when to have kids?

So as I finished up residency and the three decade mark was closing in, it finally crossed my mind to vaguely consider having kids.

My supervisor at the time — a warm, brilliant, inspiring mother and psychiatrist Dr. P — suggested I wait until I had established my career further.  She noted that while she couldn’t imagine having had kids at a later age (as then she would have had different kids), that her career would have benefitted from waiting a while longer.  She suggested how at a major league hospital like hers, young mother professionals just were not taken quite as seriously.  She looked as intent on this advice as all of the other profound wisdom she shared.  I wondered if she had any idea just how seriously all of us fledgling doctors already took her?  That she was many of our favorite teacher, our clinical ideal and idol?

I won’t share her name, but let me tell you that her career hasn’t suffered one whit.  She is a leader in this field and remains an inspiration to doctors of many fields, mothers or not.

So, as far as I can tell this was the only time Dr. P was ever even vaguely, possibly wrong.  And, I do disagree with her on this one.  So, I would give the opposite advice.

Of course there isn’t one right path or answer for all young women docs!  However,  there really isn’t an endless amount of time — so don’t put life off for your medical career.    Ever focused on education and work, certainly I never dreamed that I’d want a bevy of kids and so wasn’t in a rush.   And, I am endlessly grateful for the wonderful, amazing children I have.  However, I never dreamed that time passes so quickly, and I’d end up with cancer and chemotherapy and then — due to side effects — the choice would no longer be mine to make.

My two cents?  Life happens.  Let it.  Good luck.