Thank you all so much for your discussion and feedback on my last post on The Match! I love learning from people that have been through it already. Who’s ready for part two?!
Today’s post is a little more woman-specific. One of biggest concerns that I had about going into medicine was how I would balance having a family with work. Being a little older than usual definitely makes it a little more important for me. Also, men worry about this too! I’ve talked to multiple guys concerned about being around for their future families.
Balancing Career & Family
Balancing family and career is something any working mother struggles with that, regardless of what they do. Many physicians work way more than standard 40-hour work weeks. There are overnights and weekends on call and the fact that you can’t just drop your patients when you get a phone call from a sick kid. Some specialties are more forgiving than others, and that is definitely a factor that I’ll weigh. Dermatologists tend to work regular hours, ER physicians don’t take call, and primary care is known to be a bit more relaxed lifestyle-wise than, say, surgery. There are tons of lifestyle considerations to take into account.
When to have kids is another issue. There is absolutely no right answer, and people do it a ton of different ways. I think many women would ideally wait until after their residency, which is usually early 30s, so that they have a little more free time. However there are people that have kids in medical school (check out Laura as an example!) and plenty that have kids during their residency. I’m a little more concerned about this given that I’m already 29. Not only am I worried about demanding work hours while having a baby, but turning 30 this year also adds some pressure. I do my best to relax and know that what’s supposed to happen will happen. And I make lots of jokes about freezing my eggs.
Important note: “Planning” kids doesn’t guarantee anything anyway. So many women struggle to get pregnant, or get pregnant way quicker than they thought.
What keeps my anxieties at bay is knowing that so many women have figured this out before. My parents are both doctors and have three kids. Dinner was often late and I stayed at after-school care a lot, but never once did I feel neglected or unloved. It was just my normal.
My mom chose to work part time while my brothers and I were little. I’d have to find a specialty and job where that is possible, but it’s definitely something I would consider. Sure it would make paying back loans take longer, but could definitely be worth it if spending more time with children is a priority. There are so many possibilities.
Every family is different and chooses a different way to raise their children. There isn’t a right or wrong – every mother and father (hopefully) do their best. I love kids and want a family, but also love medicine and am excited about my future career. I trust it’ll all work out beautifully.
As usual, please share your experiences and thoughts! I’m excited to hear from you.