Starting a family

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    I completed my residency in Ophthalmology in June 2003 and started practise this fall. My husband and I are planning to start a family with the next year, and I am struggling with how things will work in terms of building up my OR list and then taking time off for maternity leave. I would like to take 6 months at least but I’m not sure it’s wise to be away from surgery/practise for so long, especially since building up an OR list takes time especially at the start of a practise. I am a very family-oriented person and when the kids are small I’d really like to have a very-part-time practise. I really don’t know what to do / how to approach things / how to reassure myself and I’m feeling alot of anxiety about the whole thing (hence the posting of this message at 2:33am local time). After all that studying and time away from friends, family, hobbies, etc, I wonder if I made a mistake going into medicine if ultimately I’m not going to be able to use what I’ve learned. Maybe I’m just feeling overwhelmed; maybe I’m afraid of what’s to come; maybe I’m just overreacting… Any words of wisdom? – I’d really appreciate it!


    Some people say ‘there is no right time to have a baby’. After participating in this forum for about a year, I think we women MDs have to forge territory to make things work for ourselves, our work and our children/families. At least you’re through the hurdle of residency, planning ahead and trying to be realistic. I had our first child one year into my first job after training, took 3mos off, but I wish I’d have taken longer. I think there must be a way for you to make this work the way you want it to!


    I had a baby one year after starting in practice, and I thought it helped to already have established a patient base. I took 2 months off and then returned to work 12 hrs a week (three 4 hr days) for another 6 months, then returned at 24 hrs/wk (4 days) and my daughter started daycare. Because I already had the patient base, I resumed work with an established practice. I had friends who provided the coverage while I was out (and I have since returned the favor for one and will return the favor for the other next spring).

    Are you solo or do you have a group that can help cover for you? It helped me that I was essentially independent so I could choose what to do and how many hours to work without others complaining. It’s your practice — if you want to work part-time, I think the only thing that suffers is your income, and having a more balanced life and time with your family is a good trade-off for me. But you have to work out the coverage so you aren’t having to work when you’re supposed to be off. Any other young moms in your area who might be willing to work together on this? I wish you the best!

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