would you do it again?

July 18, 2012

man, what a hard question to tackle.
it’s 8:30 pm — my usual bedtime — and i’m pretty wide awake.  i ended up turning my routine upside down today and running after i put miss a. to bed at 7 pm.  it’s been literally years since i’ve worked out at night, but i actually think this arrangement might be better for right now.  a’s wakeups have been unpredictable, and this morning’s 5:45 am call was especially inconvenient as i had JUST pumped and was ready to run.  

this way i might actually have a chance of seeing josh for a bit longer in the evenings, too.  the only downside?  falling asleep!  this isn’t usually [ever!] a problem for me, but i’m not used to endorphins so close to downtime, either.  we’ll see what happens.

ANYWAY.  so on my little run this evening, i thought about my answer to this question:

K.  writes:  I know that you love being a mom and being a doctor.  And, if you had everything to do all over again, would you still have invested as much time into becoming a physician?  The reason that I’m asking is because I am currently studying for the MCAT.  I am 30 years old.  I am not interested in having children at this point, but I definitely want children at some point.  There is nothing more important to me right now than getting into medical school so that I can eventually take care of patients (more than I’m able to do now), but also, I just love oncology and medicine and want learn everything I can about them!  I have considered nursing (for about a second) and PA school, but I really want more than either of those programs can offer.
Does being a mom change how you feel about your career?  I know that is a very personal question.  I just wonder if my perspective will change and if maybe I’m missing out on something more important by not seeing the bigger picture.

the short version
yes.  i would do it again.  i am pretty happy with the way things have turned out, after all.  i enjoy going to work at least most of the time, and am very excited about [hopefully!!  if i can find one . . .] starting a real job in just one year.  
life is hectic right now and i do feel guilty sometimes about not being home.  but i honestly think i would probably be less happy as a SAHM.  does this make me selfish to work?  perhaps.  but a happy mother is likely to be a BETTER one in my opinion.  and as i move up the career totem pole, i am determined to find some mix that works for me.
HOWEVER.  i have to admit that i am really REALLY happy to be in fellowship and not residency right now, or perhaps med school.  even in my current position, there are plenty of compromises that i have to make.  i think that things would have been incredibly difficult had i actually been able to get pregnant when i first stated trying [ironic, huh!?].  of course, one important variable here is josh.  his residency [surgery, now vascular fellowship] has always been extremely demanding, and i don’t think i could have been happy handling things the way i am able to now.  
i believe that family is something to think about, and the choice to follow a given career path is not something to be taken lightly.
do i sound like i’m taking women back decades?  perhaps.  but i graduated college NOT thinking about these things [and determined not to think about them] — and it ended up backfiring a bit [quitting my phD, etc].  i also think that there are MANY other incredibly rewarding careers involving patients that do not involve the sacrifices of medicine.  i don’t think i would be super-happy as a nurse [i’m too . . . lazy!  really.  nursing is too physical for me and i don’t have the patience] but i probably would have loved being a PA or clinical pharmacist.
i probably would have been happy doing a lot of things, really:  i could see myself as a writer of some sort, or a consultant of some kind, or backup singer for beyoncé [ <– okay not really].   it turned out that medicine has worked out for me thus far, but i don’t think it’s the end-all be-all BEST CAREER EVER for everyone.  
sort of along these lines
i read a few pieces related to motherhood over the past 24 hours that made me think:
on becoming from dear baby

cease fire: the mommy wars from healthy tipping point

female doctors grapple with salary inequity from the philadelphia newspaper [my dad sent it to me].  personally, i’d rather take a lower salary and a job with fewer demands [so that i can spend more time with family] but obviously that shouldn’t be the only option.
thoughts?  how would you answer this reader question?