Post # 1
I have been trying to come to a decision for a while, so have lots of thoughts going on so sorry if it is a little mixed up!
Over the past few years, I have been considering graduate entry medical school (Im in the UK). For one reason or another it hasnt quite happened yet. I always knew I would eventually want children, but while I wasnt in a relationship, I wasnt about to base a decision on something that didnt exist yet, not knowing when/if it would happen. Anyway Im getting married in 2013 and we are hoping to start a family a couple of years after getting married. So now children have to be part of the decision as Ill end up having to have children while AT medical school. Waiting until after medical school isnt an option because of our ages (not necessarily biologically but a decision we have come to based on not wanting to be “old” parents)
Family has always been my priority and I struggle with the idea of having children and not spending time with them (as the Mum), not spending xmas’ with them or birthdays etc. Yes if I went down the GP route it would probably get easier, but I still have 10years at least of training etc. Being pregnant and trying to juggle med school and babies will be difficult as well…I know people have done it but it is hard work and thats with a normal pregnancy – I have a high chance of pre-eclampsia and having to be monitored regularly etc…which will make things interesting…..(assuming I get pregnant in the first place).
That said I love the idea of being a doctor too, have worked in the NHS for years and know the system well. I also want to be able to give my children some of the privelages I had growing up – holidays, private school etc and obviously if I am a Stay-At-Home Mom I would be putting a lot of pressure on my Fiance which I dont want to do. I dont have to be a complete Stay-At-Home Mom of course, I could do another job which has better “family friendly” hours…but would I regret not going to med shcool, if I went to med school would I regret not seeing the children..I could go and then leave if things get tough – but what If I found I loved it…Id probably regret it more having gone and stopped than deciding never to go.
I feel like Im two people – one just wanting to settle down, have children, focus on them. The other wanting a high flying career as a doctor.
There are lots of if, buts, whens here and I drive my family up the wall over it all. I do worry, and maybe I worry too much – but its a long process and I could do with making a decision. Any advice greatly appreciated
Post # 3
I am 100% in favor of women pursuing their career dreams and financial goals. In fact one of the reasons I never had kids is because I have been very devoted to my career and didn’t feel I had time for kids.
So I would pose this question from the child’s point of view… if you were a baby/toddler/young child, would you want your mom around a lot or would you want her at work most of the time?
One of the reasons my childhood was so happy is because I had so much one-on-one “mommy time” with my mother. She was a Stay-At-Home Mom and some of my happiest memories in life are of the time we spent together during my formative years.
I’m not saying you can’t be a good mom if you work full-time or even overtime. I am in awe of how many amazing, wonderful women out there are juggling it all in their careers and at home, and I have great respect for them. But if I were being really honest, as a child I would not want my mom gone all the time.
Having said that — I think you are smart to be thinking of how to provide financially for your family someday. Is it possible you could find a different career path that would be in the medical field that would be just as rewarding as being a doctor, still pay a very high salary and offer you career security — yet wouldn’t have the same crazy hours? Here in the U.S., I’ve heard that physician assistant’s jobs are like a stepping stone between a senior nurse and a doctor. That job is very highly paid and yet I don’t think they are on call 24/7 the way doctors are. Physician’s assistants don’t have to build a practice — they can work for whomever they please — that might tie in with your plans to start a family. If you had a job like that, you could take a year off if you wanted to after you have a baby, and then go back to work later. Just a thought.
Good luck with whatever you decide!
Post # 4
Can you go into a career that allows you to stay in the medical field but isn’t as demanding ad being a doctor, like being a PA or medical technician? The pay would still be decent, you wouldn’t have to give up on your passion, and you could have more time for your family.
Post # 5
Why don’t you apply, see where you get in, and speak to admissions counselors at the various schools? That might be helpful – they might be able to show you how school can accommodate your plans.
Post # 6
@BelliniChic: Just to add to that – I had a Stay-At-Home Mom, and while I’m completely grateful for what she did for us she wasn’t too happy being a Stay-At-Home Mom. For me, it’s more understandable to stay at home for the first years, at least until they start going to school, but at some point the kids do grow up and don’t need your constant attention. My mom never went back to work, but I wish that she did. I didn’t need her at home all the time to take care of my sister and I after a certain age. While I think it’s important to make time on nights and weekends for your kids, during the day they have school and homework anyways. She might as well taken a job for herself which made her happy rather that feeling like she needed to sacrafice everything to the extreme for her family.
Post # 7
@dream_angel: Have you considered other careers within the medical field that would fit in for you better?
Post # 8
Most GPs I know in the UK do a job share and work part time because they want to earn the money and be with their families. You will still earn £60k working part time as a GP. But yes, there is a lot of training involved. (seriously, I met someone who’s goal after leaving school was to be a GP so she didn’t have to work full time, not because she has a passion like you clearly do)
Post # 9
Oh and as for getting your kids into public school over state – you can set up a fund at birth so there’s the money in the bank for when they’re old enough. It’s especially designed for parents who want their kids to have a public education. Speaking with teachers, so long as you go to a reasonable state primary and have tuition for the entrance exams your kids will not struggle at public school and there is no value added by having children in public primary. Save up for public secondary (perhaps prep / year 6)
Post # 10
Thanks for all the advice – in regards to being a PA – it is available in the UK, but it hasnt taken off yet like in the USA. I think about 3 universities do the degree. It is something I have considered though.
