July 4, 2002 at 7:05 pm #72232
I am hoping you all can give me some advice. I just found out yesterday that I have been accepted to med school. I am a career-changer, and it took 2 tries for me to get in. Unfortunately, when I planned to go to med school, I thought I would get into my local state school. We already own a house nearby (which we purchased thinking I would get into school here!) and my husband has a good job market here. The school that I got into is thousands of miles away, and is a private school-essentially it will bankrupt us for me to go there, and we will have a huge unsubsidized loan debt, I’m sure many of you are in the same situation.
So there is some background, here is my real question. Last year, at the end of my first try, the baby clock went off. I now want a baby desperately. I really didn’t think I would get into med school, so why I was trying the second time I also applied to pharmacy, which I did get into at the local state school. I have been planning now for several months that I would become a PharmD, work part time, and try to find fulfillment in my family life rather than in my work. Now my dream of med school is being offered to me on a silver platter, and I don’t feel I can take it. How do you all do it? My husband is in high-tech, and the last several companies he has worked for has laid-off the guys who have to leave at 5:30 to pick the kids up from day care. My husband is willing to be the primary parent, but he will have to hugely sacrifice his career to do it. We will have no support network whatsoever. We wouldn’t if I went to pharmacy school either, but we would have money here that would mean we would have more options than in the med school town. The med school town does not have very good high-tech jobs either. Plus, for PharmD the residency is optional.
I know people do kids and med school all the time, but with the hours a resident has to work, day care that closes at 6 doesn’t seem like it would help much. I researched au pairs, they can only work 45 hrs/week. A friend in Houston said that a nanny that works from 7 A to 7 P is $1500 a month–how could you afford that with all the med school debts? If the other spouse also has a very demanding job, how do you make it work?
I am starting to think that if I want to enjoy my kids and my marriage, medicine is a bad choice.
Any advice will be greatly appreciated. I am in awe of all you med school and resident moms! 🙂July 8, 2002 at 3:03 pm #72234
I did it but it was NOT easy. My husband was a resident when I entered med school. I was an older student and my biological clock was ticking. After the first few months we decided to get pregnant figuring it would take a few months (wrong!). At the time we lived near both sets of parents and planned on my mother helping us out a lot since she lived and worked nearby. Within a month of my positive pregnancy test she was diagnosed with cancer and died 3 weeks prior to my delivery. We got a lot of support from my in-laws. I couldn’t have done it without them. For example, my mom-in-law lived with us when my son had chicken pox for a week. We had MANY day care catastrophes through med school. My husband got a fellowship in another state. I did not match into the same town for residency and we had to live in between two cities in a rural area (no grocery store, no amenities). I had a 50 mile commute to my residency, his commute was 20 miles. Often I had to retrieve my child post-call in the city 70 miles away and return home. How I avoided falling asleep at the wheel I’ll never know. We also had MANY, MANY day care catastrophes during my residency. It was all worth it in the end but having a support network is essential. I can tell you many stories of how my primary care residency (peds) did not support me. I never asked for any special favors but saw others with less hardship get many. In fact I was required to pull extra shifts in the ER for a colleague to attend her husbands grandmothers funeral in another state but NO ONE would sub for me when my husband and I both were required to work on July 4. Try finding a babysitter on a holiday–next to impossible. My program didn’t care. I can assure you no one will care about how tough you have it except you. I have a lot of anger still about things that happened and the lack of support in a supposedly family friendly specialty. That said I still would have done it. I felt driven to go to med school and once accepted I wouldn’t have given it up. Now I’m on the other side and am having second thoughts!!July 9, 2002 at 5:36 am #72236mommd2bParticipant
Can you elaborate on your second thoughts?
KrisJuly 9, 2002 at 6:34 am #72238womansurgeonParticipant
Bless your heart. I’m so sorry about your mom, and about the lack of support you saw during your residency. What an awful experience! I lost my dad during medical school. He was my sole caregiver when I grew up, and meant the world to me. He lived alone in another state, and became so debilitated from cancer that he needed someone to live-in and care for him. I took a one year leave-of-absence after my first year to care for him, and my program made it very clear that I would NOT be guaranteed a spot on my return.
I wish stories like yours were less common, but…
It’s true. Medical people can be somewhat like sharks smelling blood in the water. It sparks a feeding frenzy.
I think the answer lies in good people, like those in this forum. Medicine desperately needs a dose of humanity.July 10, 2002 at 12:09 am #72239
I am currently post-partum 3.5 mos. and at home with my child. We relocated to another state several mos. ago due to husband’s new job and I left my private practice position when we moved. My husband (also MD) makes a good salary and financially there is no reason for me to work. As mentioned, we experienced a lot of hardships during our training and I don’t want to live a stressed out lifestyle just to earn a few more dollars. My previous position was great–part-time, great employer, wonderful office staff, reasonable call, enough challenges to keep me happy, compliant patient population. My new town has an unusual medical community and I’m not sure I will find such a great situation. I think that is my greatest concern! Of course, I also have leanings toward wanting to watch my infant develop (missed alot of that with child #1). It’s nice being around for school events, spontaneous activities with my older child. And although I find it somewhat lonely, I am not bored yet. I often think it would be nice to just be a mom for a few years.
With that said, I also miss my patient contact. After completing training it is difficult to think of myself as anything except a physcian–it is so much of who I am. I don’t want to lose all my knowledge and skills. I’ve already been out of practice for 6 mos. and feel like I’ve forgotten all my drug doses and such! Also, I miss being important in the lives of other people. (Sounds egotistical doesn’t it?)
