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I enjoyed this article! Although I was childless until many years after I went through PA school AND after my husband went through Medical School, I now know the heart-stopping sweetness of watching your child breathe, and the numbing alternate reality of gross anatomy lab. The juxtaposition of those 2 very different worlds made me stop and think. Thank you for sharing!
A thoughtful, well-written article. I particularly enjoyed the parts about anatomy - clearly this is a person who respected the gift given to gross anatomy students.But why must we always judge each other? The author is clearly happy with the way her life has turned out and that is great for her. But many women in medicine have not met the person they want to be a co-parent with yet when they start (or finish) medical school (let alone residency or fellowship). It seems irrelevant to mention, and comes across as judgmental, that her kids have always had an at home parent. And plenty of people who have done things in the "proper" order do not have nannies or private school or violin lessons (and these are not necessarily bad or good things in absolute sense). The author clearly would not trade her life with anyone else's, and more power to her, but it saddens me to see her judgmental or naive about lives unfolding differently from hers. If you couldn't become a parent at a young age or didn't want to without the right partner, is that really a trade-off or choice that others could have made?
Judge Not...she was sharing herself, her story, her passions. As a nursing student, and mother, I had a brief experience with a cadaver, it does make you think of medicine, of life, of death differently. And she was judging herslef more harshly than anyone, and ended up confirming her path and her choices. Beautiful and brave. Thank you.
I couldn't walk away from this article for a second. Thank you for your brilliant, tactile memories of gross anatomy... and the honest-organ-in-hand reality of how it both chilled you, and warmed you to imagine how this person once lived.The details of your children and the closeness they offered at the end of the day - floppy - what mother cannot feel the little one with a word like floppy!Thank you, I really enjoyed this.
Inspiring! I am at home with my three and a half year-old and my 16 month-old, but I plan on returning to school to become a nurse. I have often chuckled at the timing of things, too. Before we had kids we thought we couldn't afford for me to go back to school. I now realize it would've been immeasurably easier! Alas, I have two beautiful kids I wouldn't trade for the world, or an easier time in pursuing my career...
wow, another phenomenal article. thanks so much. excellent writing.
I really enjoyed this article. I hope the author keeps up her writing "habit." I hope I can someday read a full published memoir about her days in medical school.
I loved this article. The honesty and detail, the embrace of juxtapositions. Kudos to the author.
I loved this essay so much on so many levels. Loved the glimpse into the medschool world. Could totally relate to the bit of shame and simultaneous pride at having four kids. And loved how she was able to really look at herself, her life and all her people and fall in love with it all. THanks so much for the great story. Great writing. Great perspective too.
This was an insightful and beautifully written article. I would be honored to have her as my doctor. This article fortifies my faith in medicine and language. She is a natural at both--a rare gift.
As a working Mom of a 9 year old beautiful girl and a Wife of a Husband who is in his 3rd year of residency I enjoyed this article as it described the juggling act one has to take on when managing a work/life balance even when going to Medical School. I am very proud of my Husband as he has been an important part of our daughter's life as she has grown up while he has trudged through medical school and his residency. The unfortunate item in our story is that his residency program is not supportive and penalizes him when he chooses family over voluntary residency get togethers. The author is very fortunate that her husband was able to be a stay at home Dad, I wish I could say the same for myself while my husband was going through Medical School and Residency.
Wonderful, wonderful essay. Thank you.
Each of the author's two experiences brought such depth of understanding to the other. If only we could always mother with such perspective on what a rich miracle of life our kids are! So well written! What a clear glimpse into an aspect of going to med school.
This article made me go out and buy my first issue of brainchild! I'm fairly certain I'll be suscribing now!
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I also enjoyed this article, and as a physician/mother/wife (to another MD), found it particularly relevant. However, I have to agree with one of the anonymous posts that there was an element of judgment in the author's tone. It struck me as a veiled mockery of those who sequence their life differently than she did. Perhaps it was in some defensiveness of her own choices that she took a shot at those naive single young people who go through medical school alone. Not all medical students who have not yet had children are going home to an empty and unfulfiling place. Not all women who train before they have kids follow down a straight and narrow path, resigning their children to nannies (my three boys have not had a nanny one, and I've chosen to work either part time or not at all over the past eight years--a luxury?). I have many friends and colleagues who have chosen to continue with full time work as physicians after having children and I understand their choice completely. It is well documented that children will do fine when cared for by people who aren't their parents. What sort of judgment is the author making of these women--all of us?I understand the incredible juxtaposition of dissecting a human being and holding your precious little child all within the same few hours, and this was the aspect of the article I found most poignant. However, judge not other's choices--you may be surprised that your career will not necessarily unfold the way you anticipate. Though more and more women are entering medicine (my graduating class 12 years ago had 70% women), it is still extremely challenging to be a woman in medicine, practicing physician, and present mother, and to do it all well.
It gives me hope to read this... I have four kids, the youngest 10 months old. I am a doula but want to become a midwife. Every day I think i'm too old for this (I'm 36) and then there is a little sparkle that tells me "just do it!". I'm waiting for baby to grow a bit first. You have amazing strength and I admire your sang froid... I don't think I could cut corpses...
Valerie - Your writing is so delicious I sort of wish you'd quit the med school gig and write full time! Terrific, fresh and honest portrayal of a real life. Best to you and your beautiful family!
I was reading this article, and enjoying every bit of it...until the end. I felt the tone change, as others have mentioned, to that of judgment when the author stated that her kids have always had a parent to come home to. I find it somewhat of an irony because in the same issue the "Bad Mama" article lists books that are suppose to give mothers a break from judging themselves to harshly. I recently graduated from a Nurse Practitioner program with two children at home, and am struggling with the possibility of working full time. Thus, I would be leaving my children consistently (3 yrs & 5 mths) in the care of their grandmother for the first time. So a real world example to why we mothers feel like "bad moms" at times---reading a fascinating article about a woman with children who returned to med school, who is obviously intelligent and gifted, who then proclaims that she is proud that her children have never had a nanny or other caretaker for her children. And so the self-doubt begins... Does it make me a "bad mom" for wanting to work, and thus leaving my kids at home with a caretaker? If this mother feels so strongly that always having a parent at home with the children was the best thing to do, does that mean I should stay at home? I think I'm going to stop doubting and trust that my instincts, as a mother, are going to have the best outcome for my family...even if that means becoming more familiar with a breast pump, or god forbid, formula (would that make me a "bad mom"?)
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A beautifully written, poignant piece about contemplating life, and mortality. Personally, I am registered as a whole body donor to a medical school, and hope that the students who will one day dismantle my remains will demonstrate the same thoughtfulness and sensitivity that the author had for her cadaver.
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