I did manage to succeed in providing breastmilk as needed for an entire year. Then I slowed down and BF only 2x/day, then weaned to 1x/day. Did not fully wean until he was 28 mos. It is doable but I weaned due to call duties and that may be a problem for you too. Just those few nursing sessions can help you maintain that bond that you cherish so if pumping is becoming a burden-just let it go. He will do fine.
Also, I would recommend finishing your residency because you have already come so far. A LOA is not a bad idea, just to restore your mental health! With that completed you will likely be more marketable if you choose another path. I would even go so far as to complete boards but that is just my bias.
I am in the throes of mommy-love myself and struggling with the idea of returning to practice. I went through a lot to bring my second child into the world (ivf) and also never had so much mommy time with my son (no maternity leave at all.) I am happy to be at home (never thought I would be) but I miss my career as well. I will definitely not work full-time until my children are older (?teens maybe). For me the quality of life issues are just too big with a 2 MD family. I worked part-time while in practice and it was a good situation for us most of the time. The household would always begin to fall apart during the weeks I pulled a full-time schedule (and that was with a school aged child, not an infant!) So, for what it’s worth there is my 2 cents. Hope my perspective gives you some insight.
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