MD vs Momma
I always knew that I would be a mother. I grew up in a family that loves and dotes on babies. What I didn’t imagine was my journey as a mother would also include my desire to become a physician. I was able to complete medical school with a newborn who turned 5 when I graduated from medical school. I also had a baby during residency and my 3rd child was born during my 4th year of private practice. My 3 “lucky sevens”, because they are all 7 years apart.
Looking back, I really have to say I had a wonderful support system. My parents and in-laws were wonderful. I can remember picking up my sons from my mother in-law’s house after staying late for rounds long after 5 pm. The help always came with a smile and reassurance that it was no bother.
Stepping back from doctor mode
I can remember many times when my own children needed me even more than my patients. My daughter has seizure disorder. One night, she had a prolonged seizure that required ICU admission. As much as I wanted to “take charge” of the situation, I knew that at this moment, I was “momma” and not “Dr. Ben.” It was time for me to step back and let my colleagues take charge of my daughter. It’s always different when it’s your child.
I have found that it is a struggle between my role as a physician and my role as a mother. I have missed so many events and family outings because I was either on call or working late at the hospital. Also living in a small town, physicians are seen as celebrities. My children often get upset when we are stopped while on a family outing by another family asking questions about their children.
Remember to smell the roses
Now that I am older, I do find myself upset at my younger colleagues who don’t have problems saying “no” and opting to find coverage and rearrange call schedules for “minor’ things like sports games and birthday parties, when I’ve missed dance recitals, graduations, family trips, and reunions. Now, I realize there should have been a better balance for my lifestyle as a physician and a mother. I realize that I did put my own needs aside as a mother and physician. Now I do take the time to “smell the roses” per se and I have a better handle on how to balance this lifestyle. I thank God for this wonderful journey.
Mia Singleton Ben is a pediatrician in Opelousas, Louisiana. She is a mother of 3 children, ages 28, 21, and 14. She is also a co-author of “The Chronicles of Women in White Coats”.
To hang out more with her and other amazing women doctors like her, check out the Women in White Coats Doctors’ Lounge, our virtual doctors’ lounge just for women doctors. Its an exclusive membership area meant to empower and support you through out your career. Inside our Doctors Lounge you will get to partake in webinars from experts on topics relevant to women physicians, monthly online support groups and even a book club. To become a member click this link.