Updated: Apr 25, 2019
So what is it REALLY like having a child in residency?
1. It is AMAZING!
I cannot describe the feeling of coming home and seeing my child as he crawls full speed towards me after a long 12 (or 24) hour day. It's the best feeling ever. He makes me feel loved. No matter how long I'm gone he always comes to me ready for snuggles.
2. It is Exhausting.
When you work 80+ hour weeks, study, and do surgeries all day you are literally exhausted when you come home. Somehow, I find the energy to pick my son up and play with him, read to him, crawl with him, and feed him. Not a big fan of diapers (after all that's what grandmas are for) hehe. He doesn't care that I've been at work all day. All he knows is that I'm his mommy and he wants my full attention and that's what I have to give him. Even if it's at the expense of some much needed sleep.
3. It is Hilarious.
Children make you laugh. Really laugh. My son cracks me up on an hourly basis without trying. His faces, his laughs, and watching him navigate this new world around him just brings me absolute joy. He is so silly and I absolutely love it!
4. It is Motivating.
Having a child absolutely drives me when I'm at work. Yes, I love medicine but I'm also building a foundation for my son so he will want for nothing in the future.
Having my son proved to me that I can pretty much do anything. I remember, last year, being 36 weeks pregnant, contracting, on nights, pulling 14 hour shifts, 70+ hours a week and thinking, "this can't be life." But the point is, I made it. If I had to do it all over again I wouldn't change a thing because the end result was my amazing SON. He is my everything and I am so thankful for him.
5. I get asked all the time how do you it? It must be so hard. The answer is yes - it is hard but NOT impossible.
I have a husband who works normal hours and no weekends (thank God), and a mother who selflessly retired early to move in with us for the duration of my second year of residency. I have help and lots of support and that is how I do it.
My son is happy, energetic and a little menace at times (ok, all the time) lol. He eats my papers when I try to study, pushes all the keys on my laptop when I'm trying to read, and snatches my reading glasses off every chance he gets. I love being a mother. I love being HIS mother. Yes, I do want more kids in the future and having him displaced the myth that was ingrained in my mind all of medical school that you can't have kids in residency. Not only did I do it, I see lots of other mommies in medicine doing it everyday. It's possible and it's worth it!
There is NEVER a perfect time to have a baby as a physician. Never.
You're busy in medical school, busier as a resident and even busier as an attending physician, especially fresh out of residency, when you are trying to build your practice. People will throw their opinions at you and tell you what to do with your uterus. But you do whatever works for YOU. It's going to be challenging no matter when you do it.
Medicine is full of delayed gratification. We look on as our counterparts buy their new homes, cars, get married, and start their families while we're in our 30s trying to figure out how to get 7 hours of consistent sleep and how to pay our monstrous loans back.
Now I'm not saying be irresponsible I'm just saying evaluate your situation and do what is best for you. Having a family is an amazing experience, and I would not be as happy as I am in medicine without my husband and son. Medicine is what I've always dreamed of and so is a family.
Who says I can't have both?
Why do I have to choose to be a doctor OR be a mommy? Why do I have to wait until I'm done with medical school AND residency AND starting my practice to start a family? Why do people look at me sideways when I tell them I may want another baby in residency? I hate the stigma that we can't do it. Women are an incredible and powerful species. We do things that men say can’t be done. We multitask like it’s nobody's business.
We are amazing. We are strong.
And Beyoncé said it best when she said we are "strong enough to bear the children, then get back to business."
Shout out to all the amazing mommies in medicine, nursing, teaching, law, or whatever it is that you do while being a mother. I'm here to tell you that it seems impossible until it's done. While last year was one of the most trying times in my life I received my greatest gift from it. And while I decide whether I want to tackle the craziness of pregnancy in medicine again my Mirena is perfectly situated in my non pregnant uterus until I'm ready to make that decision. 😆
Mommy in Medicine
For more by Dr. Nicole Sparks, please check out her personal blog!