Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I Am Surviving and Somehow Maybe Even Thriving

I was asked to write an essay about myself for an honor society recently. I think it explains how I feel on days where I can look back and feel a sense of pride and success over the past 3 and 1/2 years of medical school and last 1 year of motherhood. I thought I would share it as my first post so that on days when I am feeling like a failure, I can remind myself that I have done the best I can.  And honestly, that best is pretty darn good.

Here it is:

"I am a senior medical student who has made all A’s and two B’s thus far.  And I am graduating with my class in May 2014. This may seem like an obvious statement, but for me, it is not so obvious.  You see, my medical school journey has been somewhat different than what many would consider ideal.  In my second year, I discovered that I was pregnant.  Originally, I was overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty.  Medical school was challenging and time consuming enough without adding another generous helping of responsibility to the mix.  However, looking back, I see things differently now.  I cannot even begin to explain how my precious surprise has enriched both my life and medical practice.

As a future pediatrician, being a mother has provided continual and invaluable lessons on parental perspective.   I understand more than what a book explains or what observing other caregivers can teach a student about the incredible journey of raising a child.  This knowledge has affected my ability to see humanity in all of my patients.  I was surprised that I began seeing how everyone is or was at some point someone’s beloved child or mother/father, etc.

I admit it.  Motherhood has softened me.  Some would view this as weakness, but I feel it is an immeasurable strength.  My capacity for empathy has grown three sizes, along with my heart.
 As a medical student who was breastfeeding during clinical rotations, I learned time management even more so, I believe, than most of my classmates.  I had to be better, faster, and more efficient in order to make up for the time I spent away from the group while pumping.  At home, my studying became more efficient and focused as I learned to split my time between family and work.  I slept even less than my colleagues because I had a small infant consuming part of the very little sleep time we were afforded. 

The journey was difficult and there were times I doubted my capabilities.  These were times when my juggling act felt as if it were more than I could handle.  More than my human self that needed to eat, sleep, and have time to unwind, could emotionally survive.  Not only did I survive, but I believe I have thrived.  Becoming a mother in medicine has shown me a capacity to be more than I ever imagined. I have learned what it is to have to focus on more than just my medical career yet excel in it, regardless.  Perhaps I could have had better grades or higher scores and better reviews but I am proud of both my medical career and my family.  I have truly given my all in both areas. 
So, let me end by saying it again so that you can understand my meaning better.  I am a senior medical student who has made all A’s and two B’s thus far.  And I am graduating with my class in May 2014."

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