Do I Have Enough Time to be a Premed and a Mom?

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Session 89

Session 89

Our poster this week is worried about what being a premed and medical student will do to her relationship with her children and if it gets any better.

Check out all our other podcasts on MedEd Media including The Premed Years Podcast, The MCAT Podcast, and Specialty Stories. We also have the upcoming Ask Dr. Gray, Premed Q&A. I’m taking our Facebook Live videos and convert them into podcasts. We have an amazing Facebook group of over 3,000 students or simply visit our Facebook page. I cover questions you send in or something that comes up during coaching calls with students earlier in the day or the day before.

Back to our episode today, we have an interesting story from a 39-year-old mother who is deciding to choose to pursue medicine.

[02:13] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:

“I’m a 39-year-old mother of three – five, seven, and nine years old, in Canada. And I’m very seriously considering finally applying to medical school next summer for the July 2019 start. I graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing degree in 2001 and worked as an RN for thirteen years in pediatric oncology and I loved it. I’ve been at home with my children for the past five years now. But my littlest is entering kindergarten and I found  myself wondering if pursuing medicine is actually a realistic call.

I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was nine. I talked myself out of it in university. I wasn’t smart enough, didn’t have what it takes, etc. But it’s always been there in the back of my mind. My life took a heartbreaking turn two years ago when I was diagnosed with interstitial lung disease with pulmonary fibrosis. I’m stable now and I’ve been for a while. My pulmonologist knows my med school dreams and she fully supports me in this endeavor. At this point, we don’t really know if I have ten years left until my disease progresses or five or forty. To which I say, no one really knows how much time they have left. You or I could be hit by a truck tomorrow. And I’ll be darn if I’m just going to sit here and let this disease dictate my life. I wouldn’t even mention my pulmonary fibrosis. If it weren’t for the fact that being diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening lung disease. And having to navigate the medical system as a patient for the past years was the catalyst for me in deciding that I could really affect some change as a physician. I think I could truly help my patients.

I need to do a year of some basic sciences and MCAT prep. And it does need to be full-time study or it doesn’t count towards my GPA, which was 3.1 for my nursing degree. Suffice it to say, I’d make a much better student now than I was when I was 20. So this next year will be a lot of work and cost a lot of money with of course no guarantee that I would be accepted. I guess my hesitation isn’t so much the next year or two of premed work where there isn’t any actual premed or even postbac streams at my university where we live. And there’s zero chance we could relocate due to my husband’s job here.

Work doesn’t scare me. I know I can do it. My hesitation is around what it will cost my children. I’m afraid of how much less time I will have with them. I’m afraid that I won’t be there when they need me the most. I feel like children need their mothers close by in the teen years maybe even more than in their early years. Of course I know that it will teach them loads about perseverance and strength and determination. But will that be enough to offset not having me around as much? I so badly wish I had a crystal ball so I could see into the future and know if it was the right decision.

For those of you who are further down the path, at what point do you feel that you got your life back a little bit again? Do you feel like the sacrifices that took for you to become a doctor were worth it in the end? And any Canadians up in here?”

[05:32] What Could Affect You More

This is an interesting story of a nurse who has been a stay-at-home mom for the last five years. She has three kids and has a potentially devastating diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis. But is now making the leap. It doesn’t sound she’s a hundred percent there. But she’s on board potentially maybe with being premed, going that route, and applying to medical school soon in the next year.

Obviously, I’ve been through the process. I went to medical school and did my internship year. My wife was going through residency. We didn’t have kids during that process. And it was kind of a choice that we made to wait until Allison was out of her residency before we had our first child.

If you haven’t listened to The Premed Years Podcast, there are a lot of podcasts in there where I talked to moms who are going through medical school with their kids and how they make it happen. This may come off bad or that I’m a man and you’re the mom. But here’s where I think your attention should be. I think that you shouldn’t worry about how it’s going to affect your kids. Because not doing something and having it affect you is going to affect your kids more than how life is going to change with you being busy.

This is something you’ve wanted since you were nine years old. If you don’t do this, it will affect you. It has affected you. It’s obviously affected you to a point where it’s finally coming to a boiling point here after a potentially devastating diagnosis. It’s finally coming out and saying you might need to do this. If you don’t do it, that will affect your kids physically, mentally, etc. That will affect your kids more than doing it and having less time with them. It just will.

[08:15] Make it Work

The time you will have with them will be super high quality time. It will be scheduled. Mommy studying from these hours to these hours. Dinner, movie… It’s going to be a lot more structured. Your kids are old enough to handle that though. They’re old enough to understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. They are old enough to appreciate it. And you mentioned it at the bottom that they’re going to learn about the perseverance, strength, and determination. They’re going to learn about chasing dreams. They’re going to learn about struggling with self-doubt which you had before and overcoming that which you have now. You need to not worry about how it’s going to affect them.

You make it work. It will work. Don’t worry about them as a potential roadblock on this journey. Just use them as your strength to get through everything that you need to get through. Lean on them. Have them support you. Have them cheer for you and go from there.

[09:35] Join Our Community

Again, listen to The Premed Years Podcast. I have interviewed moms going through the process and what they’ve done to successfully navigate that process. Join our amazing Facebook group. Try to tag Sylvia in the group. She’s a third year medical student now and she has two or three kids and a husband at home. She talks about her journey and everything that’s happening now. If you need a little bit more support, go check out the Facebook group as well.


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