When I say Stay-At-Home Mom I mean just for the early years – as soon as they are both in School Mon-Fri, I would probably want to work (part time at least anyhow)
Like has been said, GP can and do work part time (although I am shocked anyone would pursue a career in medicine purely for that reason), however I would then be doing the Mum bit backwards, ie being gone when they are younger and its more important (during the 10years + of training)and then being there when they are entering their teen years and they dont want mum around all the time as they are off playing with friends.
I had a working mum and while she did have days away etc on business it wasnt as extreme as medical training would be ie she had every christmas/birthday/weekend etc off.
Post # 11
@ladyartichoke – I didnt know about the funding, Ill have to look into that. That is available in the UK?
Post # 12
I am a Stay-At-Home Mom so I am biased. I cannot imagine NOT being there for my children during their formative years. My cousins mum worked and they spent all their time with us rather than stay home with a nanny. Their mum was a doctor and a rather reknowned one in the area. She loved her career and thrived in a high pressure enviroment. She worked long long hours to battle her way to the top in her field. In many ways she is quite the success story. However her kids paid the price. : ( At five years old they were saying the wish they hadn’t been born cause mum didn’t love them. It nearly broke Grams heart so she packed them up and moved them in with us. They had been raised by a series of nanny’s up til that point and while I am sure they were the very best to be had, they in no way replaced a mother’s love. Sadly she missed out on her children’s lives and all the mother honors were conferred upon Gram: Mother’s day cards, MOB duties, holding the grandchild first, etc.
I amsure you would be more there for your children than my cousin’s mom was. Medical school is quite demanding though. I have many doctor friends and most feel like they barely made it thru medical school physically. Is it very different in the UK? You say you are at high risk for pre-eclampsia and I will take your word for it. As someone who has high risk pregnancies I can tell you that being on bed rest is stressful enough without worrying about missing classes or rotations in the hospital. : ( I honestly don’t know how you would pull that one off AND keep your Bridal Party down!
I am all for women working and having a career. I had the same decisions to make once upon a time. I understand the struggle. There are to many what ifs: what if I can’t get pregnant (stay pregnant}, what if I can’t stay in med school pregnant, what if I don’t go and always regret it, what if I do go and end up with a special needs child. All I can say is pray about it or think it over if that is more to your liking and go with the decision that brings you the most peace.
Wishing you the best of luck dear in whatever you decide 😀
Post # 13
If I were you, I would persue medical school. It leave more options open in the end. If you become a doctor, you can later become a Stay-At-Home Mom, but if you don’t that choice is taken away. I would pursue your career right now.
Post # 14
Would you have the opportunity to do a couple years of your training part time? I assume if you’re just think of applying now you wouldn’t be matriculating until next fall, unless the school system over there is on a different schedule than here. If you started trying right after the wedding, then trained part time when they were little, I could see it working out.
My mom is a doctor, and she really did work a ton, but I turned out fine. My aunt always dreamed of being a doctor; she still talks about it sometimes. She didn’t pursue it because of her own kids, and that always made me sad for her. I think you should go for it. It’s important that your kids see you going after your own dreams, too.
Post # 15
@secondchances – thanks for your response, it is stories like that that worry me so much. Either way I have a risk of regretting something/children being hurt. I could go to medical school, my children resent me and miss out on important family stuff. I could not go to medical school, not be able to send the kids to private school and then regret not going. I have prayed about it countless times, I think its a subject I am so worried/stressed over, I am not listening properly – probably because I am scared of the answer. I know what you mean about the Bridal Party – I already have high blood pressure! I am in possibly 4 of the “at risk” categories for pre-eclampsia.
@MissHobbit – Definitely an option – one issue is timings, I have a loan which I took out to complete my Masters Degree which has to be paid off, so its going to be a couple of years anyway.
@Squidweds – definitiely considering doing some of the training part time – at least the foundation years. I would apply in autumn/fall 2013 so would start in 2014 (assuming I get in first time, which doesnt often happen!). I dont know how the USA works, but you then have 4years medical school, 2 years Foundation years (which is tough! but you are paid from this point) and 3-5years specialist training depending on what path you want to take. I have considered having a year out when I have them so it could be possibly 6years med school..but this is going into if buts and whens again…and assumes a “normal” pregnancy so I can “cope” at medical school and be pregnant
Post # 16
Out of curiosity, what’s so bad about being “old” parents? Not meaning to sound snarky or rude, but I’m genuinely curious. The only apprehension I’d have about having kids later in life (and I’m in my early 30s) would be my energy level. Other than that, there’s plenty of research out there to show that older mothers become great parents and are better able to provide for their children both financially and emotionally. Let’s face it, how much of your super young years do you remember, anyway? So long as you are around for your kids in their teens when the real poop hits the fan of life, I doubt they’d care that much how many hours you work. This is coming from someone who grew up with a Stay-At-Home Mom. Don’t get me wrong. I liked having my mom around. But nowadays I really wish my mom had a “life” outside the home. I think all she does is sit around the house wishing she could go back to her glory days of raising my brother and me; and she constantly asks me about grandkids now that I’m married. Argh! I really wish she would’ve gone back to teaching at some point in time. And she did outright tell me at one point that if it weren’t for having kids, she would’ve wanted to become a psychologist. Sad to think she sacrificed all her dreams just for us. There’s no reason why you can’t do both. But only you know what you’re comfortable with. Not any of us.
One other option that may or may not have been discussed is for you to consider part time jobs once you graduate med school. Lots of female physicians in the US do that. And a doctor’s salary allows you to do that and live a fairly stable life (unless you’re saddled with huge amounts of student loans which probably won’t be a problem for someone in the UK). Good luck!