I guess that’s enough of my musings!July 11, 2002 at 12:10 am #72241
Between your comments, and reading the problems Beachdoc talked about on her post (can’t remember the thread), on top of the resident who cried on my shoulder in my volunteer job about missing her kids, I am leaning toward giving up med school. You are not the first physician I have heard talk about giving up medicine for a little while in order to be a mom. However, between derailing my husband’s career due to the move (there are no suitable jobs for him in the new city) and the enormous debt we would have when I would finish, I would have no option but to continue to work. I would not even be able to scale back my hours–I would be the breadwinner. You situation sounds very hard (I am so sorry about your mom). Ours would also be hard, with both of our parents thousands of miles away, no relatives at all to help babysit.
I hate to give up medicine after all my hard work to get this far, but I just can’t figure any way that I can do medicine and babies too.
Thanks for your contribution.
MarcyJuly 11, 2002 at 4:23 am #72243docnrollParticipant
My stomach churns a little when I read your post. I guess I also had doubts about having children and having a family life when I was premed but my drive to be a physician was strong. I think that trying to figure everything out ahead of time is a mistake. I believe that you can find the way to live on less money, work out childcare and make it through if it is your passion. Try not to look too far down the road. I finished med school and then did internship and took 2 years to work before going into residency. Things have changed some with less call, at least I hear. Being a doctor, does not preclude you from being a mother. The Washington area is full of doctor moms who work part time, full time, solo practice, group practice. I would defintely do it again….docnrollJuly 12, 2002 at 11:29 pm #72245the_spouseParticipant
If both partners have demanding jobs and you don’t have some family living close by, you are looking at paying _lots_ for childcare. You should calculate that expenditure into your student loans if possible….
While I agree that your passion will take you a long way, good planning can also save you pain…..
It can be done though – but don’t forget to be good to your spouse (especially if he is making sacrifices for your career)…!
the_spouseJuly 13, 2002 at 1:39 am #72247sammy’s momParticipant
You didn’t say how old you are…I started all of this right after college, finished medical school at age 25. I am now 37 and we are still paying back debt….I love my job and my kids and my family but it is HARD. Hard to balance, even with support from my husband (who is the best). And MD salaries, at least in academic medicine, are not high enough to pay back the loans.
I guess what i’m saying is- you have to really want it and really know what you are getting yourself into before you start. It’s ok to decide to do something else! But if medicine is the only thing that would make you happy, then you should do it and things will fall into place.July 15, 2002 at 1:07 am #72248
To answer the last question, I am 28, and hubby is 33. He will be 40 when I finish my residency and start paying back loans, assuming I would do peds.
I am really worried about all these costs. I don’t think any career will make me as fulfilled as medicine, but I don’t think any other career will have as high of costs, either (personal and financial). I am really leaning heavily towards pharmacy, have until Wednesday to decide. It still feels crazy to toss away my dream of medicine, but I can’t go into this when I don’t have a plan for finances, kids, etc., and I can’t find a plan that makes any sense. I’m not the kind of person that can just trust things will work out.
Thanks for all the advice,
MarcyJuly 18, 2002 at 12:59 am #72250
Marcy, it’s Wed and I suppose you’ve made your decision. I have been out of the loop due to computer monitor breakdown. I did not mean to discourage you, just wanted to give you a realistic view. It is difficult but it can be done. One thing I’ve learned is you can’t plan your life totally. My private practice job just fell into my lap unexpectedly, my mother died unexpectedly, my attempts to get pregnant were unsuccessful for many months. These events changed my “plans” and things worked out differently than I had planned but not worse. Whatever you choose to do I wish you the best.August 14, 2002 at 11:06 am #72252CaLiGirL:)Participant
It’s now almost a month since you last posted here on this thread…did you make your decision? It would be great if you can give us an update. I hope that you feel content and that you are deeply satisfied with your decision.
AnnieAugust 22, 2002 at 4:00 am #72254
Thanks for your interest in what I ended up doing. Although I am still waitlisted at two med schools, I did turn down the acceptance to the private med school and started pharmacy school this week.
As far as “deeply satisfied” with my decision, I am not sure I can say that. Parts of pharmacy seem interesting, but I simply don’t have the passion for it I had for medicine. I am hoping that when I have kids in a few years, and can work three days a week and enjoy them instead of being in residency, that then I will be deeply satisfied. For now, I feel that I made the best decision that I could make, and I sacrificed the career of my dreams to be an involved parent.
Thanks for all the great advice and concern I received from the women on this website. I hope future generations of women will not have to feel that they have to give up some of their family lives to pursue a career in medicine.
MarcyAugust 23, 2002 at 5:28 am #72256laleeParticipant
You are a loving, caring mother. You did what was right for YOU. It takes guts to do what you did. Not many parents these days put their kids before their (parents) own needs. Not to say that mom’s pursuing medicine are wrong (believe me, I’m a single mom pursuing this), I just wanted to applaud you for making a difficult, heartwrenching decision. My sacrifice (somewhat) will be moving to where my ex lives so he can help. Good thing we have a friendly relationship, otherwise I would do what you did.
But, you never know, one of these days when they’re all grown up, you can do what YOU want to do and go back to school…never say never!!
Good luck to you and your new career being a “drug dealer” 😉August 28, 2002 at 4:12 am #72258SuzanneParticipant
HI, Good luck, I really wish you the best. After previously getting into my past careers, that were “OK”… but just seemed to “make do” in lieu of a medical career though…I realized, life is too short, and the kids will grow up and then what…a hard life decision I know. Good luck,
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