As a woman in medicine, you often get told what not to do; instead of being told that you can do anything.
In medical school: You can’t pick that field if you want to be a mom. You won’t be taken seriously as a woman. Having your voice made quiet. Your opinion not as valued. Your skills not recognized. Not chosen for hard cases or procedures. Looked at differently. Talked to differently. Told that you shouldn’t get pregnant because it will burden too many others. Told that you won’t get married because you work too much. In short, discriminated against in such a way that it becomes normalized. You adjust to it. It feels like no big deal. But it is.
I didn’t have a good example. I didn’t have a female physician mentor that I could look to and drive strength from.
I didn’t have someone telling me: Yes you can. Don’t listen to them. You are good enough, smart enough, you can do it.
I didn’t have someone to ask: Can I be both a doctor and a mom? Is the field I pick important? How do I choose?
So I’m here to say - Yes you can. Don’t listen to them. You are good enough, smart enough, you can do it.
Don’t let it get you down when you are treated different than the men. You will be treated different. You will. I hope this changes with time. As women stand up for each other and support each other, when we practice collaboration and not competition. But for now - just work harder. Find you. Let those feelings light your fire instead of extinguishing your spark. Evolve into the best version of you.
You can do it.
And yes, you can be a mom and a doctor (or a mom and anything). Yes, the field you pick matters. Find your passion, don’t let the length of training or the perceived lifestyle matter. It will NOT be worth it - the time, the sacrifice, the life, if you don’t love it. So LOVE it. Don’t lose sight of what matters. Care for people.
Chase your dreams.
Originally written as a part of the #shesanequal campaign on instagram - @nataliecrawfordMD.