These last few weeks (months, maybe) have been a challenge for me. I don’t know how else to say it, really. I get to days like today and I wonder if I’ve made all the right choices and if I’m doing the right things in my life for all the right reasons. I am forced to put my family second to my education and career, and I genuinely feel like I have no other choice… None at all. And then I hear everyone say that that’s the way it will be, at least for the foreseeable future – I feel a sense of helplessness and confusion. Then I begin to re-evaluate. Really, you can only fight with yourself and fight with your husband over the same shit so many times… You can only put your kids to bed and close their bedroom door and feel regret over whatever you did or didn’t do, thought, or said… so many times before it erodes away at your innermost being.
I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned why I don’t talk to my dad anymore. It’s an epic story, really, but it all comes down to one thing: Selfishness. As I’ve grown older, as I’ve become a parent myself, everything from my entire childhood as it relates to my dad has been put into a new perspective. I can’t be selfish like he is, and right now I feel that it’s all about me. I hear it from my husband all the time (both in what he says and what he doesn’t say). I see it on my kid’s faces when I have to tell them that I’m busy and that I don’t have time for them. Does it matter that I’m doing something “important?” Sure, I’m not getting high; I’m not fucking around; but I certainly am being neglectful and I worry that I will never forgive myself for it. When my kids are adults, can I blame them for tuning to me and calling me selfish? Right now, I think not.
I look back over the last few years and think about the reasons why I made the decisions I’ve made. I am trying to objectively evaluate my motivations for choosing to go into such a demanding line of work. I know that I love obstetrics. That is real, no doubt about it. But I ask myself why? How did I get to this point in the first place, and most importantly, does it really matter? Before I was pregnant, I never imagined I would do anything other than family medicine. But pregnancy changed me in some fundamental way and I was suddenly so invested…. and I wasn’t even in med school yet.
The pregnancy played an important role in piquing interest. However, I can say with complete certainty that the pregnancy resulted in something even bigger… My stupidly borderline abnormal screening result. Why? Because it landed me in your office. And there, on Nov 27, almost 4 years ago now, I was captivated. (yes, I remember the date… maybe that should scare you?) I won’t go into all my crazy psychology (because that will certainly scare you), but for various reasons, you became an important motivation for me. I had months of my pregnancy left and I wasn’t even accepted to medical school yet, but I was already doing my “research” into what it meant to be an obstetrician. When school started in the fall and I learned we had to do shadowing – you were the first person who popped into my mind.
I know we can drive ourselves crazy asking “what if” about everything. But I have often wondered many, many times where I would be “if” I was never pregnant at that time in my life… if I never got that screening result… if I was sent to someone else instead of you… If you weren’t so kind and caring (or maybe if the radiologist I saw right before you didn’t make me cry). Would I still be at this point, making this decision to apply only to obstetrics programs (and really, with only one program in mind)? I would like to think that I would. I do love it, it makes me happy, and I want to learn as much of it as I can. “Things” happen that make me feel like this decision makes sense, even when I look back to my first few years in university. Regardless, I still have the question in the back of my mind whether this decision is the right one for me.
Having already obtained an education and worked in a field that I hated and made me miserable, I consistently maintain that I came back to school to do what I love to do. When faced with the possibility that what I love to do would conflict with the family that I love, I convinced myself that being happy in my career would be worth it all in the end because I would be a happier person. But this last little while has been challenging that notion because I constantly feel like I’m falling short… and the last thing I feel about that is “happy.” I don’t think anything will change for me now, because despite my joking around, there isn’t really too much time left for me to change my mind… especially after this long. And even if I did, am I making the right decision there? “Do I dare/ Disturb the universe? In a minute there is time/ For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.”
So you see, you causally joke that you won’t let me go anywhere else. And I joke back and wonder what you’ll do to keep me. But the truth is, there isn’t anything extra you can do to make me love it more, but because you are the one who brought me here. And while there are many reasons why I’ve decided to make this place my top choice, I would be lying if I said that working with you, and learning from you, and continuing to explore this new friendship were not high on my list.
(and, therein lies the fundamental questions again: Have I made the right decision for all the right reasons?)